Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Por fin al fin.

So here I am. My last day in Spain. All in all it has been a rough year, with some grand ups and some grand downs. I have spent some of the best days of my life here, and some of the worst days of my life here. At first it was hard, but I always had hopès it would improve as my Spanish got better. Sadly I sort of sabotaged my existence here. I didn´t try hard enough in the beginning because my Spanish was so bad, and it cost me in the end. The other exchange students kept me going. However now, within the last month and a half I have developed some great Spanish friends. The problem is that now I am in their group, I am leaving. It will be bittersweet, but so are a lot of things in life and I truely think it will be more sweeter than bitter. I am looking forward to the new adventures to come. All in all, I have learned a lot this year, things that I couldn´t even describe and things that I couldn´t put a price tag on. I have become very aware of myself and who I am. I am Nathan O´Neal, I am 16, I have been a cub scout, I have won the pinewood derby, I have broken bones, I have broken hearts (and probably some more to come), I have climbed Half-Dome, I have been halfway around the world, I have been in 6 countries, and become fluent in Spanish. For me I think sometimes, that mentally I am older than 16, but the truth is I can never truely know that until I am older, and the best thing is that I am only 16, for me life, the world, is just beginning. I am about to embark on another adventure, the trip home. I am not sure what will be in store for me, but I am looking forward to it. For I know that no matter what comes my way, after living this year, I know i can handle it. I wanted to thank you all for your support, I am really thankful for it. So I guess for me this is goodbye, perhaps one day we shall meet face to face, and I hope some day we do. Thank you so much.

Until another,

Monday, April 19, 2010

April 19th

Well if you want to read my blog you will have to look at because I am incapable of pasting my blog onto here from this computer. But it´s pretty cool talks alot about El Camino de Santiago and what I have been up to. So check it out.

