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.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Posted by NathanTheOregonian at 3:21 AM
Monday, April 19, 2010
Well if you want to read my blog you will have to look at www.nathantheoregonian.vox.com 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.
Posted by NathanTheOregonian at 8:31 AM
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 friends....so 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.
Posted by NathanTheOregonian at 3:01 AM
Friday, February 5, 2010
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 was....fun.....at 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.
Posted by NathanTheOregonian at 7:33 AM
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.
Posted by NathanTheOregonian at 7:08 AM
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
So it´s December 15th, ya It has been awhile. Finally I have no more tests for a month, which means I will be more bored than usual. I have learned a lot in the last month. In the past month I have become able to understand everything people say, and if I say what, it is because I wasn´t paying attention or for some external variable other than I just don´t understand. I have learned that the things that bug me about my family are more or less brought on by the culture and I just have to get used to that. Last weekend was another AFS weekend. None of the girls could come so it was a man weekend......which I have not had since I left the US. Like we seriously talked about Lord of the Rings for 5 straight hours.....epic. Last weekend we had a picnic and a some AFS families came who have kids abroad or have hosted before. One family was a mother from Chicago, father from Spain, with a daughter in New York (with AFS), and an 11ish year old daughter who will study abroad later and is fluent in English and Spanish. The second family hosted and exchange student last year from Thailand (we talked (the parents and I) and turns out their exchange student acted EXACTLY the same has Now (my exchange student from Thailand I had last year). Anyway the father was a man who was born in California, raised in Austria (he calls himself Austrian) and when he speaks english has an American accent (which is very rare here since the majority of the teachers have british accents like my english teacher (who is spanish)). The mother was Austrian, but also knew English, and their daughters were 8 and 7. Their daughters are fluent in Spanish, German, and English. I thought that was cool that they were so young and knew so many languages. The parent said ya it will be useful for them when they are older but they don´t have a ´´mother language´´ I do and it´s just like a sanctuary for me when I can listen to english for awhile. I have also figured that you should never not go and talk to someone cause you don´t think you have something in common, because you do.....you both have the same language, culture, and grew up off of pokémon. I say the pokémon thing because that is global, the Germans know it, the Austrians know it, the Spanish know it, the Russians know it, the Danish know it, the Finnish know it, the Texans know it. Everyone knows it. Here is a thing I know from being a high school student, there are some people who can´t read very good, and some people who fail classes, Also this is for the one person who asked me, ´´Where is that?´´ When I said, ´´I´m going to Spain for a year.´´. ARE YOU KIDDING ME! You people need to do some thinking about yourselves and your future. Failing US school is like a tightrope walker who falls off the sidewalk. It shouldn´t happen. Im passing classes in a foreign language, I can read better in this foreign language, than some americans can reading english. Foreigners come to the US and get A´s in our classes when they can´t understand anything while our own english speakers gets C´s and D´s. On the contrary we are lucky school is so easy since our high school is pretty much only for making and maintaining a social life. Here you go home after school, eat lunch and study till about 9 o´clock at night. Oh and learn another language people! Almost everyone in Spain understands english, they won´t speak it to save their lives but they understand it. Ane people from other countries know english, for example I rode the bus home from Sevilla next to a Belgian girl...she knew English. Just some thoughts for you all to think about. Next Tuesday officially starts Christmas vacation, and knowing the Spanish there will be some fun times headed my way, so unless I find something incredibly interesting to write Feliz Navidad, and Happy New Year.
