A Travellerspoint blog

While here I've...

Immersed in the Culture

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View Spain 2015 on WorldRun's travel map.

Here in Castellar, I have been more of a tourist than any other place before. How do I feel about this? Uneasy. How do I handle it? Easy, like any place else I start living the cluture.

The other day I helped paint a picture of the farms here in celebration of the final day of Cultural Week.

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While here, I have...

-Attended three concerts (1-younger elementary band concert 2-top Castellar band concert 3-entire school dance performance)

Concert 2...performing selections from Les Miserables.

Concert 2...performing selections from Les Miserables.

-Visited Gulliver

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-Been to the Medditeranian Sea numerous times

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-Been a hairstyalist

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-Small canal ride with friends while visiting Palmar

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-Done zumba in the street

  • photo credit Jaume

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-Seen a man carve wood with a chainsaw

  • photo credit Tony

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-Visited the L'Oceanogràfic in Valencia (marine life)

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-Attended a mass (where a window was broken and a girls arm was cut and then a woman fell and hit her head so hard she had to be taken to the hospital)

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-Gone fish shopping

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-Watched a pot of paella being made and served to over 100 people (paella is meat, rice, vegitables, specific type of bean, sauces and water)

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-Practiced my Spain Spanish and taught American English

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-Visited historic Valencia
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-Seen the Museo Filleros (Fillera Museum is of sculptures made for the yearly celebration)

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Looking at it, I've done a lot of tourist things, every day things and cultural things. This is all part of traveling; being able to do some of each, and learn about the culture and about yourself along the way.

Posted by WorldRun 00:48 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Lets Look At Them Side By Side

It´s all about what you choose to see

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I´ve been in Valencia for one week now. My first analysis: it´s a wonderful place with incredible people. For those of you who have never been, let me quickly list some similarities and differences between here and the USA to give you a litte taste of the culture.

-several small meal times instead of giant ones
~most all include vegitables as a side, followed by fruit to cleanse the palate and close out the meal
~the afternoon meal is followed by a coffee or other drink of similar sorts

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General Times:
+-8:00 am- breakfast
+-10:00 am- lunch (depending on the work load in the previous hours determines what is eaten. In general, not a large meal)
+-2:30 pm- bigger meal
+-6:00 - 8:00 pm- small snack of your choosing
+-9:00 - 10:30 pm - bigger dinner meal

-roughly 2 hour long break for students from 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm (used to go home and eat, finish up homework for afternoon classes, etc.)

-with eating dinner so late, people don´t usually go to bed until midnight or past

-the food is, overal, healthier

-being outdoors is an every day occurrence

Whether for...
~eating
~biking
~walking/running
~beaching
~the like

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-lots of kissing
Note: you greet someone by kissing them on both cheeks.

Now the similarites:

-everyone is unique in how they look
~body type
~hair color
~clothing worn

-they wear whatever they want

-people are currious of other people

-if something big happens, everyone has to know

You might look at these two lists and say "clearly there are more differences and similarites than this." Yes, yes there are, but to mension all of them would not be a very good use of anyones time. You might also notice that the "diffferences" list is much longer than the "similarities" list. It is, but thats not a bad thing. I see all of this and to me, it´s all life being lived. I love when people live life to the fullest, no judgements added!

If any of you have met me, you know there are always two questions I like to ask people:

1- are you drinking plenty of water
2- are you breathing

I drink plenty of water here and breath in fresh air daily. Check and check.

A snail I found while swimming one day. Isn´t he great?

A snail I found while swimming one day. Isn´t he great?

Posted by WorldRun 00:21 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

I Didn't Realize I Was Leaving Again

New Country. New Cultlure. New Lessons to learn.

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Well, here I am, heading out on another journey. Where to, you might be wondering. Valencia, Spain! Spain. A Country with beautiful sites, friendly people and a busy nightlife. I'm ready for all but one. Can you guess which it is? Nightlife. Never touch the stuff. Oh well, travel is about experiencing new things. No sleep here I come.

My reason for going to Spain is to teach English to some girls. My official title is an au pair. The definition of an au pair is "an unmarried young adult aged 18 to 30 years, who has no children and travels to a foreign country for a defined period of time to live with a host family."