Monday, March 1, 2010


So it´s March 1st. I have been up to some pretty fun stuff the last 2 or 3 weeks. 2 weeks ago my english teacher comes to me and says, ´´Hey Nathan, I have a friend who is a Spanish teacher in Alabama and he would like to skype with you so you can skype with his class.´´ Since then I have skyped with all his Spanish classes and it was very nice for me to talk to some real American teenagers in English. I also realized that there are jokes in the U.S. that everyone raised in the U.S. will understand. Like, ´´Can you hear me know?.........good!´´ and various Wizard of Oz jokes too. That also means that I will never have those in Spanish. The past few weeks I have realized that English funny is way funnier than Spanish funny........nobody here understands English humor. Example: I was flirting with this girl and I was flirting wih her like I would if I was in the U.S. I got the response once or twice ´´Nathan eres soso (y algo más que no me acuerdo ahora mismo).´´ Transalated: Nathan you tasteless. But she also said something else that I don´t remember but was like she said I was so cold. I didn´t know what to do.....but let´s just say It did work. Last weekend of the 21st. I went to Cordoba with my family which I know dread but we went with about 10 other families from Huelva and it was fun hanging out with them and going to some museums and stuff. Last week I went to Barcelona. Barcelona is an amazing city. We got there Monday morning and we stayed in a 4 star hotel in the España Plaza, and went to see the Gaudi houses (modernish slightly abstract houses), and the ramblas (main tourist street with street performers). We also went to the Gothic quarter and saw some castle-ish thing. That night at the hotel was pretty interesting. There were 60ish students and 3 teachers that didn´t care what we did, and on top of that, all the kids were Spanish. So that means, they smoked and drank in their hotel rooms. I don´t get why people smoke, and as for the drinking........there is no need to get sooooo drunk. So many people ended up completley helpless........I don´t get it (don´t worry Mom and Dad I did drink but I´m smart enough to control myself). Tuesday we got up and everyone was half alive after like 3 hours of sleep and the hangovers, we went to see Park Wells (if that´s how you spell it), The Barcelona Soccer Stadium, (I didn´t see that cause it was 14 euros). Then we went to La Sagrada Familia, which is a church designed by Gaudi and they have been working on it for a century and probably need another to finish it. We also went to a Picasso museum that day, and went down to the harbor. That night almost everyone just slept to recharge their batteries and Jon (my roommate who is half-british) and I cooked a pizza using hair-dryers, and it worked! The next day we went to a few more museums and at mid-day my friend Andrew Kerr (who is from California about 5 minutes from where I was born, and is doing exchange with AFS in Barcelona) and Emil (a Finnish boy who speaks 6 languages, is learning to break dance and be a DJ, lives in Downtown Barcelona, and is a total ladies man, seriously one of the most badass kids I have ever known) came to meet me for lunch so I went out with them and a couple of other friends. That night we went down to the ramblas to do some shopping and I just tried out my flirting in Spanish. Thursday we went out and just hung out then I said, ´´Bye.´´ to my friends, and I met up with Andrew. We then went out in Barcelona, he showed me a few things and we met up with Emil. On Friday I went out to a small town called Vic to visit my friend Mack Tully, who is another boy from Oregon, I stayed the night at his house and we just chilled and went to bed early. Saturday morning we got up at 7 took showers ate breakfast and we got to the train station to watch our traind pull away as we were running after it. So we waited another half hour and got into Barcelona a little late (but so did everyone else). We (Mack and I) met up with Emil, and Andrew in the metro and then we met up with some other Catalonian AFSers, Charlie (New Zealander), Aimee (New Zealander), and Jade (French-speaking Canadian). So everyone in that group also knew English perfectly....this group was AWESOME they intertwined perfectly.....and I fit in perfectly it was great.....So saturday we went up to this monastery in the mountains of Barcelona called Monserrat, It was amazing (I partly say that just because of the people). It was interesting the first day (Thursday) I hung out with Andrew my English was horrible! But by Sunday it was back to normal again. We went up to Monserrat took some pictures, and then we climbed up to the highest point we could, and since Mack and I were there the testosterone levels were high, so all the guys climbed to the top and we took out shirts off to be manly Haha. We then got back into Barcelona and walked to Emil´s house. On the way there some Drunken Irish guys came up to us, and asked us if we knew where their hotel was. Mack said, ´´Oh hey, we are going that way come with us.´´ That immediatley got the response, ´´What? Your not gonna mug us are you?´´ So we led them to their hotel laughing and joking the whole way (everyone loves the Irish). We then regrouped and went to a Mexican restaurant, and met up with Kayla Williamson (AFSer from Alaska who´s best friend´s brother´s roommate was Chip (my brother). SO YES CHIP YOUR LEGACY HAS OFFICIALLY REACHED THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD. We also met up with Arthur (AFSer from Florida who is really Brazilian). Anyway we all got some alcohol and we went down to the beach (of the Mediterranean). Since it was my first time there Mack, Arthur, and I went swimming. Mack and I were pretty happy that within one day we stood on top of a mountain and went swimming in the ocean....both shirtless. We then were walking home, and we run across another English speaking group, among them was a girl who said she has done AFS Thailand. So that was cool. Andrew and I got on the wrong bus to go home and ended up getting home and 7 in the morning so it was a 24 hour day for me. I loved hanging out with that group, It´s a little sad that they havn´t really learned the languages here but it was so much fun. It was hard saying goodbye even just after knowing them for a day. It was good for me though, to have people laugh at my English humor and being able to flirt without the other person getting upset, and without the culture barrier. I also learned some silly New Zealand terms too haha. So that was a lot of fun, but know it´s Monday and tomorrow reality starts again. However, I think after the week in Barcelona I have some better school school should be better, and this weekend I will be going snowboarding in Granada. So more AFS people!!!! Then maybe during Spring Break I will go up to Galicia and do some religious walk with a bunch of AFS people!!!! Which makes the price worth it to hang out with them. So until next time, I love you all. LOVE YOU MOM AND DAD.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Descent

