Monday, November 25, 2013

Half Way!

So today marks the day that I'm half way finished with my stay here in Barcelona. I love it here, but I'm ready to see my family and have some Taco Bell!! With the holidays coming up, it really makes me miss home, but I'm so grateful to be here! Last weeks school week was a wild one along with a crazy time in PARIS for my second weekend! 
Last week, a lot of things started to happen because it is almost time for finals!! Yes, they have finals and they have 6 of them: English, Catalan, Religion, Math, Science, and Spanish!!! That seems like a college finals week to me! They are only 3rd graders! I have been so impressed with language that these students have to learn. They HAVE to learn Spanish, Catalan (another form of Spanish) and English. They study three languages during heir whole school career. It is sad that in America we get 2 years in highschool of a language that we choose. It really opens my eyes and it makes me want to learn another language! 
We have been preparing for their finals in Science and English. Their English final is over using the gerund -ing, "I can, you can't" sentences, asking questions etc. In Science, they are learning and studying about jobs (anything prior to this unit). For example, arable farming, livestock farming, craftsmen etc. I really enjoyed this weeks science because the students had the chance to be play roles of these "jobs". The boys got to design a car and the girls got to design clothes. They took a filed trip to a dairy farm/factory and we are going to make our own yogurt and cheese! They also got to make their own clay pottery! We had so much fun last week with the hands on activities. Along with the hands on activities, they worked in groups on vocabulary, worksheets, matching etc. For a 45 minute window I feel like the students do get a great sense of what is going on. It is really student centered which I love and it is all in English! 
Along with studying for finals and wrapping up the units, I had the opportunity last week to conduct an interview setting with each boy and girl in my 3rd grade classes. The interview took about 8 minutes and the student had to present their self to me in English. It took a couple of days to get through all of the students because it is only a 45 minute instruction block! The girls did really well. I had to score them on a scale of 1-10 and take notes of what they had trouble on! The girls did outstanding; majority of the, scored around a 7. The most common mistakes they made were sentences being very translated, past tense, and nouns were all called "she". For example, "We go to the house of my brother." I feel like this is very common because in English it is switched; "We went to my brother's house." The boys were a different story, I hardly understood majority of them. They really did try, but I don't think they practice as much as the girls. Most of the boys scored around a 4. A lot of their weak points were naturally mixing Spanish with their English--they need to build their vocabulary. During this whole interview, only 2 girls and one boy started off the interview with, "My name is..." I had to correct everyone else. Mrs. Marsia loved that I did this because in 4th grade they have a huge English speaking exam through Cambridge--which is equivalent to our testing state tests. 
On top of studying for finals and wrapping up the English and Science units, my 3rd graders (and the whole school) have to learn Christmas or religious songs for the holidays. They will put on a performance in front of their parents in three weeks. The songs they are learning are in all 3 languages!!! They have to learn English songs, Catalan songs, and Spanish songs!!!! 😳 That takes talent and hard work for an 8 year old!!!
At home I have been studying with Marian and Victoria. Marian and I work on spelling, sentences, and vocabulary. Marian does so well with English! In return, she teaches me Spanish sentences. We also read together! I brought a picture book that has English and Spanish mixed together; Marian loves it! Victoria on the other hand is a hoot! She loves to sing songs, so that is what we do! Her new favorite, to get into the holiday spirit, is Jingle Bells. She has her own bells and she runs around the house dancing, jingling, and singing jingle bells a gazillion times! It is too cute! I also like to play a game with her that we started the other night. She has a box that she puts items in and I have to guess what they are. I will ask her questions in English to figure out what is in the box! We have so much fun playing this game--her items are so unique. 
