I'm very sorry for not having posted anything in a while. I promise I'm not dead. I've been in a funk since I got back from Europe and I'm finally slowly, but surely, getting out of it. I started taking my propedeumic classes last weekend and they're going well. Thus far Spanish Verbal Abilities is my biggest challenge. Followed by Physics and Psychology. It's amazing what they expect students to know. I dunno, but in my high school Physics and Psychology were elective classes which you only took if you were interested in them or you wanted some AP credits. I still haven't found a job, but mostly because I haven't been looking. I promised myself I'd do it last week, but stuff has been coming up. I'll for sure turn in some applications this week. cross my heart. I've spent some time with my sisters and they're awesome. I'm still getting to know them, but they're good people so I'm happy. I can't think of anything else right now.... Happy valentine's day!
Current Mood: blank Current Music: Zero 7 - Waiting Line
As the bus driver walked off, he said "Just sit anywhere and we'll figure it out." It was awesome because I was so drunk that I passed out. Even if something HAD to be worked out, I was out for several hours, and not even the second coming of the messiah was going to move me from that seat. I ended up finding a seat next to a blond hottie. She had long curly hair, and she was eager to talk to someone. She didn't seem to mind my bitter beer breath, and I didn't mind talking to her. I made sure to make an ignorant ass out of myself talking to her, but she seemed to enjoy us talking. Her name was Tatiana, but went by Tanya. Did anyone else hear the disk scratch in the background? *cue the sci fi music* When I first took a bus to Barcelona from Madrid, I sat next to a wonderful woman named Tania... and now on my way back, I sit next to a Tanya. I guess I WAS meant for this bus. Weird. *end the sci fi music* I asked Tanya some dumb questions, like the biggest difference between Russians and Ukrainians. And why Ukrainians got so offended when they were assumed they were Russian. They spoke the same language anyways. Turns out they don't, says Tanya. Weird... Two countries that don't speak the same language? Tell my drunk self some more. So, why is it that Russians are so smart and eager to get married so young? Oh man... Finally I fell asleep. I woke up right as the bus was parking. Tania didn't say a word to me. I was way too dehydrated to want to talk to anyone anyways. I gathered my stuff and realized that my jacket was still on the bus. I yelled at the bus as it pulled away, but he just kept driving. Some guy kept saying "it's over there, it's over there!" while pointing at the pile of bags that belonged to me. I know it's over there, I thought, it's MY stuff... I put it there, you idiot! Turns out he wasn't pointing at my stuff, but at the opposite direction. The bus was going to drive by that road any time now. I ran to the middle of the street, and the bus driver stopped. He let me in, I grabbed my jacket and walked out, hoping no one had stolen any of the bags I had abandoned for the sake of my jacket. Everything was dandy. As I was trying to figure out the metro and what in the world I was going to do with myself for the next 7 hours, Tanya approached me. She wanted to know if I wanted to have some coffee with her. Coffee sounded amazing. I was so tired. We sat down, and at the sight of my bags she suggested that I leave my stuff in the lockers, and walk around Madrid, since we both had time to kill. It was going to be a pain in the rear to have to go to down town Madrid just to come back here to pick up my bags and then go to the airport, but whatthehell. It was something to do. So I left my man bag to her watch, with all my money, my passport, my birth certificate, my ID, my TEFL certificate, and anything else of importance/value I could possibly have with her in that bag while I worked my way to the lockers to store away my back pack and lap top. I thought of the HORRIBLE mistake I had made on my way back to her and there was nothing I could do but walk faster to the Café to see if she was still there. Thank god, she was. I carried her bag through the stairs and spent about an hour looking for her hostel. At the hostel, I made small talk with the woman at the counter, flirted a bit, and waited for Tanya to finish getting ready. An other hour later, we set ourselves out to explore a Madrid that would remain closed for another hour and a half. They open everything uber late there. Not even McDonalds opens till around 9am, and that's considered super early. The girl at the hostel gave us a map and a route that surrounded the hostel that would allow us to see the important stuff near by without wondering too far away. Tanya was good company, but not too thrilling. She bought me breakfast and I lent her my lonely planet book to take notes so that she could see the rest of Madrid without me. She paid for my Metro ride to the airport and we parted with a formal goodbye. I gave her my email, but I highly doubt we'll ever see each other again. Let alone email one another. I arrived at the Barajas airport 3 hours before my flight, but people were already at the ticket counters. When the girl asked me "aisle or window?" my reply was "huh...uh.... uh..." "Where would you like to sit?" "Honestly, I'd like to sit next to nobody." "You wanna travel