Monday, May 6, 2013

No Te Preocupes Estoy Aqui!

I just realized that I haven't written on my blog since January... oops. I remember before I came to Spain I would look at other exchange student's blogs and see that they hardly ever wrote anything, and I would say "Wow I'm definitely not gonna be like that I'm gonna write every week I'll never neglect you blog." HAHA yeah right. Well I promise a decently long post soon to update everyone on where I've been the past few months...

Sunday, January 27, 2013


I can officially claim the title of the worst blogger in the world since it's been months since my last update... For those of you who were nearing a mental breakdown, don't worry, I'm back now and I promise to try and do better. I can't tell you how many times I've sat down and began writing a blog post but couldn't think of anything to write. Which is absolutely ridiculous because I could probably write something every single day. I guess the problem is that I'm lazy and I feel like nobody actually reads these... Anyway, considering that 2 months or so have gone by without writing anything I have decided to give this blog post no organizational structure at all, and to just bullet point things that happen to me. Maybe that will be more interesting anyway...
One more thing before I start, here are three potential ideas for upcoming blog posts: 1) A video collage of my holiday break- this one is a definite I just have to overcome my technological difficulty problem and figure out how to send videos from my phone onto my computer. 2) An exclusive look at what kind of food you'd find in a typical household here in Barcelona. 3) A video of a day in the life of an exchange student. Now I will begin with the random bullet points that describe my life. I don't feel like proofreading this so sorry.
  • The boys in my class are for some reason overly fascinated with my last name. So they created this new game where randomly during class someone will like, whisper "SKOURAS." Except this is how it would be pronounced, "ska-oo-das." So someone hisses my last name and that's followed by three or four other boys who do the same and it makes me kind of uncomfortable but I also think it's hilarious so I don't mind.
  • Something I have noticed is that almost everyone chews with their mouths open here. They also talk with food in their mouths. It's really difficult for me to pay attention to what someone is saying when I can see the first step of their digestion process in order... 
  • Something you'll be glad to hear: My Spanish is FINALLY improving! I can hold conversations without problems and can communicate and understand! It's so much easier with my friends though... I can talk to them without any problems. But then when an adult talks to me my knowledge of Spanish reduces to three words and not understanding anything.
  • Also, my Catalan is getting better as well! I'm starting to understand almost anything and can sort of speak it, although I'm still kind of shy to do so. 
  • I gave a presentation entirely in Spanish! This is actually a big deal because I never get nervous to present for my class. Even though I masked it really well, I was nervous and shaking like a scared puppy. I made some jokes and the kids understood them and laughed, so I'd say it was pretty successful.
  • My current favorite people in the world are those who sent me mail... (I'm working on getting back to you guys, I promise.) There is no better feeling in the world than getting a letter.
  • I am really, really lucky about how friendly everyone has been to me at school. My friends and they always invite me everywhere and we always have SO much fun together. I know it's cheesy but it's such a caring, loving group of girls and they are just always willing to help me, to give me advice, anything. They accepted me from the very beginning and that's just really an amazing thing.
  • AFS and past exchange students said the after January, things get so much easier and that the time just flies by. I can't believe that it's already almost the end of January... This has to have been the fastest month of my life. I'm approaching the halfway mark of my trip!
  • I'M GOING TO MADRID FOR A WEEK WITH MY SCHOOL. It's an 8 hour bus ride or something, but I always think the coach bus rides are really fun. In 8th grade at Dallastown, we go on a trip called "Outbound." I went to Boston for a weekend and the freedom they give you is really limited. For example, we had monitored free time of an hour or so where we could walk around the hotel and stuff. Also, when we went to sleep they taped our doors shut to make sure nobody was sneaking around during the night... When I go to Madrid with my school, free time is a little bit different... During our free time here we are allowed to leave the hotel and basically wander Madrid.
  • One downside to understand almost everything is that now I have no excuse to do badly in school. I actually like doing schoolwork most of the time because it's so rewarding when I actually understand, but you cannot imagine the frustration that I endure. Here are some descriptions of my classes and what I do... Spanish- My Spanish teacher is probably one of the strictest teachers on me. His requirements are reasonable, but just barely attainable. I have to do essentially the same as the rest of the class, but on a smaller level. English- English is actually so much fun. I'm basically like a student teacher and I help lead class discussions, answer questions, etc. I also prepare a song every week and we listen and the class fills in the blanks. Science and math- I do well in these classes, but when there are word problems... well, most of the time the teacher writes "Good effort" on my paper. History- It's a hopeless case and that's all I have to say about history. There are more classes I just can't really remember what they are right now.
  • I'm starting to speak really strangely... After being around so many people with broken English and barely using English, I can't talk right.  Hopefully this will go away because it's embarrassing not being able to speak my own native language.
  • Everyone in Europe learns so many languages... Everyone speaks at LEAST 3 here. Spanish, Catalan, and English. Then they take either French, German, or both. (If they do both one of them is outside of school.) Then Latin during school? It's incredible. In the United States even just being able to speak 2 is rare. At least when I come back being able to speak 3 I'll stand out.


