Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Iceland (June 8-11, 2012)

Wall decoration in host's apartment
So I'll start off on the morning in France. My flight was scheduled to leave at 8am, so I caught the 6am bus to the metro and barely made it to the airport in time for the flight. The passengers were boarding when I arrived.

The flight was only 2 hours so I took a cat nap and when I woke up, I was in Reykjavik. It was sunny and the temperature was around 50 or 60 F.  I was at the Keflavík airport and had to catch a shuttle (flybus) to the city. This experience was better than the one at the Frankfurt-Hahn Airport. There was no running or crying involved this time. I just loaded my luggage in the van, took and seat, and played on my iphone for the ride. We arrived 40 minutes later at the bus station. I checked in one of my bags in the storage room and called my host.

My host was kind of enough to take a break from his duties, sweat from a bike ride and meet me at his place. While I waited for him outside his apartment, I must have had this awkwardness about me that caused one gentlemen to suspect that I was completely lost. That, or he noticed that I was foreigner with a bright pink suitcase just randomly hanging out on the sidewalk.

My host showed up within 10 minutes and completely boggled me with the pronunciation of his name. This was something that I would work on during the upcoming days. After explaining the details of the apartment, mapping out the downtown area, and wrongly attributing Canadian nationality to me, he went back to his affairs and I settled in and planned my afternoon. I was too eager to explore so I didn't take a much needed nap. I walked all day until it was near the time that my host returned (to be continued... hopefully tomorrow)   : )

Lutheran church

View from the church

Leifr Eiricsson

more views from the Lutheran church

Mt. Esja.  Icelanders heavily identify with this mountain.

Monday, July 30, 2012

France (June 6 - 8, 2012)

Last day in San Sebastian

San Sebastian

I know it's been a while. I'm back to post pictures from my trip to Iceland after I left Spain. But first, I have a couple of unspectacular photos from Aulnay-sois-bois.

On June 6th, I took a train from San Sebastian to Hendaye, France. I transferred to another train to Paris that would take 6 hours. A couple of people helped me carry my bags up and down the stairs. Someone even walked me to the hostel. I was too exhausted to do anything so I just stayed in the room. I made the occasional trip to McDonald's to get something to drink or eat. Because of the language barrier, I ended up ordering something that I didn't want. Oh well, I mostly wanted to use the internet.

The next day I took the metro to a guesthouse in a small town called Aulnay-sois-bois. My flight was scheduled to leave at 8am on Friday, so I wanted to be as close to the CDG airport as possible. The journey to the guesthouse was miserable. I first had to lug all my bags up and down the stairs, because there were no elevators. I fell over my bags a couple of times and missed a couple of trains, because I couldn't make it to the doors. At one of the stations a woman took pity on me and helped me. She stayed with until I arrived at the main station that would take me to Aulnay-sois-bois.

When I arrived, I followed the unclear directions of the guesthouse owner. I took a bus to the stop in her directions then I was completely lost. I walked up and down the same road for maybe 30 minutes. Then I a saw a school guard and asked for help. He didn't speak English nor did he recognize the name of the street so he sent me to a corner store. The store owner did not speak English, but he pointed me in the general direction of the street. Things were going well until it started to rain. I became soaked. I dragged my bags up one street, and I did not recognize any of the names. The sidewalks weren't paved and my bags were damaged so I couldn't walk very fast to escape the rain. I stopped several times to rest and try to find shelter from the rain. It was hopeless until a little boy passed me and then came back. I believe that he was in his first year of English, because his words were limited. I showed him the address on my iphone, and he took one of my bags and led the way. He walked with me for about 15 minutes until we finally arrived to the street. The boy then went home as I made my way to find the number of the house. It was still a couple of blocks until I arrived. I was furious when I arrived, because I realized that I couldn't made it quicker when I saw the bridge where the bus stop was located.

The owner's husband showed me to my room and I unpacked my stuff to let it air dry. Afterwards, I walked the town, ate dinner, and went back so that I could rest for my morning flight to Reykjavik, Iceland. The trip felt like a waste. I didn't even buy a postcard, because I was stressed and too tired to remember. That just means that I have to make my way back one day.

Pura Vida!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Farewell to Europe

So I am horrible. Here we go again 3 weeks after the time that I said I would post about my trips. I'm loitering in McDonald's so I won't have much time to post anything. I will leave you with one photo to appease you. Just a couple more days! I mean it...


Sunday, July 8, 2012


So I know I said that I would write about Iceland soon. I've probably already spoken by email or phone to those of you who read my blog. Well, I was having too much fun in New York to think about blogger. I've settled down in Maryland for the summer, and I'm not having as much fun as I did in New York. I'll have time tomorrow to write an update on my last trips and my time in New York.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

My last trips.

So I've been back in the states since Monday. As you can imagine, I'm slightly depressed. My pain is only eased by the abundance of activities in New York City.  I'm looking for work as I am contemplating returning to Europe in October. A ver. I will write in detail really soon about my trips to San Sebastian, France, and Iceland.
Hasta Luego!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Last day in Haro

I took this picture on my first visit to Haro October 3, 2012

So tomorrow will be my last day in Haro. I'll catch the bus to San Sebastian and spend my last night in Spain on the beach. I have many things to think about. Will I return? How will I return?

After a very sad weekend, I know that I want to do everything in my power to return. I will miss people in Logroño. I made a few really good friends that I will keep in contact with once I return. I had to say goodbye to one of my best friends today, but we'll see each other again.