alone, eh? I'm not sure that's possible." "Please see what you can do. This would make my third day traveling, and I would really like to be comfortable." "Well, the best thing I can do is put you in the back. Not many people sit there. You have the best chances sitting alone there if you don't mind sitting all the way in the back." "Not at all, if it insures me to be alone." My seat was right smack in the middle of the plane. There were 2 seats to the left, 3 in the middle, and 2 to the right. My seat was in the middle of the middle 3, if that makes sense. A girl sat to my right, but she relocated 2 rows forward next to a window to the right after the seatbelt sign went off. I wondered if she was running away from my body odor, but it turns out she too wanted to sit alone and there would be no one next to her there. The flight started by the captain announcing there would turbulence in about 2 hours, so all the things that are normally passed out will be passed out after the turbulence. You know it's bad when the captain is warning you of this. "The safety belt light will come on before the turbulence begins." I sat at the row before the very last, making the restrooms less then 10 feet away from me. People often walked by me and accidentally kicked the pile of blankets I had turned into a pillow. The turbulence began before the captain had a chance to warn us. Some people were walking to the restroom when I heard the flight attendant say "the captain is about to turn on the safety belt light on. If anything happens to you while you're away from your seat, we are not responsible." The man took his chances. I would have too. If it meant peeing myself in the bathroom or in my seat, I rather do it in the bathroom. The turbulence was worthy of one peeing all over oneself. It lasted for what felt like a half hour, but it was probably no more than 15 minutes. I closed my eyes and tried to think I was sitting in one of those vibrating massage chairs. This was mostly successful except when the shaking was too violent and I opened my eyes and thought I'm going to die. After my close encounter with death, the rest of the flight was pretty nice. I was able to lie down and take my shoes off for the first time in over 2 days. I was worried of the unpleasant scent, but I just didn't care anymore. I finished Sophie’s World and watched All the king's men which was pretty good, and en episode of Friends. It was the one when Ross gets married. "I take thee, Rachel."Classic. To be continued...
Current Location:Merida, Yuctan Current Mood: tired Current Music: Rihanna - SOS (it was on the radio)
So I called everyone I knew in Barcelona and no one answered. I was feeling pretty down after leaving the Mediterrani school, so I went to las ramblas to do some last minute shopping. Spare me the jokes. I found some stuff for my nephews, something for Jenilee, and something for me. That took a while. I walked around for hours. I decided to do my round of calls one more time and Emily answered. She lives about a block away from the bus station, the arc de triumf, and the barrio gotic. Her apartment is about the size of my room in Mexico. I think PSU dorms were bigger than her entire apartment. I told her about some of my issues, so she decided to take me to a bar. We had 2 pints of beer while chatting pretty loudly. I finished my second pint waaay earlier than she did and so she bought me a third. while drinking and talking, Emily asked a couple for a cigarrette. they made small conversation and pretty soon we were chatting with them and helping them out and giving them tips of what to see and how to get there. After we were done and went back to our table, the guy came to see us, with 2 pints of what we were drinking. It would have been VERY rude to say no... and I HAD to leave like 10 minutes before to make it to my bus on time. Emily said "oh, you know you were meant for the 11pm bus instead." I was already drunk, so that was all it took to convince me...so I accepted the 4th pint. so we kept chatting. Emily was still working on her second, and I drank my drink as fast as i could without chugging because I wanted to leave to make it to my bus on time. My 4th pint felt endless, and then I realized that she was refilling my drink while I went to the bathroom or wasn't looking. We left the bus around 10:30 and I was DRUNK, needless to say. I got to the ticket booth to see if the guy could switch my ticket and he said "No, I can only exchange the ticket 2 hours before the bus leaves." Without thinking, or letting the guy finish his sentense, Emily pulled on my arm and said, "we're getting you on that bus. You're meant for that bus!" So we get there, I give the bus driver my ticket, and he lets me in without looking at it. Suddenly, they notice there's an extra person on the bus...Mainly because I couldn't find my seat...because it was taken. They look at my ticket and his, and they forget wich person's is which. I act dumb and said that i requested the 11pm one. The bus driver was running late so he just didn't care and told me to sit anywhere. The supervisor guy was pissed because he said "you're picking up more people on your way there, you can't just take another person without knowing if that seat is already sold!" The bus driver didn't care, and just drove off. Emily waited the whole time next to the bus and I cheerfully slured gooby at her. To be continued.....