Posted by NathanTheOregonian at 7:28 AM
Monday, November 16, 2009
So the past 3 week have been pretty good. 3 weekends ago I went to Cordoba for the weekend, and walked around Cordoba alot on my own, which was good for me just to get a break from my host family and to do some thinking. I stayed out till it got dark to see the Mosque and the city at night, which was pretty fun. I also happened to see another little ´´parade´´ which they do carrying like a float, of a saint, from the church to somewhere else and back. This one was way bigger than the one I saw in Sevilla. That following week of school was incredibly easy since 2 of my teachers were in Germany so I didn´t have their classes, that monday was a holiday because of halloween, and we went to the movies instead of going to school on one of the days. Here they don´t celebrate halloween like we do, here it is just an excuse to dress up and drink, (however I was in Cordoba so I didn´t get to do that) and the movie i watched was Agora which is not in the U.S., that I know of but, it´s about a Philosopher in Alexandria, when the Christians desrtoy the Library of Alexandria. 2 weekends ago I went out with my friends friday night, we went out to a bar for dinner, and one of my friends yelled at some lady, ´´Hey we´re missing 2 sandwhiches.´´ Her response, ´´I´m not a waitress.´´ That was hilarious, we then went to Botellon which we always do, this is an interesting thing, It is a site in the city where practically all the teenagers go to drink till about 4 in the morning. I´m responsible, and I am not allowed to get drunk so I have been careful, but every Friday everyone is there, and the police block of the street so cars can´t drive through, and the police just like supervise even though the majority of people are under age and drinking. The next morning I went to Portugal and saw a castle, the food there was amazing! but the accent was really hard for me to understand...but i could understand it. Then that Saturday night I went to a discoteca which is where teenagers go to dance, and It was really fun, I went with some friends from my soccer team, and afterwards we went to eat turkish food at 3 in the morning, I got home at about 4 in the morning.....(not a problem). Last weekend was the GREATEST. We had an optional orientation in Granada. So Friday night I went to Cordoba with my family, and I got up Saturday morning has churros for breakfast with my host father, then I left at about 10 in the morning for Granada (alone) by bus. The funny thing was there were 10 Americans on that bus, me and 9 college kids who were studying in Madrid. Sadly they were Californian and one of them was our lovely stereo-type, ´´OMG you did not hook up with him! EWW!!! he was like so gross!´´ good thing I had my Ipod to drown that out for 3 hours. On the way to Granada I passed 4 towns and 3 of them had castles (don´t get to see that in the U.S.). I got to Granada and met up with Chris and Lisa in the bus station, we then waited for Petra, Philipp, Birita, and our AFS volunteer Stephanie (who is American and has been living in spain for 12 years). We got everyone together, gave oue kisses on the cheeks and went to the hostel. That night we walked around Granada, but since the AFS volunteer from Granada got suddenly sick, (he has holes in his lungs so every once in awhile he can´t breath.....) our guide was a tourist map and ´´MAN SENSE.´´ That night we walked for at least 45 straight minutes to get to the top of this hill that gave us a view of the sunsetting over the city to the right, and to the left was the Alhombra (a Fotress/Palace) sitting in front of the mountians, It was beautiful. We stayed there for hours, hanging out, taking pictures, (sadly I left my camara in the hostel) eating roasted chestnuts, and listening to the gypsies play music. After awhile we met Yitka (I have no idea how to spell her name but it sounds like that.) another AFS volunteer who is Chzeck (if thats how you spell it haha) and we went to go watch a flamenco dance. The theater had glass walls behind the dancers so we could see the lit up Alhombra in the background. (That is a good thing about living in Huelva, every city looks amazing compared to it, especially Granada, which is the prettiest city I have ever seen and i can´t wait to go back.) We got back to the hostel at 2 in the morning, but Chris, Philipp, and I stayed up. We watched as another group in the hostel would all be out in the hallway and when their supervisor came out to yell at them they would scurry back in to their rooms right as he opened the door, so he didn´t see anyone, and as soon as his door closed they all came back out....it was hilarious. at 5 in the morning we decided to go to bed. While laying in bed we talked some more (and about the really hot spanish girls we saw earlier but failed to find). At about 5:20 we heard some people outside are room, so I said, rather loudly, ´´Hotties come in here!