I won't miss the city of Logroño. My heart is with Haro. Maybe I would feel the same about Logroño if I were placed in the official language school there. I write that, but I'm not entirely sure. Because I was in a small school, I had to work with less professors and so I was able to connect with them more than I would've been able to in a large school. I even became good friends with one of them. Also, I saw the same students every week. I learned their names and could confidently stop them in the streets and call them by name. I roamed around town with them, danced with them, ate dinner with them, and talked about random things and sometimes inappropriate things. I definitely made more Spanish friends in Haro. I look forward to visiting them when I return to Spain. 

Hasta pronto!
A gift from 2nd of secondary Las corazonistas

from 2nd of secondary

A jewelry box from Las Corazonistas

A gift from Amelia from EOI



Official Language School- Haro



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

And the sadness has fallen upon me...

All the gifts I received today
Today was full of surprises. I walked into my first class at 10am with fifth of primary and was shocked to see the board full of messages. They clapped and pointed at the board. I knew something was going on, because one of the boys kept peeking around down the stairs to see who was coming.

The kids had written farewell notes all over the board! I didn't realize how much they loved me. They really did enjoy every week that I spent trying make them understand my accent. I had fun with them. It's ok to be silly in front of kids, because they love it and won't judge you for it.

This is my favorite

The class also decorated a small poster board and some sheets of paper. As they were walking up to me with the papers, I suddenly started to feel sad. I leave on Thursday and will not see them probably for a very long time. If I return to Spain in October, I will make sure to visit them and bring them some goodies from the states.

They gave this to me after class

To try to make the last day fun, but a little challenging, I gave a powerpoint test. During English week in March, I showed the students a powerpoint on Georgia. I thought it would be fun to have them answer questions about the facts they learned. I simply modified my powerpoint by adding questions with multiple choices.. They had one minute to write down the answers.

The peach state!

Here were the questions:
Where is Georgia located?- most of them answered correctly
What is the capital of Georgia?- as I am sometimes a dummy, I first put "What is the capital of Atlanta?"...idiot. I changed the question to. Where was Bionca born? some people put Augusta, because I live there but others knew it was a trick.
What is the population of Georgia?-
Which building is not located in Georgia?
What is a nickname for Georgia? I was totally disappointed with the group that chose "watermelon state"
What is the state bird?
What is the state tree?
What is the state song? they actually started singing the song
What is the state flower?
What is the state dance? i glared at the ones who chose cha cha cha, some were tripped up by the east coast swing option
What is the state food?
What is the name of the large swamp park in Georgia? The basque students chose chacolina, haha get, txakoli (chacolí) is a basque white wine.
Which one of these famous people are not from Georgia?    this one was easy

They were more competitive than usual because they really wanted the special prize. I allowed the winning group to choose any song for the class to listen to. The group chose ¨Rayos de sol¨by Jose de Rico and Henry Mendez. Yes, the students choose a spanish song in english class. One of the students was upset that her group didn't win and told me that it was more logical to choose a song in English. haha.

When class was over, one of the students asked me if I would visit them some day. I will most definitely try my best. That group was one of my favorites.

The next class was fourth of primary. They also colored on some papers and gave them to me as gifts!
As far as the Georgia test, they weren't as successful. We didn't have a chance to get to the prize because of their behavior. Some students were yelling and a girl spit in a boy's face so...

So moving on...

 After fourth of primary, I was interviewed by first of secondary (7th grade) about my year in Spain. They wanted to write something about me for their school magazine. I was very nervous although they asked very simple questions. One of the girls asked me what had happened to make me smile so much. haha. I replied, ¨soy así.¨ (I'm just this way)

Afterwards I went to buy some candy for the next class (sixth of primary). They need a little motivation sometimes, because they have English class at 3pm after a two-hour lunch break. They livened up once we started the game, but a little too much. The head teacher made them separate and do the test on their own, because she had told them to be quiet three times.

This is hilarious. I told them last week that we would play a game with facts about Georgia. This boy took it seriously and wrote it down. 
They became excited again by the end of the class, because they had some gifts for me. They started clapping and then gave me some flowers and a poster board with their class photo and names.

 I was touched by their thoughtfulness and surprised by the amount of work they put into the gifts. I said goodbye to them and passed out chocolate bars.

I was overwhelmed with love from the students. I know they were upset with me sometimes and other times bored out of their minds, but they were excited to have me there. This was even true with the 12 year old students who were very difficult to handle. It seemed as if they didn't want to improve their English at all, but they bragged about me all the time. They too, presented me with handmade gifts and other "recuerdos" (memories- no one knew the translation for recuerdo).

From 1st of secondary

1st of secondary

After class was over, I happily dragged all my stuff to the official language school to show off my students' work. The professors and I giggled over the students' attempts to write in English, but I was proud of their effort. I didn't do very much today. Many of the adult students have taken their exams, so the library was empty. I laughed a lot and practiced with the few students who showed up, and took lots of walks until it was time to go home. When I arrived home, I rearranged my suitcases and started writing. And I'm still here at the computer trying to decide if I will stay home or come back and work in Basque country. It's a difficult decision. And the kindness from my students today made the decision even more difficult. If I return next year, I won't be at their school, but I will be a short distance away.

Well, I'll see what happens this summer. If I'm meant to return, I'll be here once again to complain about my work schedule and recount awkward and funny moments with my students.


Hasta luego.