28 January 2009


Name of your program?
Intrax Study Abroad, and Interhispania

Where did you study?
Cádiz, España

Who influenced you to study abroad?
Jesse brought it up, Carla helped, the fact that Sr. Atkinson learned a ton from his mission also helped. . . so those 3.

Name 3 places that you would like to study?
Spain, Argentina, Peru

How would you benefit from studying abroad?
I thought I wanted to teach Spanish, but it really opened my eyes and now I have options.

What was your biggest fear about studying abroad?
Being forgotten by my friends back home, and that I was going to get a bad host family.

What were you excited for while studying abroad?
Making new friends, trying new foods, and seeing life from a different view.

Had you spoken with your host family before leaving?
Only in 1 e-mail...

Was there anyone that came to replace you in your family?

What was something that made it easier knowing that you were leaving?
That I was coming back, that I was going to see everyone back home again.

What was your biggest challenge?
Trying to figure out my schedule for school on the first day. Believe it or not, I stayed in the same class. Haha.

Did you make any new friends?
A ton. I have no clue where to start, but I will mention two. Jesús Mª Peinado Campelo. . . who just so happens to be one of my best friends. And Fran Díaz García who reminds me a lot of Nick. These two are the Nick and Mason of I.E.S. La Caleta

What was your most embarrassing moment?
Oh no, where do I start. Uhm, the "polla" incident was pretty embarrassing. Also when I found out that "correr" is not reflexive for what you would want to say. When I saw that Jesus was calling one night, so I started having a panic attack because I don't like speaking Spanish on the phone when I can't use my hands if I run into trouble. . . it was embarrassing for me.

A funny story that you will always think of?
When Alvaro and Jesus told me Hedwig was outside the window with my acceptance letter into Hogwarts. . . I went to the window and there was a seagull there watching me. Then the ocean started booming and I asked what it was, Alvaro replied "Tsunami" and I believed them. . . I started freaking out and Bruno said, "No, es Godzilla". Haha, I can't believe I fell for it.

What was your host family like?
Host mom was Isabel Garcia, host dad was Pepe Ramos. Moses and Jesus (another one xD) were the host brothers that lived in the house. I don't know. . . I wouldn't really consider them a family to me, more like friends. :S

New foods, sights, anything?
Some of the best food in the world! Tons of new seafood, calamares, paella, erizos de mar, and then tortilla de patatas. I saw a little of Barcelona, Sevilla, and then a lot in Galicia, and I have Casco Antiguo down in Cadiz.

What do you miss the most?
Amigos, la comida, siesta, y fiesta!

If you could do it over again, would you?
In a heartbeat.

What did you learn about yourself?
That I am more outgoing, and more open than I gave myself credit for. I'm not as afraid of life as I thought I was. . . and I realized there is more out there than what I had known prior to my experience.

Is there a phrase that means a lot to you now, that you didn't realize before?
"Its not an "adios" its more like an "hasta luego" " which makes me feel a bit more optimistic about what lies ahead.


This is the last installment of my journey in Cádiz. Feel free to check out future blogs on:
And always, thank you for reading. :)
Mason - Cometiza - Loco de la Coca (1) - Jefe - Masonito - Masón - Whatever Else.

Últimos Dias en Cai

Fran, Yo, Álvaro, y Bruno

On Friday night my gaditanos took me out to dinner for a cena de despedidas to this italian restaurant, Belle Italia. The place had some good pizza, but not near as good as the pizza Jesus's dad can cook. We went out at about 10:30, and then got done eating and chatting at about 12:30. . . then we decided to go out to Punta San Felipe, where all the discos are. Well it was raining so that plan got canceled and so we went to this garage where my friend Bruno has his practices for his Jazz Band. We hang out there, playing the piano and dandolo todo, jaja, then I looked down and it was 5 a.m. so we gradually got ready to leave. . . then the waterworks started. They were yelling "Mason no llores!" and then I yelled "No estoy llorando. . . tengo algo en los ojos!" That was pretty hilarious, and I got a few laughs out of it. It was a weird feeling, because I realized that I was leaving and it isn't as easy saying even "Hasta luego" to these people, because there is a highly likely chance that I won't. So then we walked home and I went to bed... there is a funny story about this, so I will save it for when I come back, lets make a lunch date. I will make tortilla de patatas or something. :D

Before you read the next two paragraphs you must know a few things about Cádiz. Carnaval in Cádiz is one of the largest, if not the largest, fiestas that is held in Spain. The population of the city usually doubles. The actually fiesta starts in the middle of February, but my last weekend was the kick off for the fiesta, where they had two introduction fiestas I suppose you could say.