So here I am, sitting in the 7th floor of the Mediterrani building, where I took my TEFL course. Thank goodness they know me here and I can take advantage of the free internet. It's weird being here, and walking the streets of Barcelona. This trip has been very emotional for me and at this point I'm kind of glad that it's over...I wouldn't mind the long journey home as long as I was going back to Portland and not Mexico. I feel like crap. Saying that I'm depressed doesn't even begin to describe it. The end of Europe is the end of lots of things...very important things to me. Yet my time spent here is only more strings of memories that tie me to the relationships i've had here. I'll never forget Europe and the wonderful times I've had. Not even if I wanted to. I only hope that my experiences help me become a stronger person, and that my personal growth doesn't end when my plane takes off. There is no doubt in my mind I'll come back again, but things will be different...I will be different. Hopefully it's for the best.
So it’s Christmas Eve, and it somehow doesn’t feel like it.
Eirik and I have walked around Prague today taking video and pictures of things that could be Christmas-like so that he can make a video for his family, but these things were kinda hard to find. We’re gonna go back out tonight so that we may find more stuff to put in the video. Besides, I feel like the stuff we saw will look cool lit up in the night.
On another note, and I'm sure all of you can agree with me...I hate being poor around Christmas time. Well, lets be honest, I hate being poor at any time. I really wish I could inherit like 203948930295079 kagillion dollars so that I and the people in my life do not have to worry about a penny for the rest of my life.
Eirik and I have been on a tight budget these last few days and it’s going to stay that way until I leave. Thankfully we don’t need much money to eat and have fun, but it would still help. It’d be nice to have one less thing to worry about.
Another thing I wish I had was reliable internet. I’ve been trying to post on livejournal for a while, but I can hardly see what people post. Facebook works okay, but it won’t let me look at pictures, which is what I want to look at the most.
Don’t even get me started on Myspace. It tells me I’m logged on, and it’ll load the pictures of my friends on my homepage, but rarely will it load messages for me to read.
So I’m finally out of TEFL. The course wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t that hard. I’d say it was a lot of busy and tedious work, but I feel like I’ve been busier. Our class was “more fast pace” than usual because we had almost the entire third week off due to the holidays.
My weekend after TEFL was pretty uneventful. I spent it in my apartment with Carlos just watching movies (Fried Green Tomatoes and Bless the Child). I spent Monday running a few errands I needed to do before leaving Barcelona and hanging out with Mara. Tuesday, I flew to Prague. That was fun. I’ve decided I don’t like flying to Prague, but I do enjoy being here. Wednesday and Thursday I’ve done nothing. I’ve just hung out in Eirik’s flat watching Arrested Development (which let me just say that I’m really glad I gave it another chance because it’s really effing hilarious. I wish Fox would bring it back.) and using the computer for the most part. I kind of needed this. After a hectic month with TEFL, I just wanted to relax and enjoy some good company.
Speaking of good company, I’m sure Jeff and Pam have posted about Germany, and as soon as I have a reliable connection, I will use their entries and fuse them into one giant entry. Mostly for the sake of those that don’t read their journals, but read mine.
Being without a camera and traveling really sucks. Thankfully my friends are all willing to share their pictures with me, but I won’t receive them until much later. Mara is about to send me the pictures she took from Barcelona, but I don’t know if they’ll arrive in time before I leave Prague. As of right now, I only have about 80% of the photos from Germany, but they’ll be enough to recap my visit. I’ll spend time on that later. As for now I feel really lazy, and I want to take advantage of the fact that I can be.
I guess I won’t be too lazy, though. I should go back to sleep, but thankfully I’ve created a list of things that I need to do in the near future and this makes me feel better. I feel that if it’s written down, it can nudge me and harass me until I get it done. This way I can rest better. I’ve been up for a few hours. I’m going to be so tired today, I just know it.