´´ The voice outside said, ´´Come to the hallway please.´´ (in Spanish), and I thought OH NO we are in trouble. Turned out to be some rather drunk 19ish year olds who were just getting in, and their room was right next to ours. We talked awhile but they had to catch a plane with in the hour so they left (not before offering us a bottle of vodka......we didn´t take it.....Europe.....). The next day we went to a Picnic and 3 of the host families came, The best quote was ´´Chris, I think the U.S. has the best food.´´ Philipp, ´´What did you say!? No Austria has the best food!´´ ´´You ever been to the U.S.?´´ ´´You ever been to Austria.....?´´ So that was funny. We also learned that in Faroese they say somethings while breathing in.....which we agreed was the only language we knew of that did that. (that was the funniest thing of the entire weekend trying to talk like that, and with Chris saying Scooby-dooby-doo and me laughing while breathing in) Unless you count when I asked, ´´How do you say I want a beer in faroese.´´ and Birita misunderstood and told me how to say ´´I want to be here.´´ She thought it was hilarious imagining me saying that in a bar. (I now know how to say I want a beer in Spanish, French, German, Danish, English and Faroese. How to say, ´´Do you speak english, do you speak spanish (in spanish) do you speak german (in german) do you speak danish (in danish) do you speak french (in french) do you speak chzeck (in chzeck) and do you speak faroese (in faroese) after awhile we headed home, Birita and I went with Stephanie in her car back to Sevilla, where she took the train and my host parents picked me up on their way back from Cordoba. During the trip we stopped at a gas station, I asked, ´´where are the bathrooms?´´ to the guy working there, he said, ´´gentleman over there ladies over there,´´ (and handed Birita a key to the bathroom) I asked, ´´do i need a key?´´ He responded, ´´No, está open.´´ He said something in english to me.......even though the entire time i was speaking spanish. That is the second time that has happened to me, the other was in burger king when the cashier asked If my order was ´´for here or to go´´ (in english, though I was speaking spanish). This is because, I don´t really look spanish, and I have an accent therefore there is no way Im spanish. Just a bit interesting. Today I had school after getting 2 hours of sleep Saturday night, It was hard, and I realized that real life sucks and the AFS weekends are way better (and every AFS kid agrees with me haha). One odd thing about Granada was that now that our Spanish is better, we talked in English the entire weekend, I probably said 5 sentences in Spanish to my friends. Right now Philipp from Austria is my best friend in Spain, and I´m petty sure that he will remain a great friend when all of this is over. Chris, Philipp, and I talked so much that weekend about everything from hooking up in the U.S. compared to Austria, and how to survive a zombie apocolypse. All in all our group is the perfect balance, Philipp and I have a lot in common and Chris.......Chris is a character, I can´t describe him just because he is so different (weird and very random) but it works. We talked about how many different ways there are to say have sex in english (we got 9) (and 3 for hooking up). The truth is there is so much I want to say to express how it feels hanging out with all these people from around the world, but the only way to know is for you to do the same. At this point in my life I don´t know if I will learn any more languages, but it seems wrong not too when I´m friends with Philipp for examle and he speaks English though I don´t speak German. But for now, I just have to survive school, keep working on my spanish till I can chime in when i want in groups, and just wait till the next wonderful AFS weekend (only one more month!).
