Friday, June 15, 2012

Hasta luegooo...

Monday is the day! Monday I fly out of Spain and head towards Texas! I still can’t believe it is over. I have experienced so much in the past 9 months and I cant even begin to believe how it has changed me in more ways than one. From the things I have see and done and the people who have enriched my life for the better, I am truly blessed to have been able to live in Spain this school year.

As I have been thinking about this blog and how to try to express anything about my experience, I am truly overwhelmed as I am now putting it into words. This blog was never about me, not one bit. This blog was and is about sharing a journey about trying to figure out how to live life in this crazy place we called “the world”.

This so called world is way bigger than I ever thought. Of course size wise, but more importantly people wise which means heartwise to me. There are so many different types of people out in the world, but those people I learned the most from about life, myself, and others.  People are so important to me. They hold such an impact in your life that you don’t really truly see or appreciate them until some type of dramatic event. This dramatic event could be under just about any condition, happy, sad, accident, or on purpose- no one chooses the condition of which one sees why that person made such an impression on your life. They just see it one day and that’s simply it. It is simply that moment that you realize how rich your life truly is from the inside out, and in that moment, you smile.  So as I write this particular blog, I am smiling about the days of the past, the days now, and the days to come.

As I look back at all the places I was lucky to see and be in, I still am in shock that it all even was real. Starting my traveling adventures as a student 3 years ago to being an English teacher in another country, well let’s just say I could not be more happy with how life unfolded thus far.  This adventure aboard I have taken the opportunity to see London and Scotland for my Christmas away from home, gone down to Africa to have a taste of Morroco, some more British culture in Gibraltor, a new Andaluz experience in Jaen, a night with friends in Malaga, too many adventures in Cadiz to physically count, quick weekend trips to my beloved Sevilla, and last but not least, some island fun in Mallorca to finish it off.  That is a lot of stories, a lot of adventures, a million memories to keep forever, new friends, lots of Spanish, and a lot of Spanish tapas.
Even though I have written about all these adventures through out my time here, the most important and precious part of my experience has been the people I shared it with.  I came here to serve precious Spanish babies and I had so much fun doing that. I didn’t fully comprehend how much I meant to those kids until they showed me in their homemade cards, jewelry, artwork, and infinite amount of hugs and kisses during my last week. I fell head over heals with my sweet kiddos and they knew it! After long breaks, I would always be so excited to wake up and see them the next day at school. Im such a nerd that way with school and teaching.

Those kids still run after me in the streets and yell at me from a mile away simply to say hi or blow me the sweetest kiss.  I’m incredibly unworthy of this treatment, but they seem to think other wise.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have lots of moods and they change just about as frequently as the weather in Texas.  This being said my roommates are definitely the next set of people who I have shared a lot of time with through this adventure. Living with people teaches you a lot about yourself, others, and everything in between. I think I learned the most about roommates than I ever learned about them in college. I would not change this experience living with an American and a Polish girl for the world, maybe some moments yes but the overall adventure no way!

Haley, you of all people have learned when to talk to me and when not to talk to me through my change of moods. You have learned the smallest things about me that people don’t always recognize or see, and that is why I am most thankful for you in my life. I don’t have to say how you know to cut my apples in small pieces for you to know how much I love you. You know.

Lu, never thought I would meet a Polish girl in my life. My life was not ready for you, but I don’t know what it would be like without you now. You annoy the crap out of me with your flip flops and your potatoes from a box, but you and I can dance the night away and be the last ones out of whereever we are at the end of the night. On a serious note, I knew after that crazy 5 year old birthday party, with the same song playing the whole time, that you would do anything for me.  Not many people would have done what you did that day, but I love you for it.

Kristin, I don’t even know where to begin with you. We have been through so much in our friendship, but somehow the Lord keeps blessing me with you in my life and I love Him for it. You have been my very good friend when I have wanted to pull my hair out this year, and you have always been an encouragement daily.  I think I am most thankful that you shared this program with me. Thank you for sharing this opportunity, your friends, your home, and your life with me in Spain. One of my favorite days is hands down the day we talked in the park in Jaen. I loved that day.

Encarni, I am so lucky I had you as a coworker. I learned a lot about teaching and being a professional from you. Most importantly, I learned about your generous heart, which in my opinion is your most valuable quality and I was lucky to see it. Thank you for being my friend away from home and sharing your life with me. I will be emailing you so be ready.

