Food!!! And The Gym!!!

Food is one of my favourite things. And definitely one of the things I was most looking forward to about spending a year in Spain. Churros, paella, jamón and so much more. I have definitely not been disappointed, to the point where I’ve had to join a gym, because despite being told before the program that we would all gain weight, none of us realised JUST how much we’d put on.

Staying fit is definitely about balancing and knowing the difference between hungry and bored or emotional. And that’s for everyone, not just exchange students. But joining a gym helps so much in my opinion, find something there that is fun to you, join a gym that offers classes like yoga or boxing or spin classes, anything, it will be so much easier to get up and go to the gym if you’re going to do something fun. Most people are probably going to read this and say, ‘yeah, I’d go to the gym, but being judged by all those fit attractive people does not appeal to me‘ If being judged is your concern, don’t worry, everyone is at the gym to get fit! No matter how big you are, or if you’re a girl in the weights section or a guy in the yoga class, don’t worry! When I see big people at the gym, the first thing that comes to my mind is ‘They’re doing something about it, good on ’em!!! Girls in the weights, ‘Go girl! Toning up and standing up for feminism a little bit too.’  Guys in yoga I just admire, along with everyone else in yoga to, because I fail tremendously at yoga, pilates and the like.

The types of foods you’re eating is big to, and how much. I’m human, and humans of this generation tend to get bored and to resolve that, we eat. This is not good!!! I am trying to work on this by, if I’m bored, I’ll go buy a packet of sunflower seeds and teach myself how to eat them properly. Now it’s an addiction, but it kills boredom!!! And the work:reward ratio is very much in favor of work. The middle part you can actually eat is pretty small, but the time it takes you to learn and master opening the shell bit in your mouth is quite a bit for most people. Eating too much is also a big problem for me. You know when you have a delicious meal and there is more there so you go back for seconds? Don’t!!! You’ve got to ask yourself if you NEED it, are you still hungry or do you just want it because it was good and there’s more??? If the latter is true, don’t eat it. And if you are still feeling a bit hungry eat fruit or vegetables, because those are always good.

Long story short, food is good but GET FIT NOT FAT!!! Control what you eat, when you eat and what you do to balance it out.

Home

home
həʊm/
noun
1.
the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of a family or household.
“the floods forced many people to flee their homes”
synonyms: place of residence, accommodation, property, a roof over one’s head; quarters, lodgings, rooms; address, location, place; informalpad; informaldigs; formalresidence, domicile, abode, dwelling, dwelling place, habitation
“the floods forced people to flee their homes”

The places I have called home have been tested recently. Leaving my Australian home for one across the sea being the first, and maybe the biggest. People have called me brave for wanting to spend a year in another country, but I think my parents are the brave ones. Every parent has to let their children move out and experience new things by themselves at some point, but for most parents, their children are considered legal adults, and they’re not going to live on the other side side of the world. So, thanks Mum and Dad, for being brave enough to give me up for a year and let me come back to you a better person with stories to tell.
The second test of the place I called home was just recently, the relationships I’d had with my host family fell apart. For reasons, not all of them my fault, my host mother felt that our original 12 month program was not going to work. At first we thought cutting my stay with them to six months would be better, and to my knowledge it was, but in the end I moved to a new host family after three months with my original family.
I am much happier in the new family, where I have two younger sisters, 5 and 7. I’ve been with them about a month and I feel like I’ve learnt more Spanish in that time than the first three months of my program. I also have better relationships with all the family members. Not that my relationships with the other host family were bad. This new family all know a bit of english so communication is a lot easier with both sides working at learning the others language.
Thank you to my original host family for giving me a chance and helping me realise what I need to fix.
Thank you to my new host family for taking me in on such short notice and sharing your adventures with me.

Madrid and Valencia -Day 3

And alarm was set for ten to eight in the morning. It was ignored and I personally got up at 8:30 but the other were still half asleep. They knew I got up, but didn’t realize I left for my room. They ended up waiting outside the bathroom for twenty minutes thinking I was in there, apparently the even asked if I was dead.
That morning we just spent on the beach, a primary school friend of an Aussie girl is on a Valencian soccer/football team, so they had a catch up, and he showed us a bit of the Valencian beach.
We then got on a five-hour bus ride back to Madrid where four of us were squished straight into a taxi for the other three to be dropped off at the train station and me at the airport, 2 or 3 hours before my flight.
I did a bit of shopping in the Duty Free of Barajas Madrid Airport, so, MAC foundation and concealer, headphones, chocolate and Starbucks later, I headed back to my Spanish home.