Posted by NathanTheOregonian at 11:27 AM
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Ok so...this past weekend I had an orientation for AFS in Sevilla. I got there Friday night and met up with Hillary Miranda (living in a town called La Victoria outside of Cordoba and she is from Florida), Maha Sounbel (living in Badajoz and is only here for 3 months and is Austrian), Petra Krizco (living near Malaga and is from Austria), Lisa Unger (who i forgot where she lives but is she is from Germany), Phillip Pfleger (living near Malaga and is from Austria), Christopher Orr (living near Granada and is from Texas), Helmi Liikenen (lives somewhere in North Africa and is from Finland), and last but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST, Birita Poulsen (a.k.a muy guapa) (living near Cadíz and lives in the Faroe Islands (which is a part of Denmark though they have a different language and there are only 80,000 people living in the islands)). The first night we spoke almost entirely in Spanish we went for a walk into Sevilla and saw an amazing church. (During this im going to put randomly in hilarious quotes when they are in my mind...almost all of them by Chris Orr. During that night Chris sat on a bench and tried to say ´´I like sitting´´ in Spanish (me gusta sentantando) but instead said ´´me gusta sientiendo´´ (I like feeling) and another one was ´´¿tiene un movíl?´´ (do you have a cellphone?)...´´no, no tengo un novio´´ (no i dont have a boyfriend). We stayed up till about 3 that morning just talking and hanging out....the next day (Saturday) we talked in Spanglish and Danglish (german and english mix) and we did typical AFS activities and we talked about problems. That night we went out to dinner at a local bar and we stayed there for maybe 2 hours and just talked. Some interesting things we learned Saturday night was that everyone in the world had Pokémon (and still likes it) that we all love disney movies and know them all by heart......everyone know the song you dance the waltz to. Everyone knows the song head, shoulders, knees, and toes, knees, and toes (in english cause thats helps them learn english). I learned that only my family calls our dog dog-face occasionally. That conversation was over the table.....´´Hillary! do you ever call your dog dog-face?´´ ´´Do I ever call my dog what!´´ ´´you know like dog-face....like come here dog-face or hey dog-face.´´ ´´No! why would you ever call your dog dog-face?´´ ´´you know just like a nickname´´ ´´no thats ridiculous´´ ´´hmmm hey chris...´´ (turns out only my family) so that was hilarious. Everyone can speak english to some extent...which makes it very sad that the large majority of americans go through life without ever learning 5 sentences in another language....the truth is we should all be at least bilingual if not more. Everyone there could speak their own language, spanish, english (some fluent, others good enough to say what the need to say and have a conversation) We stayed up till 5 in the morning then forgot to change our clocks so we got up and raced to breakfast cause it was about to close (but actually it was just opening). Today we just hung out and talked more...there are only 9 kids in Andalucia which I think is great because it prevents us from forming cliques and splitting into our separate groups. It was amazing how all of us around the age of 16 could communicate in a language that only a few years ago none of us had known. It was so much fun....especially all the Spanglish like ´´so ahora´´ ´´mi also´´ and just talking in spanish and when we got into a rough spot we would just switch to english for a few sentences. The whole time there would always be one person talking in Spanish talking with a person speaking English (normally the americans always in spanish and the others in spanglish). I can´t even describe to you how much fun it is when we all know the same things such as Pokémon or when somehow someone starts up head, shoulders, knees, and toes, or the song we dance the waltz to, or the super mario theme.....and everyone starts singing it....or what it´s like to sing time after time with a girl from the faroe islands who sings better in english then I could ever dream of. Or how we all know the same you tube videos such as matrix ping pong, or that guy who sings both parts of a whole new world and its incredible even though we live on other sides of the world. Or just simply talking in a language that if foreign to the both of us yet still we are communicating out thoughts and feelings and getting to know each other. It´s amazing how the world fits together....and i cant wait till we have our next orientation.