Now this deserves a paragraph and not just a bullet point. Before I start the story, I'm going to change the name of this boy to save him from humiliation. I would also like to say, despite how angry I was during the 2 hours in which this story takes place, that I am now over it and can (almost) tell this story without wanting to punch someone (him) in the face. Let's call this boy Frank. So Frank and I are American exchange students with AFS living in Catalunya. A friend of ours was having a little birthday get together and the plan was to take a tour of the Sagrada Familia and then go to dinner. I'm the only exchange student with AFS living directly in the city of Barcelona (I think), so I know my way around better than anyone. Frank messages me on Facebook asking if I wanna hang out a little bit before on Saturday afternoon, maybe get some lunch, walk around, help the kid out so he doesn't get lost. Me, being the kind gracious person that I am, generously agreed. Friday night Frank messages me again saying the plan has changed, that the girl's family was having a surprise lunch for her instead. He tells me, "So let's meet up at the smoking statue in Plaça Catalunya at 1." My response? "Um what... what is a smoking statue." Frank says, "Oh don't worry don't worry there's only one smoking statue you'll see it it will be fine just meet me there." So I cautiously agree. Saturday comes, I go to Plaça Catalunya as instructed. As I leave the train station I realize that I don't know if the smoking statue is a statue that is smoking like a cigarette, or if it's smoking with steam, and I also have no idea where it is located. I get off the train at 12:50 and start walking around. First thing I realize, there's got to be at least 50 statues. I begin my adventure looking for a statue that is smoking or that has smoke or something. I probably asked at least 5 people, all tourists, if they had any idea any they all had no idea. They also probably thought I was crazy. At 1:10 after probably 15 or 20 minutes of looking and almost getting pooped on by several birds (there are a million birds in Plaça Catalunya) I turn around to see Frank casually drinking a Fanta, walking towards me and giggling like a small child. First thing I say to him... "YOU IDIOT." He laughs again and I told him to shut up. He then guides me to the smoking statue, which is literally a small white statue hidden by a giant fountain that has a six inch cigar. I thought I had never wanted to slap someone so badly in my entire life... I would later realize that this was far from true. My journey with Frank has just begun. So then we start walking and Frank offers me some of his Fanta, I not-so-kindly refuse making it clear I don't want to interact with him much less share a beverage with him. We enter the Metro station and I ask him if he knows where we're going. His response? "Nope!" UM WHAT I'M SORRY ARE YOU JOKING. Then he laughs and unsurely tells me the name of something. I asked if that was the town, the street, the train stop, and of course he has no idea. So he suggests we look at the schedule and we luckily find the name. I must have asked him to ask someone to help us at least 20 times but he kept refusing saying "No, asking for help is lame." Finally we figure out where we're going. We almost got on the wrong train... but then the next one came and it was the right one. I didn't actually know if it was the right one but at that point I didn't care. By the way, I refused to sit with him on the train so we awkwardly weren't near each other, which was great because it's not exactly classy to commit a homicide on public transportation in a foreign country. I asked Frank how long the train ride is and he said 10 minutes. The surprise lunch started at 2 so I thought we would be pretty good on time. 20 minutes later, we're still on the train. Frank THEN has the guts to say "Wow, what a beautiful view!!" There is no better word than "facepalm"to describe my action. (It actually was a beautiful view though, with the ocean about 5 feet away. Too bad I couldn't enjoy it due to my frustration...) We tried having a normal conversation about Christmas and gifts but it's kind of difficult to converse with someone who so greatly deprives you of mental sanity. Frank then says, "I told Robert to meet us at the train station at 1:30." I look at my phone and tell him it's about 1:55. He tells me, "Yeah I doubt Robert is still waiting." And begins to laugh. I literally told him to shut up. We finally arrive at 2 and get off the train. I'm going to write this part of the story in text quotes.
Frank- "Roberts not here."
Me- "Okay, no big deal... you know where to go, right?"
Frank- "Yeah yeah let's just go look at the map."
*We stare at the map for a good 2 minutes*
Me- "You have no idea where you're going do you."
Frank- "Nope."
Me out loud- "Okay... no big deal. Do you have a phone number?"
Frank- "Yeah!" *Looks around in this bag.* "Nope, actually I don't have it. I also don't have a phone."
Me- " you have an address?"
Frank- "No..."
Me- "Well is it in someone's house, is it outside, is it in a restaurant??"
Frank- "Hm, I think it's a picnic!"
Me- "Tell me how that helps us." (Now this is the part of the story where Frank begins to give me some of the stupidest most moronic suggestions that I have ever heard in my life. Here is number one.)
Frank- "Well, look here's a park. Let's just go there and maybe we'll find them.
Me- "Frank, there are 3 parks on this map."
(Stupid suggestion number 2)
Frank- "Well... maybe we can just ask around. It's a small town and small towns know their exchange students."
Me- "..."
(Stupid suggestion number 3)
Frank- "Let's just walk around. Maybe we'll find them."
Me- "I'm going to pretend you didn't even say that."
(Remember how earlier I said I had never wanted to slap someone so badly in my entire life?? Here comes the king of stupid suggestions.)
Frank- "Lets just look for Robert's house."
Me- "Do you know the number?"
Frank- "Nope."
Me- "Do you know the street?"
Frank- "Nope."
Me- "Do you know what it looks like?"
Frank- "Nope."
Me- "Then how in the world do you expect to find it."
Frank- "Well, Robert told me that it's two stories and you can see the beach."
We waited around for a good 20 minutes, I made Frank stay at least 10 feet away from me behind the map where I couldn't see his face, then a man comes up to him and asks him if he was Frank. It was the girls father to direct us to their house, which we would have NEVER found.