On Wednesday, we all went to the famous Barce Futbol Stadium! Barcelona is one of the best teams! I was so excited to see the stadium, but I also wanted to cry! I've been wanting to go to an European Soccer Game my whole life, but I went to Paris instead! I know I will be able to come back one day and watch one! 
Thursday was special day here at the Molins house because Victoria lost her first tooth! She was so excited; she ran to me first thing that morning to show me! She was so excited to lose a tooth, she stuck it in her pocket to take it to school with her. We didn't know until she came home with it taped in her agenda 😉. Victoria got great gifts from the tooth fairy that night! I think she can't wait to lose another one! Also on Thursday, Sarah, Amanda, Mary Bruce, Shannon, and I went to Place de Catalyuna and we walked the streets of the city center to the Picasso museum. That was pretty interesting! I loved seeing some of his earlier works!
Well, well, weekend in Paris was a pretty good one! I have been there before so it was exciting to go back after 12 years to see if I could remember everything and see if anything changed. I did notice the people have changed. It definitely is a mix of people then it was 12 years ago. Anyway, Faith and I left Saturday morning at 5:30. We flew to Paris to meet 2 of our friends, but we never saw them! We don't know what happened there?! We got to our hotel and we were generally pleased with it. We were just excited that we found it in our own! After our hotel, Faith booked a walking tour so that is what we did. We met at Sant Michael's fountain and went from there. It was a general tour so we didn't go into anything, but we saw all the major Paris musts with a little bit of history behind them. I really enjoyed the tour, except the fact it felt below zero and we walked for 3 hours. My feet were frozen! After the tour, we got tickets for a boat ride on the Seine River--this was my favorite part of the trip! We did get a little stressed finding the place because Paris is so spread out; it took us about an hour and a half to find it! It was definitely worth the trouble of finding it. We rode the Seine at night with all the buildings lit up and it was magical! The Eiffel Tower sparkled (literally) and Notre Dame was gorgeous! During our boat ride, we met all kinds of people. We talked to Germans for a while and we all went to the Christmas market! The Christmas market was on Champs Élysées and it was next to the Arc de Triumph. It was beautiful! Vendors lined the streets, Christmas music was playing (in English ha), everything was lit up, and the smells were amazing. We ate at the Christmas market and walked the streets of Champs Élysées for a while. We even tried Gluewein; which is German for hot wine! It tastes like hot cider, but in different flavors! After being up for almost 24 hours we had to call it a night!
The next day was just as amazing! We waited in line for the Eiffel Tower and we met people from Chicago! It was nice to hear a familiar sound! We waited in line for about an hour and Faith and I made our way to the tip top of the Eiffel Tower. Faith's face was priceless! It was also much colder up at the top so we rushed that part! However, the views were breathtaking! I could see for miles! It sure hasn't changed from 12 years ago! After the Eiffel Tower, we took the metro to Montemarte which is more of a village scene. I was not a big fan of Montemarte; I didn't feel comfortable being there, but it was still an amazing experience! Faith and I are pretty proud of ourselves for navigating Paris just the two of us! We feel like we can do anything after that! I was so wore out and slept the whole plane ride home! I was so excited to see Victoria and Marian!!!! I couldn't wait to be back in Barcelona where it was 15 degrees warmer! 
Overall, the second week has been amazing and I can't wait to see what my last two weeks bring me!!
Victoria is dying for me to play with her so Audios Amigos! 
One of my 5th grade boy's pencil drawing on perspective!!!! Pretty amazing!!
Ines and Andrea at recess--I love these girls! 
My 3rd grade boys singing and learning Holly Jolly Christmas!
Victoria losing her first tooth!!!
Bonjour Paris! 
Locks of love bridge. Fun fact: every so often, the city has to come clip locks off and throw them away because it weighs down the bridge!!!! Yes, so your love lock is not forever on the Locks of Love bridge!!! 
At the Louvre with Faith!
Our boat ride on the Seine!!! My favorite part!!
The Arc de Triumph.
At the Christmas Market on Champs Élysées !!
Enjoying the view at the top of the Eiffel Tower!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