Posted by NathanTheOregonian at 12:09 PM
Saturday, October 17, 2009
It´s the 17th already! October is almost over! I don´t have any interesting stories to tell yet, but im sure they are on their way. So in school we now have a regular schedule...and apparently my technology teacher had a heart attack or something so he has not been at school, so that means the hour is ours so we usually play cards. There are no sports with the schools here, which means im not used to doing this little excersise. Back in the states every morning my friends and I would walk laps saying hi to people and what not, and at least that was something, here it is go to your classroom and sit there till recreation. One thing thats different is that there are all age groups at the school, but only ´´Juniors and Seniors´´ on the third floor (there is three floors at the school). We don´t have any assemblies or any school related functions. However they do have trips with the school here, there will be one to Barcelona for I think a week in February and one to Lisbon, Portugal. However I´m not sure if im going on the Portugal trip because it might just be for the biology kids (but I´m going to fight for it). The first week in October I was sick and missed 2 days of school, and on one of those days they gave out information to go to Germany for a week...but I wasn´t there for the information, and it´s now too late to do anything about...which is a bummer. In my English class my teacher asked me why we capitalize the letter I when we use it, I had no idea. English class is easy, obviously but the teacher talks very slowly and it kind of drives me crazy. Speaking of driving me crazy, my host brother, oh man, I don´t even know what to say......he never stops talking, and is always hanging all over me....driving me crazy! I´m also twice his size (actually more than twice his size...and he is 13) so I´m holding back the urge to hold im down and poke his chest till he says Soy un mujer. (My family knows what I´m talking about.) Know I can understand and respond to something if I know the subject of what they are talking about....and now I know enough Spanish that if I don´t know I word they can explain it to me in Spanish and I can understand. I now know the word dude in Huelvan (iyo) and they use it exactly the same way we do and just as often jaja. Here everything has fallen into place....every night we watch el hormiguero (the anthill) and after words I usually go to bed unless flashforward is on, almost everynight the garbage-man wakes me up (he has a loud truck) and every morning the church bells wake me up about 5 minutes before 7....and every Friday I go out with friends. Next weekend I´m going to Sevilla for an AFS orientation for all the kids in Andalucia (which is not that many) but it will be fun, and I will blog about the experience. So hasta luego. (and I know my spelling isn´t very good...but thats what happens when you text...are learning a different language....and learning a different language in a different language.)
Posted by NathanTheOregonian at 2:49 AM
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Today........was amazing. I don´t know what happened but I woke up today and I could understand practically everything people were saying when they talked at normal speed. (Dont get me wrong i still have a lot to learn). Today a teacher made me read a page out of one of our text books....It wasn´t impressive, but it was good for me and it was good for me to make everyone laugh when i said 1917 in english and when I had to read 13000 years ago (in spanish) I said many years ago (in spansih). Here when the teachers get sick or cant come to school for some reason there are no substitutes and nobody covers for them, we just get the hour to ourselves. Today i invited myself to hang out with some people this weekend (which im not sure what will happen since I dont know my house phone number and i have not boughten a cell phone yet). Right now in Huelva there are 5 Irish girls who are here with their teacher for a school trip for the week. Today they were at my school and I got to talk in english with teenagers. They said at first they thought I was a Spaniard trying to put on an American accent haha. So that was really cool, and there were these 2 teachers at my school who are from the U.S. (Philly and Virginia) and a spanish teacher said does anyone have any questions...in english....of course, (in spanish). I asked where are you from, and the 2 American women had a priceless look on their face and one said, That accent! Where are you from! so that was pretty cool. All in all today people got to listen to me attempt to read in Spanish (jajajaja (thats how you laugh in spanish)) and listened to me talk in english which was great for me. At this point it pretty much feels like home. Hasta luego.
P.S. if you have not checked out the other blog recently there is a link to a video you have to watch (the blog is the same url as this one but with .vox instead of .blogspot)
Posted by NathanTheOregonian at 7:55 AM
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