Madrid and Valencia -Day 2

DAY 2
The next morning we were all a bit tired, but we met up with the other 30 exchange students and spent a three-hour bus ride to Valencia together, we did a cool science and art museum type thing and a Seaworld style park, where we saw the dolphin show.
We were in a big square in what I’m going to call the centre of Valencia but probably wasn’t. We got about an hour and a half to split into groups and get dinner. My group took sooo long to find somewhere to eat that we had about twenty minutes to eat.
We got back to the hotel later and me, as well as the two girls I was sharing a room with, went upstairs to a room of some of our new friends. We hung out with them for a few hours, with Eurovision on in the back ground. (Well done to the Bearded Lady who won.) We got back to our room at about 1:30 am. I maybe had a shower, because I can’t sleep if I don’t shower.
But… by the time I got out, the other two girls were asleep. And that is all well and good, but they both snore. Snoring drives me nuts, I definitely cannot sleep if someone is snoring. And they both were! Lovely girls, just so exhausted. The group of exchange students were being a little loud next door, so I knocked on their door, just to tell them to keep it down a bit or they’d get in trouble. That was after I knocked about five separate times, before they answered the door. There were extra people in the room. So after hiding the extras in the bathroom, they finally opened the door. Not that their volume mattered to me, because I couldn’t hear too much over the snores. Once back in my own room, the girls were basically dead to the world, so I opened to window, and just sort of, watched the streets below. People watching and the like, but still being within hearing range of the snoring was a bit annoying, so eventually I escaped to the hallway.
After a while out in the hallway, the extras of the next door came back, they’d forgotten their phones or something, to after relating my snoring story I was invited next door. I ended up sleeping in that room, with a German and two Danes. They were lovely and the extras were coming and going a fair bit before we fell asleep, at 4:30, always forgetting phones and charges.

Madrid and Valencia -Day 1

I had the amazing opportunity a few weekends ago, to travel to Madrid and Valencia, with a whole bunch of other exchange students. And I can honestly say it was one of the best weekends I’ve been a part of. And I also got to share it with a whole lot of cool people too.
The first night, six of us stayed in a hotel in Madrid, the six of us were the students living outside the province of Madrid. We had a lovely day just walking around Madrid seeing touristy things. We went back to the hotel and the four girls (three Australians and one New Zealander) who were sharing a room, got all pretty and stuff, and we took a whole heap of photos to. They even made me pretty. We met the two boys (a NZer and a Belgian) and a coordinator of the exchange organisation. We went out and found a general area we wanted to eat in and the coordinator left us, so we had some food, and tried Spanish sangria. It wasn’t bad but I wouldn’t pick it for myself. (Yes, I realize I’m not really old enough to drink alcohol, but I honestly had half a glass, sue me)
Then we headed back to the hotel with a stop over for the others to go to a club quickly. Because they were offered free drinks (all the others were 17 or 18)
On the way back to the hotel they were plotting how to get more alcohol, there was also a plan to head to an Irish pub, because they had a ‘drink four pints and get a t-shirt’ deal, but in the end they figured there was more risk than reward. We did hangout on our first floor balcony, right above the hotel entrance, with all the blankets and pillows from our room pulled out there too, until about 2 in the morning.

Driving

Now, I don’t know about you, but adjusting to looking the other way when crossing the road, and going to the other side of the car to drive. Is kind of annoying. Which leads me to believe that the entire world driving on the same side of the road would be a great idea. Alas, the Australian population drive on the left-hand side of the road. Before coming to Spain, I was under the impression Spain, as a part of Europe, drove on the left-hand side too. I was wrong. Spain, and the rest of Europe, aside from the UK, drive on the right hand side of the road. So I now have to look the other way, when crossing the road. Which has led to quite a lot of arm grabbing in caution. It only took about a week to get my brain to make the swap of looking to my left instead of my right. Although it probably would have taken a bit longer, if I had not spent all of last November, in America.
So, when travelling to other countries, please be careful about what side of the road you need to be looking first.

Bye!!!
xx

Beaches

Summer is a lovely time of the year. Tans, shorts, beaches and all that stuff. Australia being in the southern hemisphere and Spain being in the northern hemisphere, the seasons are switched, so while it is Spring here, Aussies, depending on what part of Australia they’re in, are pulling jeans and coats out for the cold winter approaching.
Being a winter baby in Australia, I am very much looking forward to spending my birthday day potentially tanning on a beach. But something I have realized about Spanish beaches and summer, is that I am pale. Now, in Australia I am quite often told I’m soooo tan, but coming to Spain, and hanging out on the beach with Spaniards, I have been called pale, multiple times. And it’s odd. In Oz I was always kinda proud of naturally being a bit tanner than most other people. So in the Spring heat, I have been at the beach a fair bit, and I think I’m starting to rival some of my friends.
Another thing about Spanish beaches. It’s totally fine for women to hang out at beaches without their tops. This was kind of shocking to me at first, I thought ‘Ummm… I don’t really want to be seeing that.’ Now it’s more like, ‘Yeah, whatever. Just don’t do it in Oz or you’ll probably get arrested.’
So, even the beaches are kind of different, more people are playing games and stuff, as well as tanning. Bring on summer.