I have been slacking on posting pictures so here are several from the first week at RMSI and my first weekend in Barcelona!
Arriving in Barcelona! November 11, 2013
View from my window!!!

My first day at RMSI!!
Yes, they have a pool in their school!!! 😳
Working on projects for Santa Isabel week! (5th grade boys)
First metro ride, with my dear friend Faith, to the city center! 
Cathedral in the city center! 
Some of my third grade girls! I love them! 
My awesome host family! The last day of Santa Isabel--we all had to represent different colors for our grades! Look at Victoria with her Big Red 😊

Making homemade butter cookies for the last day of Santa Isabel! 
My wonderful host teacher Mrs. Marsia and I eating tapas in the courtyard at school!
My host family's cabin, Mas La Roca, in the mountains!!! It was built in the 1500s. They also rent it out 😉 hint hint 
My view from my bedroom at the cabin. There is an abandoned church (Sant Andreu) in the background. Mass is held once a year and that is it! Check out the roses and it's November!
An Priest joined us on Saturday. After living in Argentina for 30 years, he decided to move back to Spain and this farm is where he grew up. He cooked us a traditional Argentinian dish, Asados, which is a rack of beef slowly cooked over a fire.
It was delicious !!!!!
This little fellow wanted to join us too. He actually is not that little! I have never seen such a creature. 

Went hiking in the mountains! We went to Castillo de Popa; an abandoned castle at the top of the mountain and Sant Andreu's church. The views were incredible!
The castle we hiked to. It is built on top of a rock that sits on top of the mountain. It was built in the 10th century!!!! 
The view from the castle!!! I never wanted to leave! 
This is the rock that the castle is built on. It was impressive! To think that people hauled rock and stone up to this mountain and then on top of a rock to build a castle and live in it, is mind blowing!

Well, these are just some of the many great photos from my first week in Barcelona! I have tons more! I had to start deleting pictures because I ran out of room and I have three weeks left! I don't know what I am going to do! I am sorry it took me so long to post pictures! I hope y'all enjoy!

Monday, November 18, 2013

One Week Down

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh! I can't believe I've been in Barcelona a week already. In a blink of an eye, I'll be back in America! My first weekend was a success! My host family took me to the mountains where they own a cabin. It is called Mas La Roca (house of rock) in Castell cir. This "cabin" is definitely not the cabin Americans are use to. It is the traditional Spanish farm house. This house or cabin is apart of my host father's family; it was built in the 1500s. The location of this cabin was breathtaking !!! I never wanted to leave. We arrived Friday night after school and our first stop was a farm, a dairy farm. Muli and Joaquin buy milk from this farm--all natural and they boil it themselves. I have never been to a milking farm so it was awesome to see the way these people still lived! It was dark outside so by the time we arrived to the cabin, I couldn't see the beauty of this place and it definitely was a surprise when I woke up Saturday morning. When I woke up, I was in awe at everything I saw. I was literally in the mountains with no street lights, neighbors, cars etc. all I could see was mountains, trees, and the best part--an abandoned church across the way. This church is abandoned, but once a year there is a special mass held at this church for Sant Andreu's Day. After I wandered around with my mouth wide open at the beautiful scenery, Muli and I went to the closest village (Castellter col) where there is a Farmers Market. Muli buys everything fresh--vegetables, meat, bread etc. hardly anything is bought in packages. It was so neat to see the village sell their products. It is November and there were still oranges, tomatoes, fresh eggplant etc. After the Farmers Market, she took me to a pastry shop that is well known in Spain. This pastry shop is to die for! From their cakes to chocolate, everything is hand made from scratch! 
After the village, we came back to the cabin to find an Argentinian Priest cooking for us! He came to visit the farm because he lived in the cabin down the road! Joaquin and this priest are friends. The priest was cooking a traditional Argentinian meal--Asado. It is a rack of beef cooked slowly over a fire; no grill. It took about 4 hours to cook. As the meat was cooking, I helped Muli prepare the vegetables and set the table. At that time, Muli's uncle arrived, Plasid. He is well known in Barcelona! He writes books and he is a journalist. The Asado was amazing!! It is kind of like eating ribs, but with a fork and knife. Muli saw I was having trouble so she let me use my hands 😊. After dinner, my host family and I went to Mass (church) in the village--Sant Quirze Safaje. It wasn't that much difference from the looks of it, but I couldn't understand a thing. I was just happy to be there! 
On Sunday, Joaquin wanted to take me to one of his favorite places in the mountains, an abandoned castle at the very top of the mountain. Muli, the girls, and I started hiking through the woods and it started to rain so Joaquin picked us up in the pickup. We drove half way up the mountain and walked the rest of the way to Castell de le Popa. This castle is at the tip top of the mountain and literally built on a rock that sits on the mountain. It looks like a ship. It was built in the 10th century and not that many people know about it! When we got to the top of the mountain, the castle sat in peace and it was breathtaking. It was amazing to see how these people built this castle and it's been there for years. I could see for miles and miles from the top of this mountain, I didn't want to leave. After the castle, we went to the abandoned church that is seen from Muli and Joaquin's cabin. Thief church is called Sant Andreu church of Castell cir. I didn't get to go in it, but being in the church's presence was all I needed. 
For it to rain all weekend long, I still had the time of my life. It was beautiful, peaceful, and unforgettable. I am definitely going to come back to stay in Muli and Joaquin's cabin! They rent it out so I am definitely taking them up  on that! With such a wonderful weekend, comes another long work week. 
Mondays are not the best, but when your in Barcelona it is wonderful! Especially when I get to shop after school and let me just say the shopping in Europe is mighty fine! I am in heaven! 
Well it's midnight and I have a long day tomorrow with some crazy kiddos! Buenos Noches!! Mwuah 