So I feel like I have pretty muched settled in. I wake up....eat.....go to school......eat......do homework........sleep......do something (soccer 3 nights a week)........eat.....sleep and do it again. School isn´t too hard, math and technology are mainly numbers so thats easy, chemistry i already know, english too, P.E.is once a week and I can just watch and learn, 1 class is either our hour or there is no teacher (Im not sure which), Philosophy is a fun class, its hard for me to understand but the teacher is awesome and I can understand enough to know that if I could understand it all I would love it, but spanish literature and french class are very draining on me since I have to concentrate as hard as I can just to figure out the general idea of what they are talking about (probably gonna fail literature). Soccer is pretty fun since they pretty much are playing just for fun, but they are all really good (if they were organised and disciplined they could prolly beat Bend High). Some fun facts for Mrs. Brown are they do say perrito caliente for hot dog, and they say bacon. I have yet to see an American Tortilla (a tortilla here is eggs and potatoes). Today at school I asked Jon (whose mother is English) if he could transalate the spanish swear words so I could understand (problem was he translated them into British english). The main things that I miss are that there will be no snow, there is almost no grass here, LaCrosse, snowboarding, and the food. Everyday for breakfast I usually have toast with chocolate milk......no eggs, no cinnamon rolls, no french toast, no bacon. Oh and I have definitley forgotten the taste of real milk, an American hamburger, and burritos. I have tried a lot of new things here like eggplant, garbanzo beans, and some other thing they use to make a delicious soup (and im pretty sure cow tongue). However they always eat bread with their meals and I always have a peach for dessert after lunch. (Desserts here are usually fruit). Last weekend we went to Cordoba and I saw the mosque (which I will go inside of later this year) It was very impressive, and Cordoba is the typical stereo type of a Spanish city, all the houses were white and there were cobblestone streets that I could stretch my arms out and touch the walls of the houses alongside the street. (i will try and put pictures up later). I met the family of my host father and I like the uncle he naturally speaks slowly and he is very patient. In Cordoba we played darts at a bar (me, Antonio, and...uncle) and I accidently knocked an ashtray off a table. (first time in a bar and I didn´t have anything to drink.....and I broke something.) We also went go-kart racing......and started in 4th and made my way to 1st however I got cocky trying to lap someone and spun out (putting me in 3rd). It is very weird now hearing english.....it is definitley engraved into my mind. Well i can´t think of anything more to right so until next time.
Posted by NathanTheOregonian at 9:17 AM
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Well I have been in Spain for 10 and a half days. I was pretty homesick the first week but yesterday I kind of had an epiphany. I didn´t like all the differences at first because it took my so far out of my comfort zone. Now I accept that there are differences in everything and thats the real reason why I wanted to be an exchange student. Yesterday I had a legit conversation in Spanish with my host father (like I actually understood so fast I interuppted him a few times). However usually I just say ´´sí, no, and como´´. I can have a conversation if we I am talking one on one with someone but usually im in a group and im trying to talk to someone while some other people are having their own conversation and then I can only say yes or no. At this point im pretty used to hearing the language so I don´t get language exaughstion as intense as the first few days. Today was my first day of school, but, all they did was put us in what I think was homerooms but im not sure, and they called role, and I think explained the rules of the school and the schedule of the day. Im not completely sure since the teacher was talking faster than my understanding pace and it was a classroom full of teenagers so of course the teacher was not the only one talking. The only thing I understood was don´t use your cell phone and no smoking in the school. That all took about an hour and then I just hung out with some peope in Huelva and we went to a hamburger stand (it was kind of a hamburger version of the taco stand in Bend....so yeah it was delicious). A lot of thing are different here for example, there is a city, the beach is a few miles away, there is trash everywhere, the streets are smaller, the license plates are different, they don´t shower with the water running, it´s hot, school starts at 9:30, and ends at 3:30, they eat a light breakfast, the main meal is around 2, and dinner is light and around 10:30. All the soccer fields here are either turf or concrete, the milk is powdered, there is practically no rules of the road, all the trees are different, the beaches are clothing optional (oh and I have not seen one speedo), In the U.S. we think that all the kids here (in Europe) drink some sort of alcohol with their meals, but in this part of Spain they don´t, I asked my host family why and they said we don´t in Spain (but some of the other exchange students here said they do in their families) they then said we thought that since your American you would drink a lot of soda but all you want is water. So that was interesting. Well thats all i can think of to say, oh and I have my first soccer practice or game or something tonight, and everyone here is way better than I am. Bring it on.