The following are my qualifications:

1-Unmarried
2-Aged 18 to 30
3-No children
4-Traveling to a foreign country

I'd say I qualify.

While I currently have no pictures to share, I will instead share some newly aquired memories.

Memory #1:

I got to meet and speak, if only one word, to Tom Osborne. For those of you who don't know who that is, ask any Nebraska football fan, or any Nebraskan for that matter, and you will find out. While I only met him and his family for a few moments, instantly I could tell they were kind hearted, genuin people. If you can tell that about someone in the first few moments, you know they are for keeps.

Memory #2:

While sitting in the Omaha airport, I met a family heading back to Germany. There were several remarkable qualities about this family. I'll list them now:
-the father is serving in Germany
-there were three small children under the age of 7
-the kids were well behaved and freindly
-the oldest daughter said to her mother "don't interrupt me mom. I'm in the middle of my workout." A 7 year old that likes to work out. Enough said.
-the mother was traveling alone with the kids

Memory #3:

As previously stated, I am heading to Valencia, Spain. The man sitting next to me on the first flight had a family home in Valencia, Spain. Also, he had just umpired for some big baseball games that happened in Omaha (sorry I don't know much about baseball). Mind blown.

Already my mind is realing from the diversity of people at the Newark airport. Mind you, I am sitting in the international terminal, but still.

Here are the specifications of my travels for all those wondering.

Leaving Omaha: Monday, May 25, 2015 11:32 am
Actually Arriving in Valencia: Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Returning to Omaha: Monday, June 22, 2015
Actually Arriving in Omaha: Tuesday, June 23, 2015 7 something pm
Occupation: Au pair (if unsure of definition, refer to above definition)
Time Difference: 7 hours (Omaha is 7 hours behind Valencia)

Flight Locations from Omaha To Valencia: Omaha-Newark. Newark- Frankfurt, Germany. Frankfurt-Valencia
Flight Locations from Spain to Omaha: Train from Valencia-Barcelona. Flight from Barcelona-Newark. Newark- Chicago. Chicago-Omaha

It finally hit me at around 9:12 pm last night that I was actually leaving for Spain today. Bring it on.

Posted by WorldRun 13:16 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Hold it, where am I?

Returning back to America

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I have been out of the country for 4 months. I returned on Friday, May 2 at 11:12 p.m. and got to see my family at 11:22 p.m.. People have said and asked me "you look so tan," "is it good to be home?", "what was it like?", "would you go back?", and of course the ever popular "are you over jet lag yet?" For any of you reading this, let me answer these questions for you.

You look so tan. - I was in the African sun for a while, so yes I did get a nice tan.

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Is it good to be home?- It is good to see my family and friends.

What was it like?- In short, it was challenging and made me examine my life and how I live it, gave me opportunities I have never had before, and gave me the opportunity to meet some of the nicest people I've ever known. It was an incredible journey and one I will always cary with me.

Would you go back?- In a word, yes.

Are you over jet lag yet?- I can't tell. I'm a person that's usually tired all the time, so I think I am, just not 100% sure.

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There are a million stories I could tell, but I'm sure you don't want to read a blog a mile long. Instead, I will put a mile long of pictures and short descriptions of some of the highlights of my time in Zambia, Africa.


This map shows where my different flights took me, along with my specific location in Zambia, Africa.

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I had to go to the doctor while I was in Africa and get my finger poked, so obviously I had someone take a picture of me and I chose to make it dramatic. I mean, who wouldn't want to do that?

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I taught the kids a drama called The Redeemer. The show had no words, but was motions to music. This is one of the first rehearsals where I was teaching the character of "God" to create the heavens and the earth.

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I caught more frogs then I can count during my stay, and sometimes the kids liked to hold them and make up stories about the frogs with me.