The rest of the night was great, however. We ate lunch at my friend's house and had a tour of the Sagrada Familia, which is absolutely beautiful. We hung out in a park for an hour or so after and then went out to dinner. It's really cool being with the AFS kids because we're from all over the world (Austria, Germany, USA, France, Japan, etc) and we all get along and understand each other, they're just really cool people. After dinner I went to see Les Miserables with my host mom and my host sister. I only cried a little bit though, probably because I'm so familiar with the story and have seen the musical several times slash memorized the entire soundtrack. The dialogue was in Spanish, but since it's almost entirely singing there was hardly any Spanish.

Now here are some pictures for you to enjoy and they are completely out of order but oh well.

La Sagrada Familia

Inside of La Sagrada Familia

This is something really cool- The brown parts are what currently exists of La Sagrada Familia and the white parts are what still needs to be built... It's huge!!

Me with my cute little 4 year old Spanish friend on the train
I make cookies regularly because it's the only thing I know how to make and everyone loves them

I thought this was really cool a) because it's a red piano and b) because normally there are signs that say "DON'T TOUCH" but this piano has a sign that says, "If you know how to play, play!"

I got my haircuuuut! Haircuts are really expensive here so my friend's mom cut it but it's really healthy and my split ends are gone so I'm extremely satisfied.

This is a picture from the first time I ever went skiing... I'm actually decent now so hooray

Dinner table at Christmas

Sunday, November 18, 2012

mi vidaaaa en fotos!