Posted by NathanTheOregonian at 7:10 AM
Monday, September 7, 2009
So im in Spain.........FINALLY! I left my Bend at 4:00 on the 1st and stayed in Portland for the night. On the 2nd I left Portland and flew to New York at 6:30 in the morning (the flight was 6 hours). I arrived in New York around 3 and met up with the other AFS kids. We ended up in a hotel where we were not allowed to leave. On the way to the hotel I was looking out the window of the bus and I thought it was weird that there were so many New York license plates. (Till i realized I was in New York). There were about 100 exchange students headed to France, Spain, Russia, Austria, and South Africa. We stayed overnight at the hotel and left on the 3rd for Zurich, Swizerland at 8:30 at night. The flight was 8 hours and none of us slept. We got to Zurich and transferred flights, since we were all American, we were loud, and everyone in the airport staired at us. I don´t remember when we left for Madrid (sometime on the 4th). Once in Madrid we stayed in a hostal which is like a smaller version of dorm rooms with more people. In the hostal were about 70 exchange students from all over the world, so yeah it was pretty awesome. On the 5th we all split up on buses. Most of the kids headed to the north of Spain which is Basque country, (HAHAHAHA! suckers, Basque is one of the hardest languages to learn). A smaller group went on a bus to the south of Spain and some people went on planes. The rest of us who were staying in Madrid waited for our families to pick us up. I´m living about 6 hours away from Madrid. However since my family is awesome they left at 4:00 in the morning to pick me up. I got to my house at about 9:00 at night. My family is very patient with my idiotness. I can´t understand very much but they are very happy to help me. At this point they know the extent of my Spanish so they know what word to use and what not to use yet. Its a little overwhelming but I am picking up the language faster than I thought. (Mrs. Brown must be a good teacher). The weather here is very hot I can´t wait till winter. While I am typing this im having some of the Spanish words randomly popping into my head. It´s overwhelming, until next time. And some few last thoughts, I got to sit in an NYPD police cruiser and the cops had the intense New York accents. Un abrazo a todos.
Posted by NathanTheOregonian at 10:15 AM
Thursday, August 27, 2009
7 days ago
Got back from Yosemite National Park in California, It was pretty amazing. Definitley one of the places everyone should see before they die. I have 12 days left, so that means I am getting incredibly excited and I have been hanging with friends almost everyday since I have been back from Yosemite. I have been talking on Facebook to some other kids around the world who are going to Spain next year. I will be flying from Portland to New York with a few of them and then from New York to Switzerland to Madrid with more. All the exchange students going to Spain will meet in Madrid on the 4th of September. Through out the year next year there will be two weekend retreats. The first will be with about half of the exchange students going to Spain (with the other half having another weekend retreat somewhere else in Spain). Then about half way through the year we will all meet up again for a weekend. I have not thought about packing yet.....but hey I got 12 days.
Aug 4, 2009
So a week ago i turned 16 and got my driver's license, yesterday i got my visa, and i got my itinerary. On September 2nd I fly non stop from Portland to New York, then on the 3rd I fly from New York to Zurich, Switzerland, then later that day i fly to Madrid, and then after that im not really sure what happens, Im sure it will be fun. But for now im just enjoying the summer and getting ready to go to Yosemite for a week. I will probably put up another post before I leave.
I'm not sure what to title this
Jul 21, 2009
I just got back from a trip to San Francisco. I had to go to San Francisco to meet with the Spanish Consulate to get my visa. It was an interesting experience, I had to get "buzzed" through all these security doors. Once i got to the back i had to give my paperwork to this lady. She asked my how much i was paying for the trip, and how much the host family got. I told her the host family didn't get any money to have me stay with them. She couldn't beleive that and asked, "Then why would they host you?" I responded, "For the experience." All i got in return was one of those looks like i had something growing out of my head. It probably won't forget that. I also received my classes about a 2 weeks ago. One of them is French so that means i will be learning French in Spanish......that should be fun. I also wanted to say thank you for those of you who contributed to my trip. It takes a lot of my mind. Thanks. Hope your all having a good summer.
mistake # 1
Jun 2, 2009
I have been emailing my host family and I officially made my first Spanish speaking mistake. Letters in Spanish are usually ended by the word un abrazo which transalates to a hug but the other day i accidently said un abrigo which transalates to a coat. My mom (my real mom) thought that was hilarious so i can only imagine how hard my host family was laughing. Im sure there are many more to come, bring it on.