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The picture collage shows me in the traditional shirt, or ccitangi (I very well could have misspelled this) of Zambia, and several of the different ways women use them aside from just using them as a skirt. Looking at it left to right and reading it like a book we have:
-scarf
-apron
-shawl
-mat for ground
-traditional rap around skirt
-around the waist (this was done by locals while dancing to emphasize the hips)
-head dress
-wipe noses and drool
-baby carrier (both on the back and in the front)

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We were constantly blowing up balloons and decorating for birthday parties. Fun times, but as I discovered, you can get very light headed from blowing up too many balloons.

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Got to visit one of the 7 Wonders of the World, Victory Falls.

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This is after I got harnessed up and before I jumped and did the gorge swinging over a canyon. It was such an enjoyable experience.

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I wrote a Murder Mystery Dinner Party script, and everyone came dressed as their career. There ended up being 28 people there, Americans and Zambians. This picture shows "Police Officer" and "Hostess" having an intense conversation on safety at the party.

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Another Murder Mystery Party picture of Lumber Jane (Left) and Compulsive Liar (Right) doing some impressive yoga moves.

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We did some arts and crafts with pipe cleaners, and leaned how to make glasses. We really sport the latest and greatest at New Day Orphanage.


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The kids participated in the first "competitive" soccer game against a group from town. This is our killer kids team, The Mighty Ducks.

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Got the opportunity to sing in church on my last Sunday at New Day. The challenging part was singing in both English and my new language, Tonga. But thanks to Blu's guidance and assistance, my words sounded pretty great and the people loved it.

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Also my final Sunday, we were able to have 34 people get baptized. This boy from the village was one of them, and I was so happy to share in the joy with him. He has the best smile.

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On Friday's, I helped with a girls bible study in a neighboring village and this little peanut came to several of our studies.

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Muchoni, one of the kids at New Day, and I became very close during my stay.

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I got a picture with all of the New Day kids, and the sign they are holding up says "Twalumba" which means "thank you." That goes out to all of you. Thank you for your support, encouragement and love as I have been on this journey. I couldn't have done it without you.

I am home and it doesn't seem to fit me as much as it used to. I go about my "regular" routine and still love seeing people and places, but there is an uncomfortable side to it now that makes me miss my overseas adventures. I am grateful for the memories and time I was able to be there. Thinking about it, what 19 year old get's that opportunity? Not that many.

Gracias, Twalumba, Thank you.

Posted by WorldRun 09:37 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Food

It's what you eat

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Here at New Day Orphanage, we like to experiment with making different foods. While there's a store roughly 45 minutes away that holds many things, you have to basically make things from scratch here. If not, you just make what you know. Let me give you some examples of this:

After hand making tortillas, I cut them up and made chips, frying them and taking them out to lightly salt. Yum yum. These little guys are good for anything.

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A traditional food option that I have experienced is nshima (a consistency that is thick, heavy and semi sticky, so can easily be formed into balls for eating), beans and cabbage. This is what we feed the hundred something kids that come to Kids Club on Saturday afternoons.

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No place is complete without making up some cute little hamburgers and making faces with your toppings on them. While this wasn’t exactly ‘homemade,’ it was still so so good.

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In Choma, I got to go out and eat some Chinese food (that is, orange chicken and fried rice). Not exactly the cream of the crop, but still pretty great. What you will find here...

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No challenge would be complete with out making, from scratch, bagels. While I didn’t do much to help make the bagel part on this one, I got to help make the insides and eat this deliciously incredible dinner. If you haven’t tried doing this, try it!

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When cooking for many, big pans are usually called into action to house your food. Example food item here is corn...lots and lots of corn. Be-still my beating heart.

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When you don’t have, make, even if it’s scary cooking with a pressure cooker. I got to try my hand at refried beans. Not bad for a first time.

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I love fruit pizza, and my mom isn’t here to help me make it. Has that stopped me from improvising on her great recipe? Goodness no. You just use what you got, and badabing, badaboom. Mini fruit pizzas at your service.

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While I've eaten more then what the few pictures above have depicted, these are just some of the highlights. It’s fun to make things and experiment with what you’ve got. I’ll defiantly take these ideas back with me. I mean, hello, who doesn’t like easy fruit pizza and amazing tortillas?

Oh yeah...we also eat cow...

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Posted by WorldRun 03:06 Archived in Zambia Comments (0)

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