Tuesday July 17, 2018
Everyone has arrived here to the home base in Valencia, Spain! We are excited to start our adventure!
Wednesday July 18, 2018
Today we participated in multiple activities including volunteer work with summer camp students, a tour of Valencia with a local guide, and the introduction to our summer Spanish lessons. Despite the humidity and jet-lag, the group stayed positive and excited throughout the day. We ate new food like paella con pollo and the vegetarian option, paella con vegetales, home cooked by our fabulous in house chef and owner. After a long day, the group is winding down for bed, excited for the long and inspiring days ahead.
Thursday July 19, 2018
Today was what we all imagined a typical day in Spain would look like. We woke up, ate breakfast, and split into 2 groups. Group A went to service first and Group B stayed and did a model UN type of leadership exercise. Group A played some very fun games with the kids, ending in most if not all of us getting water poured on us. After group B arrived at the service site, Group A went back home and ate lunch and took our turn doing the leadership activity.
Once Group A and B were done with all the activities we had around an hour of free time. Some of us ventured out with the mentors to get coffee and gelato. Next we headed out to Spanish school and finally returned for dinner. After a very delicious dinner of pollo y papas fritas (chicken and french fries) we got a special treat because today was our friend Margot’s birthday. Happy birthday Margot! We are very happy we got to welcome you into your 16th year with brownies and singing Happy birthday in both Spanish and English. Tomorrow we head to BARCELONA! See you then. Adios!
Friday July 20, 2018
Today our group was able to get a later start to the day and sleep in until 8:00. After finishing breakfast, we were lucky enough to accompany the summer camp students on a tour through Valencia’s City Hall. There we were able to play games with the kids and watch a puppet show. After leaving City Hall, we were able to eat our delicious lunch and get ready for our four hour drive to Barcelona. Now that we are in the Hostel everyone is happy with the WiFi, the air conditioning, and of course the sights of the beautiful city.
Saturday July 21, 2018
Today the GLA students woke up in Barcelona! We woke up at 8:30 am and after eating breakfast, we started our busy day. First, we shopped for souvenirs; some haggled with sellers for the best prices. Buying fans and keychains were popular among us. Afterwards, we went on a tour of Sagrada Familia. Sagrada Familia is Barcelona’s tallest church, to say the least. The architecture and detailing on the church was breathtaking.
After learning about the history and reasons why the church was built, we we ate lunch and then went on another tour. We explored Gaudí’s buildings. One of the most memorable parts of that tour was the view of Barcelona. From one of the view points, you can see all most, if not all, of Barcelona. There was a lot of walking today, but it was worth it because we all took amazing pictures and went into beautiful places.
Sunday July 22, 2018
Today we braved the hours of the bus on our long and entertaining ride back from an amazing trip in Barcelona. On the ride we talked and laughed about the interesting trip, already resurfacing the memories that appeared like bubbles on water from our time in Barcelona. We also visited the Barcelona soccer stadium, imagining the huge crowds that must gather in the bleachers when the players take their stances on the field in the great game of soccer, or football, as it’s called in Europe.
Five hours of sitting and laughing and talking were almost nothing when you are among friends that share your interests. The bus ride was followed by a separate trip to the beautiful park near the hostel in Valencia, which consisted of ultimate frisbee and people that make you happy no matter where you travel in the great country of Spain.
Monday July 23, 2018
Today we started off our second week here in Spain. We split into 2 groups and one group enjoyed flamenco class taught by a local dancer, while the other group spent time with the children. After the flamenco class the second group was able to enjoy the company of the children while the first group participated in a leadership activity at the local park. After an eventful morning, both groups came together to participate in our daily Spanish class. Finally we arrived back at the house where we enjoyed a delicious dinner and we are all now looking forward to the chocolate factory tomorrow!
Tuesday July 24, 2018
Today, GLA once again made our way over to the community service sight where we had an amazing time helping the kids blow up balloons. In Spain, the people celebrate with fireworks, so we imitated the fireworks by popping the balloons in celebration of a good time with the new family we have created in such a short but precious amount of time. After saying our goodbyes, and after a short but engaging Spanish class, we spent time at a chocolate factory. T
he chocolate factory was incredible, with all the smells and the different kinds of chocolate, some of us could barely even comprehend the making of such a delicious treat. But the employees at the factory showed us how to make the chocolate by rolling and adding sugar to the very bitter cocoa plant. Some of us learned the hard way that while the seeds of the cocoa plant are not particularly edible, the sweet treat that you receive when time, effort, and work is put into it is worth the bitter taste that the cocoa seeds leave.
Wednesday July 25, 2018
During service we learned a new dance called capoeira, a dance that comes from those that were brought to Brazil during times of slavery. The other half of the group took flamenco classes in the morning before service. After some relax time we went to a beautiful horchata museum outside of Valencia where we learned about the history of the drink and how it is grown. Which was followed by the opportunity to sit in the courtyard and drink some; it was delicious!
Thursday July 26, 2018
Today we had split service, and while one group was at home, we got the opportunity to go out and shop around while exploring the city of Valencia. Our evening was jam packed as we went from our last Spanish class to a Paella lesson from our host, Mama Teresa, to a drum session with a local. As we type we are dishing up the paella that we made and we are all excited to eat and get some rest.
Friday July 27, 2018
Today was a fun day, but also sad. First, we went to a beautiful blue river with the Jarit kids and swam in the brisk water with them. Today was the last day we saw them, so many tears were shed. Afterwards, we had WiFi and shopping time. Most of us chose shopping time. And to end the day, we went on an amazing bike tour where we saw big buildings, including the Science Museum. Today was eventful but very exciting.
Today, we braved the Spanish waters and rafted alongside our companions with helmets, wetsuits and life jackets that protected us from the cold waters and rocks that lay below the seemingly harmless river. After an adventurous time on the river, a group of us headed to the beach with towels and sunscreen in hand to enjoy the beautiful blue and green Mediterranean water that is filled with people that laugh and splash alongside us as they enjoy the lovely day that we got to enjoy together for one of the last times before we all head home with memories in our heads and in our hearts.
Sunday July 29, 2018
Today we woke up for breakfast with an extra hour of sleep! The bus took us to an amazing natural water reserve which we took a boat tour through. On the boat, our amazing tour guide, Vincent, fed us wonderful horchata and fartons as he explained to history of the lake and city around it. After that , we got back on the bus and sang songs as we arrived to the Hostel where we had time to pack and eat lunch. After a fantastic meal made by the best cook ever, Mama Teresa, everyone walked to the park to reflect on the amazing past two weeks that we have experienced. Students discussed different aspects of the trip and conversed with peers about their experience. Everyone left and split into groups to go shopping. After, students got to watch a fantastic flamenco show in the Hostel and were given one last chance to soak in the traditions and lifestyle before leaving. Everyone got together for an appreciation circle where people could be recognized for things they have done on the trip. Now we have mixed emotions as we travel home, but overall everyone LOVED it!