AFS Pre-Departure Orientation
May 5, 2009
About a week after I got my host family, I had to go to a Pre-Departure orientations. My mom and I drove up to Eugene were we had a 5ish hour meeting about going abroad. It was a lot of the same stuff we had already been through (I think it's more for the parents so they don't worry as much). However we did break into groups and the leader of my group was the greatest. His name was Gene and he went to Belgium in 1965. He told us story after story of what it was like for him. He said that when he went to Belgium they crossed the Atlantic Ocean on a 10 day trip in a boat carrying thousands of exchange students, that were returning or going abroad. To me that story was incredible because of that experience within itself. ( I just thought I would share that, Gene was a cool guy.)
Tengo mi familia!
May 5, 2009
I got my host family a few weeks ago, which I was incredibly excited about. This also means I know where I'm going. Next year I will be living near the city of Huelva, with the Castro-Serranos. I will live in a small town (or suburb, we have not decided yet) close to Huelva called Aljaraque, which I can't figure out how to pronounce. Anyway it's in the south of Spain (and everyone says "your so lucky") I don't know why, I have not been there yet. My host father is Antonio and he is a doctor of some sort. My mother Toni, and she is a stay at home mom, my sister is Ana (who probably won't be there because she is trying to come to the U.S. as an exchange student), and my little brother Javier will be 13 when I arrive. The school is within walking distance of our house and the beach is a 20 min drive away. Apparently people in southern Spain have a heavy acsent when they talk, so that will be a little confusing at first, and they also don't say the "s" at the end of words. so buenos tardes (good afternoon) would be said as buen tard (that is not the kind of Spanish I learned in school). I am so excited to go and I cannot wait for September to come around so I can begin this life changing experience.
Mar 8, 2009
It's March 8th, 2009 and I just got back from an AFS orientation. What we did was drive for 3 hours to a place called sky camp were there was a lodge and a bunch of cabins. At the camp we got assigned to our cabins and in each cabin there were about 10 kids all in bunk beds. There were about 50 foreign exchange students from all over the world, about 20 AFS volunteers, about 20 host siblings, about 10 Americans going abroad, and a bunch of host parents. We got into groups and did some learning activities, for me (since I'm going abroad) they just helped get us more prepared to leave. After we had dinner we had a talent show, and my shy exchange student did a Thai dance with some other Thai kids. We had a dance afterwords and then a movie. We all got to bed at about 3 in the morning. It was incredible. I can't wait to do it all again in Spain.
A great time?
Feb 11, 2009
I'm not sure if I have mentioned this earlier but I'm hosting an exchange student from Thailand named Now. Here in Bend, Oregon it is very common for people to go up to Mt. Bachelor (which is about 30 minutes away) and ski or snowboard. We went up today after school with some friends. I love snowboarding but today was a bad day. First my friend got in a car crash last night, we kept getting stuck in the snow (when it snows a lot and you fall you get stuck in about a foot of snow). My friend broke his ski pole, Now (the exchange student) broke his collar bone, and on our way to pick him up the car slid on the ice and got banged up pretty bad. Except for that, it was a good day.
Feb 3, 2009
It's the beginning of February 09 and my exchange student application is being reviewed by Spain. Hopefully they accept my application and so I can soon be waiting again. The next time will be waiting for a host family to pick me. After that it is just a matter of getting ready.
Nathan - Monday, October 27, 2008 5:37:51 PM
Oct 27, 2008
Hi, I'm Nathan and I am planning to go to Spain next year on the year long summer-departure trip. I am hosting an exchange student (from Thailand) this year and I can't wait to go to Spain and create my own adventure. I hope that I will make connections that will be life long with the people I meet on my trip. I have chosen to study abroad during high school because I won't have the same opportunity to stay with a host family when I'm older. I know this is a hard decision and I'm glad that my friends and family are supporting my decision. And a thank you to my sponsor for helping to pay for part of my trip!
Posted by NathanTheOregonian at 12:23 PM