Spain

Back at Home

Way too much has happened between my last post and the end of my Spanish journey to be chronicled.

In short, I’m back with my real family.

Now, I’m not going to lie and say that my stay in Spain was all cupcakes and rainbows and glittery unicorns. There are, of course, those times when I had absolutely no idea what to do, how to feel.

But I would definitely recommend an exchange month, semester, or school year to all those students who feel like they don’t know enough about the world. Yes, it can be hard. But it’s incredibly rewarding. You have all these stories and experiences and new skills that you never had before. You change. You adapt.

This doesn’t actually sound like it’s a very motivating piece of writing. But if you’re wondering about whether or not you should do an exchange year, feel free to ask any questions…

I really need to get back into a workout, fitness, healthy eating groove. I’ve fallen off of the tracks.

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Birthdays, Gifts, and Parents

As a few of you who know me personally might know, my sixteenth birthday is this Friday.

Yup. June 21. The day of the year where the Northern Hemisphere typically gets the most amount of sunlight. It’s also the first day of summer (officially). It is the birthday of the first First Lady, Martha Washington. I totally don’t remember if that’s correct or not. Upon checking, Wikipedia says it’s actually June 2, but other sources say it’s June 21.

Huh. Just discovered something kind of… off-putting, if you will. Let me give you a hint; what day is my birthday on?

It’s Friday.

Friday.

It’s gonna go down on Friday.

Everybody’s lookin’ forward to the weekend, weekend.

Have you guessed yet?

My birthday is on the exact same day and year as THIS.

Not that it’s really a bad thing, I just think it’s interesting to note that we even share the same first name. And we both shouldn’t sing about Friday.

Anyway. 16. Yes. I have a few questions about this. Such as:

  • Wow. Am I going to learn to drive when I get back home?
  • Why is “Sweet 16” a thing?
  • Do I want anything for my birthday?
  • WHEN THE HECK DID THIS HAPPEN?!

Just a quick thing, for the people who want to know! And because I am in a very presumptuous mood…

A list. Of things that interest me.

This book, and anything having to do with weird animals in general.

Also this book, because combining creativity with MATH is awesome.

Wall-art or posters from DeviantArt, especially those of fantastic landscapes or dragons.

The T-Shirts from DesignByHumans are really cool.

The Sierra Club will let you sponsor a piece of the wild.

SPANISH BOOKS!

In my book taste I’m actually not that picky. I really enjoy fantasy, but only good fantasy. Topics such as animals, nature, environmental concerns, science, dragons… just not romance.

I also like animals a lot. Especially weird ones.  Like these things.

Admit that this is the most terrifyingly adorable thing you have EVER seen.

NOW IMAGINE ME FINDING A BOOK WRITTEN ABOUT THEM

LIKE  STORY BOOK STYLE

A BEDTIME STORY

ABOUT NUDIBRANCHS

THIS NEEDS TO BE WRITTEN

As we return to the sane world…

I got my first birthday present today! Granted, it’s a little early, but I don’t think anyone would object to receiving THIS.

Just look at that bish. She knows she's fabulous.

Just look at that bish. She knows she’s fabulous.

This ended up in me dramatically opening it after dinner…

This is like Christmas morning.

This is like Christmas morning.

Not just fabulous. Majestic.

Not just fabulous. Majestic.

True love.

True love.

…and conceding a few of the fruits to the delighted children. Luis was thrilled to discover that chocolate-covered-strawberries taste good, and Laura was entranced by the strawberry roses and pineapple hearts.

My parents had sent me an email a few days before, mysteriously advising me to immediately open any package I received and refrigerate the contents. I never expected something so beautiful, though.

I was feeling so many feels. I have to say that I must be the luckiest 15-almost-16-year-old on the planet, to have parents who organize something like this for me. Love you, Dad. Love you, Mom. You are the best parents I’ve ever had and I cherish you both. You have both done so much for me that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to live up to it.

Having you two in my life is the greatest gift.

~Mawkingbird

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Clueless

I have the distinct feeling that my host mom doesn’t appreciate the time I’ve spent here.

Today, while driving me to Grandmother’s house again for lunch with a bunch of other family members, she told me (again) about how disappointed she is in me regarding my speaking in English to her two children. She said I left the house every day during the week and that, at most, I speak with Luis about once a week for 25 minutes. She went on to say that with all the places she’s taken me to she can’t imagine treating me any better than she already is.

It is true what she says. I go to Tae Kwon Do and Kickboxing Monday through Friday. I don’t speak with Luis very often. She has taken me on various field trips.

I would definitely take my gym classes way earlier if it were at all possible. I get home way before the kids do, but there are no classes before 6 P.M., and this is of course pretty much when they get home most days.