So, I'm notorious for being a procrastinator. Unfortunately, High School taught me to adapt, and to survive as a terrible student. It's part of my nature to leave things at the last minute. And while I do enjoy having things done early, I sort of enjoy that last minute rush as I'm putting everything together.
Not this time, though.
We have this thing for TEFL called the "Materials Project." It's something they told us at the beginning of class, but didn't really go into it until last week so that we "didn't worry about it." We talked about it fully right before the weekend leading into the holiday week. I obviously didn't worry about it then because it seemed far enough away. Besides, I didn't know what I was going to do, but they said to teach something that represents you, so I decided my topic to be Mayan culture. I figured it was something that no one was going to do since I'm the only mexi in class, and it would be kind of original, except I had no idea how to teach it or how to turn it into a TEFL lesson.
The weekend came and went. The holidays came and went . . . And I had nothing. I didn't want to do a game because my instructor told me that "everyone does games. In fact, when someone doesn't do a game, we exhale in relief." So the project just has to be something I create, and it has to be something tangible. I decided to write an article last minute. I could write about the Mayans, pick out vocab, and say how the article is versatile because I could write it in a way where there are different ways to learn different types of grammar.
Sounds good right?
But as I was writing it, I realized that I would be teaching this to a class of Barcelonans...a class whose ancestors brutally killed off the majority of the Mayan people and took over their land.
I guess I could still do the class, but it would be like going to England and talking about the native Americans. Or going to Germany and talk to them about the Jews.
Perhaps these are harsh comparisons and I'm really worrying about nothing at all, but I don't want this issue to come up during my class.
I want to be excited about my class. I want my students to like what I teach them. You'd think that with having so much free range as to what I could do that I could come up with something. I can usually work with ideas thrown at me, but it's hard to create the whole thing by myself. My time to create this project is running out...along with my time to study for the Grammar test…Which is also tomorrow. I've studed for it 0.2 hours. 0.2 hours brought to you by in-class studying through "peer review" of our take-home practice exam.
I think I'll start studying for that as soon as I have the reading written, so that I can just spend tomorrow after the exam preparing my class.
And so I've come up with marching.
Marching is the only thing I was passionate about in high school. It's something that represents me, right? I've decided I'll write a text about it and have the students read it. The only problem is I don't know how to make the class exciting. I had a class involving text last night and it bombed. I could feel the students flat lining. It could be because I just hate teaching reading lessons…Or because I felt like crap. I'm still a little sick from Germany and my throat has been uber sore. My head was throbbing and I just wanted to go home and sleep. ugh. I want this week to be over already.
My alarm went off at tuesday morning and I was wondering what was wrong with me. Just a few days ago I was going to sleep at this hour. Since I always leave things to the last minute, I started shoving random clothes into my backpack and hoped they would be appropriate for Germany's colder weather. Pam would be arriving in about an hour and it takes about 20 minutes to get to the Bus station from my flat. It doesn't matter if you're walking or taking the metro. I prefer to take the metro, though. When I arrived, I thought I had missed Pam, because I was waiting where I was told to wait, and there was no sign that her Bus has arrived. came and went and still no Pamela Butler. I started to freak out. Maybe she gave me the wrong time. Maybe she arrived 2 hours earlier and she's been killed and I don't have a phone. I imagined a bloody Pam dragging herself to an internet cafe to email me her last message. I walked to information and I was told that her bus had already arrived. I walked back to terminals 7-9 to see if there was any sign of her. On my way there, I hear a tiny voice saying "Jose!" I felt like a retard looking around, and I couldn't find where that voice had come from. About 30 seconds later... "Jose Gil!" I turned around and there she was, Pam, in a golden puffy coat, running up to me. It was very movie-like, our tight embrace. The movie fantasy was over quickly, though. We walked over to information to see when the next bus to Girona left. Our flight left Girona at , and we needed to haul our hinies ASAP. The girl at the counter told us that the next bus didn't leave until , and it takes an hour and 20 minutes to get to Girona. Pam and I would arrive at the airport at . The lady suggested to just spend one more night in Barcelona and to catch the flight the next