Monday, April 29, 2013

A Weekend of Rain

Barcelona has been very wet and overcast lately.

Even though it was overcast on Saturday, I
toured Galdi's "Casa Batllo," as seen below. 

Gaudi's style is modern and it resembles a lot of nature. 
Gaudi is unique because in his day, he was recognized as being a great artist and architect. 
My audio-guide said that after his death by a train hit, people were saddened as they followed his casket down the streets of Barcelona. 

Above, the house looks like the ocean and the ribs of an animal. 

Above, Gaudi's house resembles the spine of a dragon. The roof is thought to be inspired by the legend of Sant Jodi.

Above are the souvenirs from my visit. 

Sunday evening, my friends and I went to see traditional Spanish dance and singing. The show was entitled, "Opera y Flamenco." It was spectacular! 

Before the show, we ate crepes nearby. I had chocolate walnut crepe, Nichole had chocolate strawberry crepe, and Evan had chocolate and ice-cream crepe! 

Our show started at 9:30 pm and ended around 11:00 pm. Below is the beautiful inside of the Palau De La Musica where we saw our show! 

Beautiful place and beautiful show! 

Below is a short video of what the traditional dance was like. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Embracing the Culture

While at CRMSI, I have been embracing the culture. 

Students at CRMSI come from families who are being affected by an economic crisis. 
Students are using what they have and are using their resources sparingly.
The first thing students do when they arrive in their classrooms is put on their smocks and pray. The smocks are used to protect their clothes from school play and activities.   
The students keep their school supplies organized in zipped pouches and their school books in cubbies.
The classrooms have their own library organized from student's books from home.
Barcelona is a big city with a close community. 
I love seeing mothers out having an hour and a half coffee together.
After school, parents are talking to teachers while kids are playing on the playground.

Even though the 1st grade boys have similar likes such as, football, motorbikes, and puzzles, they are their own, unique person. The pictures below clearly show that a simple task, such as decorating a robot, can look very different!    

Today, the students were introduced to the seven continents of the world including Antarctica, North America, South America, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania. It was fun watching the students guess at the locations!   

Today, Mrs. Laura took me to the "Palau De La Musica." The opera house is showing an ongoing, successful production of, "Opera y Flamenco" next week! Since Barcelona is expecting a lot of rain, I'm hoping to attend the performance.  

Below are pictures from the Cathedral of Barcelona (La Seu). 

Below are pictures from a boat ride.

 I have less than two weeks left in Barcelona! I am embracing every moment of it. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sant Jordi's Day

Today was a special day because it was Saint George's Day.
There is an old legend that dates back to the 13th century.
Saint George was a knight who saved a princess from a dragon.
From the dragon's wounds came a deep red rose.
This rose was given to the princess.
As a tradition, the girls are given roses and the boys are given books.

Below are pictures from Saint George's day at school. It was like a Valentine's celebration.

Making roses

Miss Mary and I with our treat. 

This was a cool pop-up book. 

I bought the book seen above since it goes along with the celebration. The story is written in Catalan but I had Sofia translate it to English. 

Below is where I went to lunch near the school. Chocolate-Box had cakes decorated for the celebration!

Below is a book-selling that was seen all over Barcelona. 

Below, students are reading the books they brought to school. 

Above, a student is making a "come cocos" (head-eater), which is a paper folding game. I have been using this game to help the students with their English. 
Above, students are also playing a game of "tail on the dragon." The students are using their English skills to help their partner connect the tail to the dragon. 

A student's coloring

The whole city of Barcelona was full of books, roses, and celebration!
Happy Sant Jordi's Day!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Saturday in Rome

Another day in Rome!
We started the day with a tour of the Catacombs.

 Pictures were not allowed underground but, we took pictures around the land.

Our tour for the Forum and Colosseum started at 3 pm. 
It felt great taking our time. 
Before the Catacombs, we were on the bus for at least an hour not knowing where we were...

Below are pictures from our tour of the Forum and the Colosseum. 

Romans did not burry bodies in the city because they thought the dead were "impure." However, Christians did not think the same way. Instead, they would burry bodies within the walls, as seen above.
The buildings have holes because the holes were left from the mounted marble. All buildings were covered in marble; there would have been no bricks exposed. 

Above is an original street. 

Below is where Julius Caesar's ashes were located. His body was burned within the city so, there were disagreements. Many thought Caesar was a god so, he could not be impure. Others thought different. Since there were disagreements, the new emperor had a building built around his ashes to keep the people happy with him.

It's hard to imagine the city as it once was 2,000 ago. The buildings were once covered in marble and in lots of color.  

Heading to the Colosseum with our tour guide. 

The colosseum had four levels of seating. In order, there were senators, gladiators, middle class, and last, women. Women sat far away because they were considered less important and, they loved gladiators. 

There are holes in the structure because people would dig out the valuable metal from inside. 

We arrived back in beautiful Barcelona and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon!  

Friday in Rome

What did I want to do when I first arrived in Rome? I wanted to eat real, Italian food.
Since our plane was scheduled to depart at 6:20 am, we woke up at 4:30 am to meet our taxi for the airport.

We finally arrived in Rome around 8:00 am on Friday; we had a full day ahead of us!

By the time we found our hostels, unloaded our backpacks, and found our tour destination for 1 pm,
we were hungry! Below is Evan, Nichole and I with our first, real Italian pizzas!

My first bite.   
While in Rome, I was able to experience Italian cappuccinos, pizzas, ice cream, lasagna, pasta, and ravioli. Below is a picture of me with a delicious plate of (fresh from the kitchen) lasagna! So good.
Eating before our tour through the Roman Forum and Colosseum Saturday. 
 Below are pictures of our tour. We saw the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica. 

The Vatican
Statues of Michelangelo (left) and Raphael (right). 

I recognized Laocoon and His Sons from my college history class. 

The story goes that Laocoon was a priest. 

He was famous for warning the Trojans of the wooden, Trojan Horse. 
This horse was presented to the city by the Greeks. 

The Trojans disregarded Laocoon's advice so, Laocoon threw his spear at the horse in anger. 

Poseidon (who was supporting the Greeks) sent his sea-serpents to strangle Laocoon and his two sons. 

Below is the famous painting of Plato and Aristotle.

Below is the famous sculpture of Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's. 
The sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary in grief as she holds Christ in her arms. 

In front of St. Peter's Basilica

The pope was nowhere to be found. 

After touring the Vatican Museum for 3 hours, we grabbed ice cream at a place recommended by a local. I savored every bit of my chocolate and cookie ice cream! 

After eating dinner and walking around the streets, we saw the Pantheon and the Trevi Fountain.