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!