day. This would have been a good option if the next day wasn't a holiday. The price difference to fly out on a holiday wasn't about 200 Euros. "You could always take a cab there. That's about 120 Euros." Pam and I had to think fast. If we said Screw Germany, we would waste almost 250 Euros. We decided the cab ride was the best option. The cab lady only charged us 110. What a bargain... It was both our first time riding on Ryanair, and I didn't think that this flight would be any different than other flights. We were annoyed at the way people were fighting to be in line, so we decided to just stay seated and be one of the last few to get on. "What are they thinking?" we told each other and laughed "we're all going to get in. It's not like we don't have seats reserved." Oh how wrong we were. We thought that Pam being 117, and me being 118, we were going to sit next to each other. Turns out seats were first come, first served. Pam and I had to sit separate from each other. No biggie, I guess. In the middle of the flight, the same thing that happened to me when I flew from Portland to Guadalajara started happening to me again. I felt sick, and everything started spinning. I was thirsty. I hadn’t had anything to drink the whole day, and the only thing I had to eat was a chocolate cereal bar, which Pam referred to as "Desert" and a banana. My blood sugar was probably dropping. I find it that flight attendants are very nurturing when you're feeling sick. One of them told me I was probably getting a gastric flu that is going around Spain. She was right. From the first day, Germany has been more than I expected. Which is a lot, since I imagined people in funny outfits and lots of grassland where wild animals roamed free. I expected to see a nonstop Oktoberfest, and men in barns milking cows. I really need to stop watching TV. The first thing Jeff took us to eat was a Doner. The o should have two dots above it and it's pronounced "Dooner." It looks like a burrito, but it's nothing like it. It's full of lamb meat carved out of a vertical rotisserie. Much like Carne al pastor. I was a little afraid to try it, but it was super good. Not as good as the Gyro, though. I'm not sure anything is.
Last night we had Schinitzel, which was really good as well. Mine came with a pasta traditional of Southern Germany...I forget what it's called now. There's like 30 different veriaties of Schnitzel and I want to try them all. Being sick in germany has kept me low energy (ha, I rhymed again), but I've been trying to not let it get to me, though I do enjoy complaining about it. I feel much better today and I can't wait to see what Jeff has planned for us to do today. Hanging out with old friends is just what the doctor ordered. I had missed staying up with Pam till the wee-hours of the night just talking. And Jeff's humor compliments mine. It feels good to be ridiculously immature and not have to worry about impressing anyone. Jeff has been nothing short of an amazing host, and I really feel like I'm getting to see all of what Freiburg has to offer. It's only a small part of (Southern) Germany, so I shouldn't judge the entire country from this city, but it's beautiful here. I can't stop falling in love with Europe.
Current Location:Freiburg, Germany Current Mood: hungry Current Music: Pink Martini - Let's Never Stop Falling in Love
So after posting, I felt really sad and depressed... Beth and Mara were in the computer lab with me and decided that I should go out and enjoy myself. As soon as we left here, we went down to las ramblas looking for a church. Las ramblas is probably one of the coolest places ever. We went into a magic shop, many a gift shop, etc. We ran into a plaza that had a huge nativity scene, including mountains and the wise men traveling toward Jesus, etc. They also had quilts on display for world AIDS day. It's cool to see that that tradition is being done here and not just in the US. We found a church down the street from that. It looked tiny from the outside, but it's a full-size church once you enter. They were going to hold a concert in there that evening, so they were charging entry. However, they let us in for free as long as we left within 20 min (about a half hour before the concert began).
There is something magical about Catholic churches that makes me feel safe. Well, at least the ones in Mexico and here. They're built like castles, and they've been there for what seems like centuries. I feel like even nonreligious folk respect churches, and most everyone whispers and is reverent. Beth isn't catholic, and Mara (meh-rah) is "not religious," so they stayed in the back. I walked to the front row and thought about my grandma. It was literally seconds before I started crying. I really needed to. I thought about a year ago, and though about her bringing me to church and confessional Saturday mornings, and all the wonderful things she did for me. I felt terrible for not being at her side at the time of her death, or not being able to repay her for taking care of me the way she took care of me. In silent prayed I let it all out. The load I was carrying with me all that week. It was nice. I felt stronger as I walked out.
