Friday, June 25, 2010

School's Ouuuuut for Summer!

Well folks, I never thought it would actually be here but Wednesday was our last day of school. It's hard to believe that a whole year has gone by! As an end of the year celebration we went on a field trip for our last day of school. I'm not going to lie this was the field trip I was looking forward to allllllll year. It was to Micropolix, the city for children. All of the kids at school talk about it all the time. So naturally I was curious to see what this "children's city" was all about (even though as an "adult" I couldn't participate). Oh man, it was everything I expected and more!
So we arrived to Micropolix in the morning with about 6 other schools who were there for the day. All the kids received a passport, a map of the city, and a check for 50 eurix (the currency of the city). Once they entered the city they had to go to bank to cash their check and then go around to the different places you could work to try and earn money. They could go to the hospital, firefighter, police station, theater, radio station, art gallery, newspaper office just to name a few to learn how to do the different jobs. The coolest thing was that they had to spend 20 minutes or so learning what to do on the job first (not just go in and do what they wanted). They had to pay to learn and then they could help with the job, which is how they earned money. And the whole place was decorated like a miniature city. It was amazing because the kids were so into it! They were running around the city looking for the different jobs they wanted to do. Micropolix even had a driving school where you could take the test for your driver's license! Once having your driver's license you could drive in miniature cars around the city roads. Ya'll can't even imagine how jealous I was not to be a kid! All I could do was spend the day watching the kids have a blast. Yasmin and I were the 2 auxiliars on the trip and we walked around to explore the city and take pictures.
At the end of the day, I had to say goodbye to the kids I had spent the whole year with. It was really hard but I knew that I was going to see them soon. I have renewed my contract as an auxiliar and I am going to be at Andres Segovia the coming year. So I get to see all of them again (which made parting not so sorrowful)!! Check out some pictures of Micropolix:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Bayard and Sally visit Spain

Well folks, it is the year of my family coming to visit me here in Madrid. First was my brother Jack and now my parents are here!!! They arrived in on Monday morning and I won't lie I was so excited to see them! They are settled comfortably here in Madrid and having a great time so far. The have been seeing the big sights and museums here in Madrid and this weekend we are going to Sevilla! It has been fun so far to show them my life here in Madrid. I'll be sure to post about our adventures soon!

Windmill Windup

Canal in Amsterdam

It's that time again...another blog post about ultimate frisbee!! But this time it's really really cool because the tournament was in Amsterdam! So not only did I get to go to a tournament outside of Spain, I also got to go to the largest grass tournament in Europe. Pretty baller. The tournament consisted of an Open, Women, and Coed division and teams from all over Europe were there. There were 81 teams and about 1200 people total at the tournament. By far the biggest tournament I have been to in Europe. As well, since the World Games of Ultimate Frisbee are being held in Prague this year a lot of competitive European teams were going as preparation. Since it would be impossible to host that many people in a hotel, we camped at the fields which was really fun because everyone was all together. In the middle of all the fields was an ultimate village with a bunch of tents and a huge inflatable elephant (the hosting team's symbol). We arrived late Thursday night and had time to set up our tent and grab some beers at the welcome party.
On Friday we woke up to play our first game against the Hungarian Co-ed team. Although equally matched, our team made a lot of errors and we lost. We regained our rhythm and won the second game. Our third game we lost to a Belgium team. After grabbing a quick shower, we went into the city center to do a bit of tourism. Although I only got to walk around for about 4 hours I thought Amsterdam was a really pretty city. I would definitely like to go back and spend more time there. On Saturday we also played three games and did a lot better winning 2 and losing 1. Our team ate a delicious lasagna dinner then hurried off to watch the World Cup game between England and the USA. GO AMERICA!! It was really fun to watch the game and we tied woohoo! Then our team headed over to the tournament party where we danced the night away. On Sunday we played only one game because there was an odd number in our pool so we "won" our first game by default. We faced a French team and played well in the first half but then lost in the second which was a bummer. Although we ended up losing the last game, we finished 14th out of 25 teams. I think we did better than expected because of all the good competition due to Worlds and it was our first time there. Probably one of the best weekends I've had and tournaments I've been to. It was so cool to meet teams from all over Europe, who all love ultimate! Windmill Windup 2011? Already there!

Another picture of Los Quijotes! Ole!

The tournament village, complete with inflatable elephant.

Me being a tourist in Amsterdam :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My life is so stressful...time to go to a resort!

Okkkk so my life is not stressful in the least but one of the good things about being in Europe is I get to travel around inexpensively. One of my friends here, Natalia, has friend working at a beach resort in Tarragona (a province of Cataluna near Barcelona). They told us they could get us a discount for staying at an apartment in the hotel so we decided hmmmm beach weekend sounds good! We decided to rent a car and drive the 6 hours to the beach which was a different experience because we usually fly. We arrived on Thursday night, checked into the hotel and ate some dinner. We woke up well rested on Friday to enjoy the breakfast buffet that came with our apartment. It was nice to have so many options for breakfast when usually what I eat is corn flakes. We spent the entire day lounging by the beach. Hard knock life right? That night we went out in the town near by with Natalia's friends which was a lot of fun. As for most beach posts, I wish I could write more about what I did but I did a whole lot of nothing. I do have a nice tan now though woo! And the triumph of the weekend was finding an English grocery store with peanut butter for 2.50 euros! Its really hard to find in Spain and when you do, it costs an arm and a leg. Obviously I took home 2 jars.
Carolina Beach bar!

View of our resort

The girls at the beach

The beach!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

X Campeonato de España Beach Ultimate OPEN / WOMEN 2010

I'm sure you guys are sick of reading all of my posts about ultimate frisbee here in Madrid and in Spain, right?? Well guess what, there's more! Well last weekend there was the Open and Women's Ultimate Championship of Spain. Like I said we normally play as a Co-ed team but we split sometimes for tournaments. After our women's tournament we decided to begin to practice more as a women's team in preparation for La Liga. Although we have really strong women players, we have struggled with numbers for a team and for practicing together. The Dulcineas arrived at the tournament (which was played on beach) low in numbers but really excited to play. However, we knew we had a lot of strong competition. Although we went into the first game with a lot of excitement we soon discovered that we lacked some team cohesion and made a lot of unforced errors. We started the day of with a loss and continued to make poor choices. It was as if we were playing while sleepwalking and not focused at all. We had a talk after the second game and decided that we needed to start playing like we knew how. We began to play much better in our last two games but had problems scoring points on offensive so we ended the day with 4 losses. I was really bummed about our results but it is hard to play well together when we don't have a lot of opportunities to practice. However, we had planned to dress up as a team and preform a dance for the rest of the teams at the party on Saturday night. We decided on the song "Poker Face" and our inspiration was Lady Gaga, of course! So we all got decked out and made our entrance into the party. Although we probably looked crazy, our dance was a hit!

On Sunday, Dulcineas started off with much more energy and patience. We began to make fewer errors and had more of a team flow. We ended up winning our first game!!! However we had to face one of the best women's teams in Spain, Corocotta from Santander. It was very windy so there were a lot of turnovers in the game. We played very good defense but once again had trouble scoring when we were in the end zone. We lost by 2 points and finished 6th in the tournament overall. Although a little bummed by our final standing our team was glad we had improved over the tournament and had a lot of fun! The boys team better, finishing 4th in the tournament. Another great weekend in the Spanish world of ultimate! Next up we have a tournament in Amsterdam called Windmill Windup which is supposedly one of the biggest in Europe. But check out the video of the tournament above I am in it twice! (hint I'm number 33 and we wear red and white!)

My team, Dulcineas, decked out in our Gaga finest!