The pestiño cookie.

This is the plaza after the Pestiña. Yikes.

Saturday was a fiesta known as the Pestiña, and there were a ton of people out and about throughout the day. I wasn't feeling so great in the morning, because going to bed at 6 and waking up early isn't the formula of a good nights sleep. We ate at the restaurant. . . but at night they had the main part of the fiesta in Plaza San Francisco, where they gave out a free pestiño cookie, and a free chupita of some anise flavored alcohol. Todo el mundo was there, it was crazy. . . and after the party I realized how much I would hate to be a street cleaner in Cádiz, ES. I can't seem to find a phrase to explain it, but if I could you would be scared and be happy with what you are doing. So after that I went out and said by to all of the foreign exchange students. . . called it a night because I was dead from the previous one.

Bienvenidos al Jurassic Park?

Me and my Spanish twin. :)

Sunday was also early for me as well, but it was my last full day in Cadiz so I am actually fine with it. I woke up at 8:30, and went to Jesus's house to pick him up because we were going to go drive his remote control car. Haha, I know it sounds kinda lame but I had a lot of fun. Its simple stuff like that that makes me not regret doing this. Then we went back to his house, and played some video games. . . Erizos de Mar, which just so happen to be delicious. It sounds kinda terrible when you think about it. . . you kill it and eat it all within a matter of seconds. :/
And they had to get a picture of me eating my first one.

Yo y Pedro. . . el padre de Jesús

After that we went out to the fiesta for this day called the Erizá which is the fiesta where you eat some interesting seafood like erizo de mar. His dad bought samples of every type of food possible as we walked around the streets of Casco Antiguo. I definitely loved it while we walked around the stage where there were the chirigotas perfoming. Actually, I don't know if they were the chirigotas or not, but there are 4 different types of the entertainment for Carnaval so it was one of them. We saw them briefly, and then we went to this restaurant. . . ate SOME MORE. Haha, I promise I lost weight while I was gone.A mixed platter from the Erizá

Yo, la hermanita de Jesús, y la madre de Jesús. :) Mi familia española, or so I say.

And so we went back to Jesus's around 6ish and then the other Jesus wanted us to go play some basketball again. Well, it was starting to get dark but I said the heck with it and we went out. We got a tiddle bit crazy and gave up playing basketball, we played some futbol with the little kids from our school. I also taugh Jesus the Tiger Beat, so enjoy the video at the end of this post. :) Before I knew it, it was about 9, so we jumped up and caught a bus to get us back into our own barrio. We get there, and some of my stuff was at Jesus' so we went back there, and as I was gathering it up his dad offered me to eat with them again since I had missed my own dinner with my host family (they eat around 9:00 and it was now 10). I couldn't say no, because I never could turn down a Spanish meal. =D So we eat at about 10:30, get done at around 11:30. Haha, I know, thats a bit late on a school night. We go back to his room, and start looking at old videos of Jesus, his baby pictures, and it was fun hanging out with his family. I hadn't really felt what it was like being with a family in a while, aside from when I was at Carla's. . . its not my host family's fault but they didn't have any younger kids. . . I don't know. I get my stuff together, and I realized it was that time to say good-bye to Jesus. Well, Jesus tells me that he, Fran and the other Jesus were going to accompany me to the bus station in the morning. Thats when I started getting sad. They had school, but they didn't care because they wanted to do it. . . but I just couldn't let them. I tried to be strong, but they won in the end. I went home that night at 12:30 a.m., and had some bags to pack.

Jaja, like I said. . . we went crazy during our basketball game.