Mara was starving, so we went to this restaurant that Beth suggested. We talked about it on our first day of TEFL, but I didn't quite believe her. She didn't remember the name of the restaurant, but she knew how to get there...It is in la plaza real. When we arrived, there was a long line...probably about 70 people in front of us. It was entirely worth the wait. The restaurant is really super duper fancy. We ordered a bottle of white wine, and as the man, I got to taste it first and approve of it. We had Paella for three, and some dessert that Mara was really excited to have. Now that I've had it, I can see why she was excited. We took pictures of it, haha. I thought the meal was going to be really expensive. We were in an expensive area of town, etc, but it turned out really cheap. Sharing a meal with two other people is always better.
Before we bid goodbye, we made plans to hang out on Sunday. Since I live a block away from la sagrada familia, we met there, and walked around. I wasn't impressed, and the temple is stuffed with scaffolding. Mara was really angry because they no longer let you take the stairs up the towers, you have to pay 2€ per ride, and you have to walk down... so it's not like they're doing it for safety reasons. We totally felt conned, but we had paid so much to get in, it seemed like 2 more Euro wasn't much to see the rest. Afterwards, we walked around the park in front of la sagrada familia, and they bought some stuff. I didn't have much money, so I didn't get anything. We went back down to las ramblas and just walked around. They took some pictures of me riding a lion at the Christopher Columbus memorial... That's about it. We also went to a cafe that looks just like the rainforest cafe, but they don't serve food. Their coffee machine was broken (I KNOW, WHAT THE EFF. A coffee place with a broken coffee machine... pffft.), so we went to another cafe. We all hot different types of hot chocolate. Beth called it the Hot chocolate sampler.
I've been trying not to go to touristy places because I don't have my camera, but I'll go if someone like Mara comes, someone who takes awesome pictures. I'm going to make Pam take lots of pictures. or maybe just steal it. I have to get up early tomorrow to meet Pam at the Bus station and head out for Girona to catch our flight to Germany. This week is going to be amazing, and nothing is going to stop it.
Today is Friday, and how lovely it feels to say that. Finally, the end to a disgusting week, and I can only pray the weekend is better. I've been sleeping terribly, so my mood hasn't been the best. The other day in class, people kept asking me what was wrong with me and concerned about my sadness. I was a little sad, yeah, but it was more than likely due to the fact I had only slept about 3 hours that night. Today wasn't much different, but at least they've stopped asking. I've been having nightmares too. those are amazing. I slept well last night, though. Good thing my mom gave me sleeping pills. My first good lesson was taught Yesterday. I guess the third time's the charm. I got a lot of compliments from my evaluator. My students clapped at the end of the lesson, and a woman even blew me a kiss because I was too busy with other students for her to come up to me and give it to me in person. I felt on top of the world. My partner said they were still talking about the lesson outside of the classroom as she went to the restroom. I certainly feel better and more confident as a teacher. I'm not perfect, but I'm happy to see that a homerun is possible for me. Asides from the fact that today is world AIDS day, it is my Father's birthday, and I've emailed my sisters to wish him a happy birthday for me. I don't know what else to do. I don't know if I was supposed to send him a post card or buy him something? I don't know him, and I don't know what he likes. He has money, i figure he would buy himself whatever he wanted. A year ago tonight, I was told my Grandma was dying, and I was ready to leave the country with my lap top and a backpack stuffed with underwear, a few shirts, a pair of shorts, and sandals. She never made it to the next day, and I never made it to Mexico that year. It's amazing how things change in a year. I still remember waiting outside my apartment for Erin to pick me up to take me to the airport and thinking about what would become of my life. I never thought that a year from that day I would be sitting in a computer lab of a school in Barcelona getting my TEFL degree. So much has happened, that it's hard for me to believe it. Pam bought our tickets to Germany today, and I'm so effing excited. I'm going to buy our tickets to Girona today. I also want to stop by a church to pay respects to my Grandma. She was catholic, so I'm sure she'll appreciate the gesture. There's a lot of things on my mind and they're eating me alive. I need to talk to my mom. Distances sure suck. I might spend some extra euros and just call her this weekend. I need to hear from her, but probably not as much as she needs to hear from me. Today is a very important day for me. Keep me in mind.