Speaking with Luis; I would probably want to talk to him more if he would actually respond to any efforts I make. He almost never responds in English, and that’s super frustrating. Then when we do talk, he starts going off on tangents that eventually lead to him not remembering the name of a movie or a person or whatever and having to go get his iPod to look it up online; otherwise, he yells, he’ll “stress himself”! This is very, very annoying, and doesn’t make me feel inclined to have conversations with him.

I feel sort of trapped. In Math we’re going to talk about things I’ve never heard of but apparently the rest of the class has at least partially learned about. In Natural Sciences we have to do a project on blood pressure and heart rate, and I offered to do the Powerpoint. I really can’t throw my gym classes to the wind, as I’ve already paid for this month and the month of June. I speak German at school and English at home, and those gym classes are possibly the places where I’ve learnt most of my Spanish. I don’t feel like I can fix this in any way. It’s basically either schoolwork or gymwork has got to go. And most likely, of course, social time. Not that I’ve had that much social time here during my stay. I’ve been to a few people’s houses, but I can truthfully say I can count the number of times on two hands.

And I was looking forward to possibly going out with my Tae Kwon Do group next weekend.

Writing this down makes me feel like I don’t have any kind of problems, like they’re insignificant. Because they don’t take up that much space.

I don’t know what to do. I’m sort of scared. I don’t want to call anyone, because that costs Marian money and I don’t want to give her more reasons to scold me. I don’t want to give up gym, because it makes me feel good and I can socialize a little too. I don’t want to give up schoolwork because I think grades are important.

And actually, I thought I was doing rather well here. Two weeks ago Luis was sick; on Wednesday I cleaned up vomit with my bare hands and on Thursday I couldn’t go to Kickboxing because I was reading in English to him (which he of course ignored and eventually started playing on his iPod). That really stressed me out, but I thought this week, what with all the good vibes coming from school (except for the Natural Science project), the exercise and the good feelings between Marian and me, was going pretty smoothly. There was an incident on Thursday that marred it though; just as I had gotten out the door to go to Kickboxing, Marian calls my cell phone and asks me to please tell her kids to call her. I respond that I can certainly do that, and ask if I could go to Kickboxing; maybe she wanted me to stay home? She says not to worry. We hung up, and I unlock the door again. The kids are watching television, and so I tell them they have to call their mother. Luis jumps up to get the phone, and I leave. About 10 minutes later, on the bus, Marian calls me again to report that her children had not called her. She was very disappointed that I had left the house before making absolutely sure they did. This call made me sort of angry, and when I get angry, apparently, is when those stupid tears are most likely to come out.

I spent kickboxing beating up the sack.

The thing that frustrated me the most about this was that, when I did get home, I wanted to tell Luis that I didn’t ask him to call his mother because I wanted her to get angry with me because he hadn’t done it. Marian interrupts that by saying that the phone wasn’t hung up correctly. Seeing about zero logic in this, but all my courage already squashed, I say, “Well, then I don’t know what to say,” and go to my room to feel sorry for myself.

Ugh, am I pathetic or what?

Sometimes I feel an evil, evil joy to think that when I leave, they’ll finally have to clean the kitchen after every meal ALL BY THEMSELVES.

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Beginnings

Seeing as how I’m an amateur at everything blogging and kickboxing, I’m going to randomly splash around on these first few blog posts, as is probably my privilege.

My Spanish-exchange-student adventure (which is currently in the pre-anything-exciting-phase) began somewhere around this year in January. From what I can remember, I didn’t have school that day and was probably in the process of eating something. My mother was on the phone with one of my aunts, talking about things I probably could have paid attention to were the food I was eating not so incredibly delicious. In the midst of chewing, my mother turns around and says, “Your aunts want to know if you would like to live in Spain for a year for your birthday present.”

Being of stoic demeanor excepting the occasional romp with friends about topics such as action-heavy-animation-sequences and amazing art, I finished chewing before allowing myself to ponder the question. Spain? That place that likes to play soccer and has churros? Land of Bull Runs and Fountain Diving? Well, why not?

I’ll spare you the technical details of researching various programs. We did, however, find a program that allowed us to choose the school we wanted; The Colegio Aleman in Madrid. Why this school? Because I’m super-awesome and  get to brush up on my German as well as learning more Spanish than I will in four years of high school. That’s why.

A host family has already been found for me and we’ve tentatively Skyped together once. The Spanish people speak too fast for my Spanish skills to follow. The most-used phrase in the first few weeks of living there will probably be “mas lento, por favor”!

It hasn’t really started to hit me yet how final the decision is. Everything is already planned out, the only thing missing now is the right time. Up until now I haven’t yet started to mourn the loss of friends, family, and my kickboxing gym for a year.

I will get to take my Copic markers though. I cannot, absolutely will not give up those.

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