Friday, November 15, 2013

It's Friday!

Today marks the day that I am finished with the first week of school already! I can't believe it. This week has been such a whirl wind--arriving in Barcelona with great people, going in blind at a foreign school, and trying to soak in that I am actually in Europe like a big girl has been crazy! I have had some awesome experiences so far! 
School has been a crazy ride. I was told that it would be different, but I didn't think it would be a world of difference. For a Catholic school, it's pretty WILD. I don't think I have come across a school rule just yet. The kids have so much freedom to be kids! They have a lot of options such as art, music, swimming--yes, they have a pool in their school--and so much more! The kids and I have two breaks throughout the whole day. There is snack time/recess from 11:00 to 12:00 (depending on the schedule), lunch is from 1:30 to 2:45 and school ends at 4:45. I love the breaks here I get go where ever I want to eat! The kids even get to go home for lunch! 
This whole first week has been about honoring Santa Isabel-the queen, which the school is named after. There pretty much has been zero classes all week. On Wednesday, I did teach English as a whole class to both 3rd grade boys and girls. Usually, they talk over the teacher, get out of their seat, and pretty much do what they want; however with me, that wasn't the case. I told them my expectations and I didn't have too much of a problem teaching them. Class is only 45 minutes so it is definitely hard to get in any kind of lesson--especially with such a special week. I am definitely looking forward to next week and really seeing how they learn and what is being taught. 
Today, was the last day of honoring Santa Isabel--my grade was yellow and so far yellow is winning (we will find out next week who won the excursion). I am exhausted. It was non-stop competitions in basketball, volleyball, soccer, swimming etc. my girls placed first in volleyball and my boys placed first in soccer. They earn points for everything they do during this week; so it is important that they win! After sports, my 3rd grade girls and I made butter cookies in the classroom! Mrs. Marsia, the host teacher, went and got the ingredients and we prepared them in class. It was so much fun and I wish schools in America would have time to do these kinds of things! 
Overall, I love the freedom in the schools here. I do not like that there is hardly any structure. The faculty and staff do not stress so much on the negative things therefore it's never a problem in the schools. The students are very smart! The amount of English known is awesome, but it also saddens me! I'm sad because America does not make half the effort to learn a language as the students do here. They HAVE to learn 3 languages during school: Spanish, Catalan (a type of Spanish, but it's hard and completely different from the Spanish we typically know) and English!!!! My teacher knows 5 languages--and America we have one or two years in highschool ? That's pretty sad. They also have religion in their school! They pray before class starts, bless their food, have mass and communions! We are not even allowed to speak of God in the American classroom. Yet, they have less problems then American schools. 
I have been so busy with getting situated with my arrival that I haven't really explored Barcelona yet. I rode the metro to the city center on Wednesday for 2 hours just to see what it was. It is absolutely beautiful!!!! I have ate at several cafés and went to one of the malls. Needless to say, everything has been amazing. I have tried to blend in, but I know I stick out like a sore thumb when my mouth stays open the whole time because I am in awe at the scenery around Barcelona. The food has been absolutely delicious and the people are as beautiful as ever! I am probably the tannest person I have seen--everyone is blonde with blue eyes. Say what!? It's crazy I know. 
My host family has been amazing in everyday. They make sure I have everything I need and they include me in everything they do! My girls are super sweet and unique. They love to make me speak Spanish because they laugh everytime I try. Yesterday, we had private dance lessons for a traditional Spanish dance! It was so neat to see; it looks simple, but it was very difficult! I think I felt like a professional haha. This weekend we have a trip planned to go to their cabin. They own a cabin on the other side of the mountain. I am so excited to see the country side of Spain. An Argentinian priest is coming to cook for us and we are going to visit a village. I am definitely immersing myself in this culture because I know I will never get it back! I am going to post pictures soon! I don't have time right now because my host family is telling the girls to "vamos" so we can leave and I haven't packed yet! Ahhhhhhh! 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Big Day