Kaitlin Paige, you are my person. We could be in the same city, same state, different state, different country…anywhere and you are still there for me. I can’t believe you asked me to be your roommate 3 years ago and we knew so little about one another!! God had a plan, and He knew…He knew. You remind me daily about why we are across the world loving on others and teaching sweet babes no matter their situation or status. This is our passion, and I’m lucky I have a best friend who gets that and shares that journey with me. We have been through so much but we both know no one is going anywhere. I could care less where we are in the world, because I know we will always have some way for a weekly chat I love you as much as guacamole.

Liz and Chessa, thank you for being our family away from home. You girls have been there for me through a lot this year. I will always be thankful for our new found friendships. You both have distinct, but sweet personalities and I'm blessed to have gotten the chance to know you.

Mama and Daddy, I have no words to describe how thankful I am that you did not fight me when I said I was going to Spain for 9 months. That was a miracle! We have been through so much in the past 9 months, and I still am blessed to call you my crazy parents. I love you and cant wait to see you!
John, my favorite skype date in the past 9 months was with you. You may not remember the time change and when I am sleeping, but you know the perfect time just to call to tell me you miss me and love me. I cant wait to hug you and annoy you daily. Be ready.

Amigos de Barbate. Estoy super afortunada para conoceros. Mi tiempo en Barbate estuvo mas divertido con vosotros. Entonces ven pa’ca a los Estados Unidos en el futuro. Me gustaria veros en mi pais!! Recuerda que el mundo es tuyo y te puede ser que tu quieres. Me voy a echar de menos todos!

Kelsi, I love you my sweet Nurse! Thankful for you in my life. You are a constant joy and I could not be prouder of your accomplishments. Thank you for loving me a million miles away from home and always being there for me.  You are an angel from heaven for being my friend! I cant wait to be with you way too much in Lubbock and eat lots of soy ice cream with you.

LP, life without you equals impossible. You have been such an encouragement to me from day 1 of this adventure. God really has outdid himself with our friendship. You have such a kind and sweet heart,  and I am so blessed to be in your life. I am overjoyed that we will get to live in the same city again so soon and share a new adventure together in this crazy life, 2nd year Med School and First year teacher! I love you.

To wrap up, I am so thankful I could share my Spain adventure with these people and all of you. Thank you for reading this blog and I pray you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it. It has been such a rewarding experience to write it all down and share it with my family and friends. Without sharing it with you, it would not be as significant. Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and love these past few months!

Get excited for my new adventure blogging about life as a first year Special Education teacher. Oh let the fun begin!

Cuando las personas estén en paz en su interior, el mundo estará en paz"

Malllllorcaaaaaa! You could say, I had been overly excited about this trip for about a month, but when it finally arrived it was bliss!

Kristin’s birthday is in June and we decided to take a trip to the island for a fun girls weekend. It just so happened to fall on the first weekend of my summer vacation! So it was a perfect start to summer fun!
After an emotional last week at school, I did not want to dwell on saying goodbye too long. So, I am thankful this trip lifted up my spirits.

It was hard to say goodbye to all my teachers and students. I have built great relationships with many, and I am so lucky to have had such a positive school experience at Juan XXIII Primary School. I will never forget my time here, nor will it not hold a special place in my heart. Those kids stole a part of my heart, and I’m pretty sure I’m not getting it back.

My last day was Thursday, May 31 and then Friday, June 1 I headed to Sevilla to meet up with the girls. I met Kristin at the train station in Sevilla, and it was like we were back studying! Crazy feeling, being in your study abroard city after studying abroad!! I still feel completely at home in Sevilla, but I think it will always be like that.

We got on the usual 32 bus and we went to school! So nice to see some familiar faces of the staff and the new, but exciting changes to the school. There are several different groups of kids this summer there for Summer I and they have diverse schedules. Made me super thankful  to have my study abroad family. We are soo different, but we were always together. No one could understand how such a small group of 60-80 college students from different lives could become a family away from home, but we could.
After seeing the school, we went to Darthe to see my bosses! I had come the day I arrived in September and saw one of my bosses but his wife was not there. So, thankful she was there this round! Kristin and I had some Tintos and reminisced on how life was, is, and everything in between. I loved catching up with my boss, Ava, and get her sons phone numbers to meet up with them before I headed to Mallorca the following day.

After our stroll down memory lane, we headed to the hostel to check in. At this point we were starving, so we headed to Nervion for some lunch. FYI: Just because I speak English with my friend does not mean I don’t speak Spanish as well. Our waiter turned out to be super rude, but I got that change. No worries Daddy, I am still fiesty in Spanish! Haha

We had lunch at the mall, so we walked around in hopes of finding a book store or some sunglasses, but those were my necesities before leaving Sevilla. As you would imagine if you have ever shopped with me, I was a fool with the sunglasses. Found a pair and then we headed to Happy Hour in hopes of seeing our favorite waiter, Tino!! Sadly, Tino was not working that Friday- soo weird without him at TGIFridays!! Despite the absence of Tino, Kristin and I still managed to have a great time and we proved to ourselves once again that the game of people watching is always worth it!