So, here I am. I´m 16 years old in Spain. As of yesterday I have officially been here for 5 months, that means I´m on the count back down. Today I gor a box from my parents filled with all of the snacks I love, Kit-Kat, Pistachios, our secret recipe of home made chex-mix (I´m wondering if the other side of the Call family know this....) I got the box for Valentine´s day but I´m considering it a half-way mark gift. So I know I said, that I´m starting the count down.......that doesn´t mean I WANT TO GO HOME! just that at the moment I think I will be ready when the time comes. However, each day I´m here the less I feel like going home, at first It was horrible thinking I had 10 months to go, now I got 5 months to go.....I know how long that is, and I can handle it. But, I know that in a few months time I won´t want to leave. I started here with what I knew of the world, and of myself. Somewhere through the months all the foundations I had we slowly taken apart in some places then re-built upon. A few months ago I was hating life here, now it´s different. I can now voice my opinions and talk back to the philosophy teacher when he marks off points cause I didn´t put a margine on my paper (here they use plain white printing paper FOR EVERYTHING, so I´m not used to putting margines on my papers, because in the U.S. they are already there). I do consider myself fluent, I can understand Portugese and Italian well enough, and I can read French pretty good. I now know both Cordoba and Huelva like the back of my hand, Huelva a little bit more (like the back of my right hand). Sometimes when I´m in the city people ask me for directions, first time that happened, It was months ago, luckily I was standing right next to the store the guy wanted to find and I didn´t have to say anything. Now it´s different and I can give people directions almost anywhere. In 2 weeks some Germans will be coming down to Huelva for a week (and they speak better english than spanish) so that will be fun. Once they leave I will be headed to Barcelona for a week, then the following weekend after the Barcelona trip I will be going to Granada for a snowboarding trip. So I´m looking forward to the weeks that come. The other day I had my first salsa lesson (in P.E.) it least I was better than some of the spanish boys. I´m doing pretty well with my guitar, (I bought a guitar) I can play Your Beautiful by James Blunt (very easy) and I can play Angel by Jack Johnson, at the moment I´m working on Do You Remember, and Sitting, Waiting, Wishing by Jack Johnson, also I´m thinking about learning Somewhere Over the Rainbow, which would be fun to learn, since my uekalailey playing Texan friend can play it. So I will try to write again after the Barcelona trip, or if I forget after my snowboarding trip, but I will write again, so stay tuned, good night......and good luck.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Ok, so it´s been over month. Sorry about that. So during the holidays my family and I went to Cordoba for the entire 3 weeks. For Christmas Eve we had a big lunch (that´s the main meal here) with my host father´s brother´s family and it was all seafood, prawns, shrimp, crab legs, some stuff I don´t know how to say in English, and Spanish Champagne. Christmas was pretty much the same but with champagne from Southern Spain., but we did open presents in the morning (FROM MY REAL FAMILY) and then the day went on from there. The day after Christmas was exactly the same but with French Champagne. Then between there and New Year´s it was pretty normal, except for one night when we went to hang out with my host mom´s cousins (about 10 of them and their families). We hung out at someone´s house had some food, played trivial persuit and had some more champagne (I hope I´m spelling that word right). One of her cousin´s showed up late and greeted everyone. He got to me and said ´´I don´t remember you, but I know I´ve seen you.´´ The entire room exploded with laughter with everyone yelling ´´That´s impossible!´´ So that was pretty funny. On New Year´s Eve we had some more seafood, and stayed up till midnight, then the last 15 seconds of the year, the clocks start to go ding-dong, ding-dong for every second. When they get to 12 seconds you have to start eating grapes and finish them all before the new year (supposivley good luck), it was a little silly (some people even skinned their grapes and carved out the seeds to make it easier. I said that was part of the luck and just ate mine whole. Then on the 6th of January the Three Kings came and brought us presents, it was very different then what I was used to with Christmas but that´s why I´m here, for new experiences. So during the holidays I bought myself a guitar, started reading the Twilight series (man points just dropped), and went to see Avatar in 3D and normally (which I loved). I now understand everything, can think pretty fluently, and talk pretty fluently, (I even dream in Spanish sometimes). Now that my Spanish is better I realize the mistakes I made in the past. The first day here a girl asked me, if your from Spain your called a spaniard, if you are from chicago then what are you called? I responded with Nathan because I couldn´t understand a thing besides the last few words which were como se llama which is very close to what is your name? (como te llamas). I have made many others that I can´t think of at the moment, and one that was horrible but I would have to use some harsh profanity to transalate it, so I won´t do that. I will attempt to blog more often, sorry for the long waits, Happy New Year everybody.