When I got home, my host mother was standing in the doorway. Oops. I hadn't really kept in touch with them throughout the day, except I had told my German host bro that I wasn't going to be eating with them because of the fiesta. She made me feel bad, but I promised I'd wake her up in the morning before I left. So I went to pack my bags, but then she yelled at me because I was going to wake up Andreas, she told me to wake up early the next morning and pack them. So I set my alarm for 6, but I woke up at 7:30 and packed my bags. . . I had to be downstairs at 9:00 to meet everyone, and I finished packing at 8:55. Haha, I know, I cut that kind of close. Well that left a 5 minute good-bye time with the host mother. This was "Hola Isabel. Pues, ahora me voy. Gracias para todo, y espero que nos veamos muy pronto." I handed her the keys, gave her a hug, and left. I walked outside with my two large bags and backpack. . . and headed towards the bus station not thinking that I was leaving Cadiz. . .Me with 3 people who changed my life in less than 4 months.
Me with 3 people who will never understand why I said thank you so much.
Yo con las 3 pichas mas guays en to er mundo.

Here is Jesús and I's Tiger Beat. XD

22 January 2009

¡Somos Niños! ¡No Pingüinos!

The schools here in Cadiz don't have a heating system, so we had an interesting huelga. We chanted "Somos niños! No pigüinos!" and bundled up in mantas for the first three hours. The way you get things accomplished here are a complete flip flop to how we do things in the U.S. I would say. So here are some pictures if you want to get a good laugh, like I did.

"Chillin" with the amigos. ;) Jajaja

So, I have two more blogs that I am for sure posting, be sure to check them out later this week. Its about my last weekend, and then about my experience in general. :D I am in London now, so this really is the last of my experience. . . and I can't believe its already over.

historía de mi vida

2º de Bachillerato A

Rebajas were probably the greatest shopping experiences in my life, not. Don't get me wrong, the sales were great. . . but it actually wasn't worth it in the end. I've lost about 70 Euros worth of clothing because of the "Puta Iberia". I left Carla's house on the 11th at like 6 a.m. and surprisingly it didn't feel so much as Deja Vu as I thought it was going to. Well, my suitcase was sent from Santiago de Compostela to Jerez, and so I didn't have to worry about picking it up in Madrid to have to resend it again. So I had a boring four hour airport experience in Madrid-Barajas Airport. I landed in Jerez at about 13:00 and Jesus and his dad were there to pick me up, which was the greatest thing in the world since I missed my gaditanos while I was gone. xD I retrieve my suitcase, and like any normal human being I head out the doors. I meet up with Jesus, then we head out, meet his dad again, and head back to Cadiz. Well, I get back to Cadiz in one piece, but the suitcase is another story. Jesus' family invited me to go eat with them, and so of course I'm not going to turn down a great meal, they had canellones! I took my suitcase home really quick and tried to switch out of my clothes to put something a little bit more presentable on. I went for the suitcase where my new clothes were, but when I opened the suitcase I found that I was missing about 6 shirts in total. My RSHS Soccer shirt, Lime Green Adidas, and then 4 of my new shirts that I just bought for Rebajas. I do not recommend flying with Iberia, even if the flights may be cheap. You will pay for terrible service and the possibility of your flight getting cancelled. I can't do anything about the shirts, because I didn't check the suitcase before I left the airport. Ah well. I still have 2 shirts that I liked.

Then my week started off to a great start on Monday. I told to everyone what the Kings had brought me, what I did over the break, and then that I was leaving on the 19th. This was one of the hardest things for me to take in, realizing that I had 1 week to get everything finished. So Monday, I finished my 25 Cool Things I Did In Spain presentation. Then Tuesday the 13th in Spain is "malsuerte". I was supposed to go ice skating in La Plaza San Antonio, but Jesus was sick and I wasn't about to just go by myself but whatever. This day I also stepped into a pot hole that was filled with water, and had to sit in school with wet pants which was a bit annoying. I'm glad Alvaro found it funny though. :/ Wednesday I went with Guille, Emy, and Jesus to Burger King for a small dinner. Then Thursday came and I told my math teacher, Pedro, good-bye which was fun because I got him off task for about thirty minutes and the class was really grateful for that. That night I went and played some baloncesto with the two Jesus', Fran, and some younger kids. . . and after that ate with Jesus' family again. I had to try this famous "pizza" that Jesus was raving about, so thank you Pedro for the bomb pizza, I wish I had some sort of skill to cook. Friday we actually had a huelga. I probably enjoyed this more than I should have, that will be another post though. I went to my last Recreo and the Churrete will be greatly missed. Ughh... que rico. So that was my last school week in a nutshell, all I can say is that I can't believe that I've already left. Fastest 4 months in my life, and I'd do it all over again in a heartbeat.My last Recreo... :(

06 January 2009

6 de enero

The big 1-8, cake 1.