Bye!!!
xx

Holidays

Happy Father’s Day!!!
Happy Easter!!!
Happy Mother’s Day!!!
Happy Every Holiday that has passed this year!!!

I hope your holidays were lovely. Mine were, although different to what I’m used to.
Father’s day and Mother’s day. Instead of buying gifts and things for parents. My Instagram feed was filled with childhood photos and captions of appreciation for mothers and fathers. I feel like overall this is a much nicer way to celebrate a day for mothers and fathers, rather than buying endless mugs and socks. Some of the captions were short some were long, but they were all punctuated with love hearts and ‘te queiro’s.
Easter, this one kinda bummed me out a bit. Easter in Spain is so much more about family and spending the holidays as a family. I met sooooo many relatives. But I hardly ate any chocolate. And It was definitely the first year I haven’t eaten chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Easter Sunday. And despite my love of chocolate. I didn’t mind so much. Because I was hanging out with people who were trying, despite my terrible Spanish, to have conversations with me.
I think, overall, Australian culture has commercialised these particular holidays, to get more money off the public. And in future, I will be attempting to de-commercialised my family’s holidays. Which, yes, means less chocolate on Easter.

Bye!!!
xx

Laughing

The other day I laughed. In class. As the rest of the class laughed. We weren’t laughing at me. We were laughing together.
HOLD UP!!! I’m in another country, where all my classes are taught in another language. The fact that I understood what was going on enough to laugh, is massive.
If I try to explain to you what I was laughing at, it won’t work, it was one of those, ‘had to be there’ things, and I’ll probably just make myself look stupid, but the fact, that I’m at a point where I can somewhat understand a conversation enough to laugh along with everyone else, makes me feel a lot better about my dismal spanish skills.
Just thought I’d share my little bit of happiness

Bye!!!
XX

Airports and Police Stations

Yesterday I flew from Vigo to Madrid, for an appointment with the police. For a few days before, I had been in contact with the two girls I had flown from Australia to Madrid with. We learned we would all be in Madrid for the Visa extension at the same time. We hoped we could be able to see each other, because who doesn’t like talking with people who have the same accent as you, while in another country.
I had to get up at about 6 to get read for my flight, which left a 8:50, the drive to the airport being about 45 minutes. The flight was fine, I slept the whole way.
The Madrid airport was when the trouble started. I maybe got a little lost, despite following the crowd, from my plane, I somehow, lost them all and ended up in the check-in area for my terminal, completely bypassing the luggage claim, not that I had any, and also the man who was there to pick me up. So after about ten minutes if finally worked out I was most likely lost, I messaged the other two girls and just freaked out to them for a bit. After another half hour, or so, I was called by the man, who was picking me up. The trouble with that was, My Spanish is still a bit poor, and the same can be said for his English. We managed to work out I was in the wrong place, but I was finding it hard to communicate where I was. So after the call ended I sat down and ate a bit of my sandwich. A while late they called again, but hung up abruptly after it was clear we were getting no where. I then got a call from an English-speaking employee of the exchange organisation, we worked out where I was and it was fine. So, about an hour and 15 minutes after my flight landed, we were on our way. We picked up another girl, who was also Australian, but I’d never met, we worked out there would be six of us, today, although another girl seemed to be lost too, wrong train stop.
We spent a few hours in the police stations, talking in english, and just comparing our spanish lives. After we could all officially stay in the country for as long as we wanted to we headed to the office, of Juventud y Cultura, the exchange organisation we were all with.
After sitting down, I looked through my bag for my passport, and it wasn’t there!!! I was almost in tears, pulling everything out of my bag and checking all my pockets. As we were leaving, a man had come out of the police station, because one of the girls had left her passport. So I asked her to check her bag, because she might have grabbed mine, and I thought I had it, meaning hers had nearly been forgotten. She had it!!! Woo!!!
We were shouted lunch downstairs by the founder of Juventud y Cultura, Emerito. We ate tortillas, a thick omelet type of thing, with potato in it, in a burger style bun. After that, I had about 45 minutes to look around a small part of Madrid, before I had to get back to the office, to be taken back to the airport, we walked to a big square type of thing, There were loads people in yellow, and what looked like football jerseys. Real Madrid was playing a German team that night. We went to a little bakery, that one of the girls had been to a few times before, because she lives in Madrid. Then we walked back to the office, so I could fly back to Vigo. The flight home was only about 45 minutes, compared to the hour it took to get to Madrid.
So, now I’m allowed to stay in Spain, for my full 12 month program. And I met some lovely Australian girls, who I get to share a bit of my Spanish experience with, and who can relate.
Bye!!!
xx