Half year through

When I applied to ASSIST, I never imagined how great this experience would be. It seems like yesterday when we were saying goodbye to everything back home and first got here, but it has been 5 months! I don’t really know how it ended up being Christmas. It’s not like I hadn’t seen any Christmas lights, listened to any Christmas songs or dressed up with Christmas sweaters a month before Christmas but I guess time goes by very fast.

My family came to visit me and that made me the happiest person ever! I have to admit I had missed my family more than anything and it’s hard being so far away… They arrived the last day of school before break and got to meet my school, teachers and friends. I think they liked everything as much as I do. Only my sister speaks fluent English but my friends tried to throw out some Spanish words. One of my friends told my parents “happy birthday” instead of “merry Christmas” but they knew what she meant so that’s good. On the 23rd, they came to dinner with my host family and it was one of the funniest things you could ever see. Bradlie (my host) got to practice her Spanish. It was nice that they got to see where I am and how great everyone is treating me. We later went to New York, which was so much fun, but they left on the 29th… That same day I came back to Philly and I was very glad I was going that same day to Lake Placid with my host family, because I knew how homesick I would have been that day.ImageImage

The funny part of all is that after packing again in an hour, one of the tires broke after 15 minutes! I guess that having 7 people, two dogs and all our suitcases was too much for the wheel. Lake Placid was fun! We went skiing one day and another day, we went snowmobiling. I had never been that cold! It was freezing! In New Year’s Eve in Spain we have the tradition of eating (chocking) 12 grapes the last 12 seconds of the year. Each grape means luck in every month and after you eat them all you make a wish. We all ate the 12 grapes (or 14 because we add 2 more in some cups) or unless we tried to! After a couple of days there, we went to a cabin in Hemlock Pond where we had to pull a 4-wheeler out of the pond. All the family came for a last Christmas reunion and it was nice to meet the other side of my host family.ImageImage

Now Christmas break is over and we are back at school. On Monday we started a program called JTerm in which each student selects a course to take during that period of time. There are courses about history, literature, photography, music, art… I am in “Escape from the Western Diet”. It is about food and how to eat healthy. We are going to cook next week and I am pretty excited about that! Tomorrow we are going to Chipotle to see how bad fast food is and then to a farm to see how quality matters. Today was 0F/-16C and I seriously froze so I hope it will be warmer tomorrow. Ohh tomorrow is HUUUUUMP day! Happy early hump day! hahahah I have a great obsession with this…

In three weeks I am moving to my next host family! This seemed so far away… This year has been great so far and I cannot wait to see what’s coming next (hopefully some warmer weather and some Spanish homemade food!).

Happy New Year!

Lucía

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A month in the States

We have been more than a month in our new American schools and I think we are all enjoying our year so far. School is hard! Or unless it is for me… There are tons of homework, quizzes and tests to be ready for and I get home so tired from soccer… But I really enjoy my classes. Today I got assigned a pen pal from 4th grade and his name is Nik!

Yesterday we had Vesper and Aurora Day! We were divided in Vesper (blue) and Aurora (white), and then into smaller groups according to my school stripes: self-control, honesty, respect… I was a Vesper and my stripe was respect. So we all played against each other in stupid games. We had to go up a hill in which they had put a plastic with soap!! In another game we had to ride a really small tricycle around campus…. It was so much fun!

Mr. Milne and Mr. Eidam from ASSIST came to visit Xander and I at EA. After the meeting, I realized how lucky we both are: we are in a great school, with great host families that help us so much and people are so nice to us. Also, we are all very fortunate to be here: “From a pool of 1,650 applications, 725 finalists were invited to an interview, and 161 were accepted as ASSIST Scholars (a 10% acceptance rate).”

To those who haven’t been to a football game yet, go to one!! They are so much fun! Two weeks ago, we had a “white-out” at the football game. Everyone wore white and everyone was so into the game! I didn’t actually understand anything about the game but we won! Two of the football players were taken out of the game and taken to the hospital… Football is pretty intense!