Of course we made a quick stop at my favorite Corte Ingles for a book for my Abuela. After buying the book, we got on good ol’ 32 bus back to the hostel to put the book up and go to dinner before our flamenco show, just like old times!

Dinner was at a place I actually had never been, surprise surprise! Levis en Sevilla, really good- but be careful with the garlic, they realllly like it there. Then we meet up with some of the girls, Emily and her cousin, Frannie-yes yes I am completely aware of the same name situation, never in my life. But she worked that name well, I completely love her and her sweet heart! We were soo death at the flamenco show, and I was still not feeling that feel from dinner so we went home before the show was over. It was nice to go to a place we went to regularly just to chat and have girls night. I miss you Denae,  and I cant wait to see you so soon and hug KING-that sweet baby boy!!

The next morning I had plans for breakfast with one of Ava’s sons, Jairo.  It was so great to catch up, and find out he learned English! So sweet to hear how well he was doing!! Before we knew it, it was time to end to Mallorca!!

Mallorca was absolutely what you would expect. Gorgeous. Precious. Clean. Natural. Clear Waters. Absolutely a wonderful place to be in, visit, and devour. Go. Just go.

The first night we meet up with some of Kristin’s friends for some tapas and a good time. It was a lot of fun to make new friends, as always!!! We had some great food and company, good night minus being completely exhausted. The following day was Kristin’s birthday!! We rented a car and drove to Valldemossa and Sollér. It was a windy ride through the mountains and we had a lovely picnic with a fabulous view. We reached the Port of Sollér before sunset and it was breathtaking. We had some good laughs, played in the sand, and went in the water in our dresses! We were simply so carefree and loving life.


Carpe Diem

The girls. Frannie, Emily, Kristin, Lauren, and I.





Lauren and Kristin. Valldemossa

Love Diversity of Languages

Chatting with the sweet old man in Valldemossa

1 euro Naranjas, yes please!

Driving along the coast 

Picnic date

Our Car!

Port de Sollér

Port de Sollér

Port de Sollér

Port de Sollér

Port de Sollér

Frannie, Emily, and Lauren on the beach.

Kristin and her new friend who I chased after so she would not go unattended in the street. She was  super chatty! 


Have I said the water was crystal clear?

The girls loving life.

Toes in the sand.

2 palms=2 hours until sundown haha!

Loving life.

After we drove home, birthday girl did not want to do anything for her birthday night but shower and bed. So as she showered we made tapas and a cookie cake for her, to surprise her! It was super sweet and she loved it as did I with my Momosa!

Our next full day we kept the car for another 24 hours and drove to Pollenca, the northern point. The beaches were incredible! From the cliffs and crystal clear waters, who wouldn’t like it?!
We ate lunch in Pollenca and I had “Pez Espada” (swordfish). It was ridiculously good, just try it before you die if you like fish.

Pez Espada





Everytime I look at these pictures, I still can't believe this place is real:) 

The girls on a cliff.

Sadly, Lauren had to leave that day because she was flying home to Jersey . So we had to take her to the airport that afternoon. She was so much fun to be around on that trip, and I hope to see her sometime in the states!

After dropping that sweet girl off, we drove on to Cala Pi for a full on beach day!! Were we ready for the most gorgeous views ever? NO! I still cant even try to put into words how unbelievably breathtaking every direction of Mallorca is.
Cala Pi


Cala Pi

Cala Pi

Cala Pi

To end our day we went on a search to find the San Salines “Faro” (lighthouse). Mallorca is like a mini Barcelona with its art influence and culture. At the Faro, people had made mini “faros” that reminded me of Gaudi’s artwork. I love Gaudi and think he is brilliant, though some of his art is gothic.

San Salines Faro

After returning to Palma that night, we got ready for dinner with Kristin’s friend once more. Alison took us to a tapa place that was really good, sadly I don’t remember the name.  We had great food and interesting conversations in Spanish and English. Life was good.

The following day went by so fast that all I remember is being at the airport for 3 hours waiting for my flight. Then a 1.5 train and a 1.5 bus ride. Putting me in Barbate around 1130pm, and making me a tired/cranky Fran! I was extremely exhausted, but I still got up the energy to skype with a really good friend, Jaclyn. I am so happy for her, because John, her husband, is home for some R and R! Thankful for all of our men and woman who serve for our country! I pray you stay safe and know we love you!

In the end, I'm thankful for a good time with some new friends from this year and another birthday worthy of celebrating!!