Today I'm just going to post a lot of pictures of random things with small captions because I don't feel like typing a lot and I feel like pictures are more entertaining to look at anyway.
This picture is genuine happiness, it really is.

My host mother and I

Who dat gurlll

Love this city more than words can describe

My host sister, Celia

love the uniformity of these buildings

This picture is funny because for once my eyes are the widest...asian probs

Sagrada Familia

letting my personality shine through here

Sorry about how many pictures there are of me... Actually no I'm not. Why am I apologizing to a blog post?

Making cupcakes with Celia's friends!

Making some chocolate chip cookies with Lidia and Laura!

Thank you mommy for sending me a survival kit of Ramen noodles, goldfish, peanut butter and pop tarts.
Now I would like to say thank you to some friends back home. I'm not usually into the personal shootout type things in a blog but this is necessary. It means a lot to me that you haven't forgotten me, that you take time out of your busy lives to send me a message on Facebook or have a quick Skype session. I may be busy too, but I just want you to know how much you mean to me and how much it means to me that you keep in touch. It's really hard sometimes seeing life go on back home and seeing that you're not a part of it and feeling like people have forgotten you. But keeping in touch with you guys - it reminds me who my true friends are.

Andrew tipper...the love of my life!! Even though I know how difficult it is for you to respond with your crazy NYC Vogue life, I miss you more than you know and it makes my day whenever you send me any type of message.
6,000 miles away and we're still best friends. Colin Miller, can't wait till we can chat away in español and confuse everyone in the states because a ginger and an asian are communicating in another language. I miss you.

Tipper and Tipper- of course we stay in touch WE ARE FAMILY AND I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU

The most beautiful picture ever taken of Jenalli. Even though it took a while for you to remember who I was... I am so glad things are back to the way they were in 2nd grade. JAJA<333 We'll have a great time studying for algebra 1 keystones together Jennifer Manning.

AUDREY ROGERS. The person who never fails to respond to anything I say, sends the greatest snap chats, never fails to improve my day... I have to say, you are the best and keeping in touch and you are such a good friend and I love you endlessly and you mean the world to me.

SWARTZ SKOURAS PARTY IN PARIS. You two... no words. I love you guys, more than you know. When I get back we will resume Swartz Skouras sleepovers and movie nights and Sheetz runs and Mackenzie and I will make more crafts and Jordan you can yell at us or tell us how cool they are or whichever you prefer.... 

This picture is missing Lani, Shannon, and finally ABBY but to Megg, Esther, Paige, Erinn, Shannon, Lani, Abby. We're all over this wonderful country and you guys help me through everything. I couldn't ask for a better support system and can't wait to reunite in Madrid. AFS _______ SQUAD (This is a G rated blog.)

I have been horribly neglectful to one of the most important people in my life... Mikaelie, I miss you and your laugh and your spasms and your existence. Honestly, how am I even surviving without you? I don't know. But I just wanna let you know you should be expecting mail soon. ;)

Oh Annaaa Suuunn. Still sending me song lists and talking me through my life troubles whenever I need. You are the best Anna Hess. (That rhymed so it's a song so imagine me singing it while improvising on the piano with a headband around my forehead.)

Haley Magel!! I don't have a lot to say because you know how much I miss you and I can't imagine how horrible Breaking Dawn was without me... we need to Skype soon.

Olivia, Betsy, and Sarah Pell. Sorry this picture is terrible and that I couldn't find individuals with us but you all brighten my life and are some of the greatest friends in the entire world. I think about you all the time and imagine how to cry yourselves to sleep every night without me there... ;) No but really, thanks for still being there even from 4,000 miles away. Love you guys.

Meg Meg, I don't know if I'm allowed to say this but I miss you the most. It's hard surviving without weekly sweet frog trips and sleepovers and talking about life and my feelings. Both of our lives are so busy and I wish we could talk more... I wish you could come visit me. Don't forget about meeeee. Love you.
ONE MORE THING: If you have read this far, send me your address and I will send you a handwritten letter!! 

Much love, Alexandra