Living this experience makes me really happy! I have already gained so much and it has only been a bit more than a month…

Enjoy your days! I hope you are all having a great time!

Lucía

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School

School started on Wednesday and it has been pretty hard. I am in a school with all Americans as we are only three international students in the school: a Chinese, an Australian boy from ASSIST and me so I need to get used to the American classes. People have been very nice to me in the past days which is nice as everything is new for us. However, Americans love Spanish accent but hopefully, by the end of the year it will be gone.
We are on our way back from a soccer game in New Jersey! It is so much fun to travel with the whole team but I am so tired! I am literally going to sleep till midday tomorrow!
To sum up, school is hard and even harder if sports are intense! But being an international student is great! I am very thankful for ASSIST because this is the most incredible experience we will ever live. So thank you so much!
Lucía

PD* I couldn’t post it yesterday because my wifi was bad on the bus…

First day of school ’10th grade!

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America

Orientation was an incredible experience! It was so much fun and even the last night we made last minute friendships! There were so many good moments that Orientation will be unforgettable.

My host family has been great to me and I’m falling in love with Tibby (the dog). The first day I visited my school was awful. I had soccer pre-season and it was so hard. Four whole hours of running and playing! Definitely, I wasn’t in shape so seeing the enormous campus after those intense four hours was really difficult. Now, I can say EA is an incredible school. The people I have met so far have been very nice to me and the school looks great!

For now, I have tried peanut butter, Reeses and loads of American candy. My host family has taken me to DC,to Passenger’s concert, to Mumford and Sons’ concert in New York (we had second row after waiting outside for six hours!), to King of Prussia (it is the second biggest mall in America or USA)… There are so many things to try and visit…

Today, I have two soccer games and afterwards, I am going to my first football game!! It is gonna be a long and exciting day.

This claims to be one of the best years of our life!

Lucía

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1 day

My suitcases are finally ready but it has been so difficult to close them… Like Andrea said in her post it’s difficult to express how we are feeling with this huge adventure ahead of us. I’m feeling weird: excited, anxious, worried, hopeful, eager, thrilled… all at the same time!

Tomorrow will be our last day in our countries and everything will be prepared to go. I never thought the time would ever arrived but only 1 day to go! It’s funny how I used to countdown time a couple of months ago!

Orientation claims to be incredible and I’m willing to see what each country does for “Traditions of Our Cultures”. Spain has a brilliant idea 🙂 After Orientation, we will travel to our homes for next year. I know some scholars start school right after Orientation while others will go camping; some others will have sports activities in their school or school trips. My school doesn’t start until after Labor Day, but soccer pre-season starts two days after my arrival. Hopefully, I will be able to move after it!

As Episcopal Academy is a day school, I’ll have two host families (each one through half the year). They both seem really nice and willing to show me everything.

I look forward to meeting you all!

Lucía

3 days left!

Today a mail from the travel agency arrived: “The countdown has begun – next week you are already in the U.S. and the “adventure America” has begun.” I’m really excited about how time flies so fast!

I’d like to thank ASSIST and all those people who make this experience possible for all of us! I think we are all very very thankful and excited for this huge adventure!

Keeping up this blog is way more difficult than we imagined. Yesterday, our posts (about who we are) were popping up anywhere but we’re working on it. Hope you enjoy reading this.

Good luck getting ready!

Lucía

Almost ready

4 days to go! My suitcases are almost full and I have said goodbyes to most friends and family. Still, I get messages from friends who want to see me once more before leaving or friends who are away on holidays and want to wish me good luck. Maybe I will only realize we won’t see for so long when I’m on the plane… 

I need to say I’m nervous, really nervous. I’m taking with me 1 big suitcase, 1 little suitcase plus a backpack but it feels like it’s not enough! It feels weird to leave Madrid, my family and everyone I know for so long. People keep telling me what an amazing experience we’re all about to live and I’m sure we will.

After all this waiting, time is almost here. Can’t wait to meet you all in Orientation!

Lucía