Today was my first day at RMSI. Wow, is all I can say! I was welcomed with open arms, side-to-side cheek kisses (which I love), and decorated classrooms that represented WKU. My arrival was everything and more. The way they say my name is to die for- Miss Kita, miss Kita times 100! I was impressed with the quantity and quality of English that was spoken throughout the school. The uni-sex classes are very interesting-you can definitely tell a difference between the boys and girls. The boys are WILD. Nothing like in America. The culture and religion really shine in this school. It is very loud, fast, a lot of emotion, and expressions from all ages. I was informed from the get-go about the difference between American schools and this school. However, I think this whole week is going to be a challenge to manage both boys and girls because it's a very special week here at RMSI!!! It's a celebration of Santa Isabel. She was a queen that helped poor people! So throughout the week, the students do activities in honor of Santa Isabel. For example, the students bring in clothes etc. to give to the poor. The grades are divided up into colors (red, yellow etc) and they earn points all week. The color with the most points wins an excursion or a day off from school. I love all of my kids. I have third grade boys and girls; fifth grade boys and girls. The students never switch classes, but the teachers move classroom to classroom! I also enjoy my teacher, Mrs. Marsia! She is very well-rounded and I know I am going to learn a lot from her!
After school, I hung out with my favorite senioritas--Victoria and Marian. We practiced our dance moves, English skills, and rolling my Rs. They think it's hilarious when I speak Spanish. Victoria's favorite song and dance moves are "I like to move it, move it" it is the cutest thing I have ever seen! Muli (host mom) is amazing! We have a trip planned to go to the mountains this weekend; they own a cabin! I am so excited to see what the next 4 weeks of my life are going to be like. I definitely need some rest though, my allergies are kicking in!
Kira ❤️

Monday, November 11, 2013

Finally Here!!!

I finally made it to Barcelona and I absolutely love it!!!!!! It was a long way over and I am exhausted (this time change is crazy), but it is all worth it. My host family is amazing and they have treated me with the upmost respect. I am still waiting to meet my 2 girls! Tonight, my host family's family is having a dinner party to celebrate a birthday and I get to meet everyone! Tomorrow I will start my big day at the elementary school. It is a catholic school with uni-sex classes. I cannot wait to see a different school with different students and different teaching strategies. For now, I am going to enjoy the view from my window, savor every moment, and get over this jet lag!
Love, Ms. Hesse

Friday, November 8, 2013

New Beginning!

Today was the last day with my sweet second graders! I have had a wonderful journey teaching 5th grade and 2nd grade, but now in just a couple of days I will be on my way to teach in a different place. A place that I have been wanting to visit for years! I am so excited to have this opportunity and I know this adventure will better me as a person! It is crunch time and I have so much left to do, but the craziness is a part of a new beginning and it is all worth it! Join me as I make tons of memories and gain life-changing experiences. More to come soon.
Ms. Kira