¡Feliz Día de los Reyes Magos! I would like to say it was just like Christmas, but it wasn't. First of all I'd like to talk about this fiesta and why they celebrate it. In America we believe in Santa Clause, and here in Spain they believe in Papa Noel also. But 1 man has nothing compared to the 3 Kings. The 3 Kings are the 3 Wise Men that appeared at the scene of the Nativity, making January 6 Epiphany. Children here believe that the 3 Kings come to their house and each leave them something bigger and better than Papa Noel. 3:1, I think the Kings have Santa beat. Sorry Santa. ;)
The big 1-8, cake 2.

Cabalgata de los Reyes Magos is the parade for the 3 Kings. Its a procession that every town in Spain has, where the 3 Kings ride Camels or floats and throw candy to the children. This is usually the last chance that the kids can ask the 3 Kings for what they want for Reyes. Carla and I went to a shopping center here in Santiago, and I saw the 3 Kings. I begged her to let me go get a picture but she told me "NO!" so there is no picture of me with Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar. :(All of us were opening a gift at the same time. :)

Here they have a cake called Rosca de Reyes which is similar to "Hot-Cross-Buns" cake, and it has sugar on top. There is a surprise inside of the cake, and whoever finds that will have good luck for the rest of the year. So in other words, if you didn't eat your 12 grapes on New Years, you better be able to down a whole Rosca de Reyes. ;]

The presents waiting to get torn into.

Last night Carla and I went out because today (Jan. 6) is also my birthday. The big "diez y ocho". We went to an Italian Restaraunt, where here and her friends sang "Cumpleaños Feliz" to me, which was fun and different. Then we went out to a club and just chilled until around 1 a.m. We came home, Carla broke her toe sometime during the day (I don't understand how we waited until we came home to realize this), and then Carla and I just hung out until 5 a.m. when we finally went to bed to see what the 3 Kings had brought for us. =D

Mis regalos de "Gaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar"

I woke up at 1 (p.m.). . . but I was thinking we would wake up at 8 like normal families do to open presents. The 3 King treated me well with a new coat, new shoes and some "shibby" boxers. ;) It was probably my favorite birthday because the presents came in the morning and I didn't have to wait to be in front of my entire family to open them. Unfortunately I look like crap because I'm not happy about being 18, but what is done is done. Everything fit well also, so I don't have to go and try and change my clothes here. Whoo, thankfully.

A great birthday linner. ;)

Then came the lunch. I have a new feel good food, tortilla española, and I don't know what I am going to do without it when I go back. Now tortilla is better than Paella, hands down. There is no comparison there. So I had tortilla for my birthday lunchish, dinnerish, "linnerish" thing with chorizo, jamon, and another birthday cake. I uploaded a video to here, but it's not as great as the one that will be on YouTube, so I will let you know when that gets put on there.

Seeing old friends and feeling like I'm in a family has been great while I've been here at Carla's, I just can't believe that I'm leaving here in 5 days and I won't see Carla again until this summer if she decides to come back. So, Happy 3 Kings Day, and hope that your 2009 is off to a great start. I head to Cadiz on the 11, London on the 19, and home on the 1 of February so I'll be home soon. Hasta el proximo blog!Carla's brother is crazy, and I really don't like that relaxer that he is wearing. *chills*

Hola 2009!

Tamara,Sara, Andres, Carla, Me, Patri, and Ruben festejando!

So New Year's was one of the most different things that I have experienced since I've been in Spain. To start off the night, we had a huge dinner with all of Carla's family that consisted of seafood, tarts, and vino. Then as we waited for it to be 2009, everyone passed around 12 grapes. Here is the game plan: 12 grapes, 12 seconds. . . you have to eat all if you want good luck this new year.
I laugh because my sister saw this photo and asked, "Do you have to poop them out in 12 seconds too or what?"

So Carla and I went out with her friends to the discotecas at 2 a.m. (I like this lifestyle because being a night owl is normal and not frowned upon! xD) and got home at about 8 a.m. when it was just new years in the Rock. The night started out fun, with party favors in the first club, but by the time it was 7 I was so happy to be heading to get free Hot Chocolate and Churros. =D There is nothing better than Chocolate and Churros! Felicidades! 2009, wooo!

Mmm, I will miss churros and hot chocolate. Or Rachael and I will continue making churros that explode! Haha.