Hey guys welcome back. Sorry, I know this blog is really late but I was busy last month (or mostly lazy) but never mind I am back. So…. I have only 1 more month on my exchange and it feels really weird when I think about leaving this country and going back to India because this place is my new home. After spending almost one year in this place even the mere thought of moving from this place makes me sad and I still cannot believe how these 7 months have already past, it feels like it was yesterday that I boarded my flight to Spain, my first time travelling alone that too abroad. I vividly remember the moment I got down at the airport, we as a family went to eat lunch for the first time. And for the first time I ate pork jaws and paella.
During this exchange I met a lot of amazing people and surely I will miss all of them. Also during the exchange I was asked a lot of questions about why I came there but I never actually had a answer because I had honestly came just to experience how life, schooling and everything is outside India and to the people thinking of doing exchange, all I’ll say is DO IT. It will be the best decision of your life.
Now that it is the end of my exchange a lot of my friends tell me like, ” bro you haven’t studied for like one year and you’ll miss a few days of your college, how will you cope up and stuff?” and I am like chill dude everything will be fine. People also say that you are coming from a vacation and you will now have to work hard but what people sometimes don’t actually get is that its not a vacation because you have been living like this for 8 to 9 months and what you do there is now a part of your routine. You can’t just change it and continue your life like nothing was changed throughout the year, also like I’ve already said its always difficult going back to your country, changing your routine and just letting go of all the wonderful relations with the wonderful people we’ve met on the exchange. After all the experience i’ve had in the exchange I can say that:
Exchange isn’t a year in your life, it’s a life in a year.
Its a cold Friday morning and I am going to my host mom’s veterinary clinic to see around and later go to Cartagena by bus. I live in Valencia so the trip to there is like 4 hours and spending that much time in a bus alone is no easy thing, so I start writing my blogs and listening to music. Cartagena is like one of the oldest cities in the world which was ruled by the Romans and also has like the biggest port in Spain. So I am staying with my friend in Cartagena and the first thing we do is go and eat churros and look at the roman amphitheatre.
The weather was forecasted to be cold and chilly but somehow it was all warm and sunny around mid day. We woke up late around 11, freshened up and headed to the city where we walked around there and i bought some souvenirs: a lighter and a shot glass (only for collection purposes). We then headed to the port and had lunch around there in a nice small restaurant. After lunch we met up with another friend and walked all the beach which is a bit far and chilled there. I also found a couple of my favourite things in a store which is not usual in Spain: Mountain Dew and kit kat ice cream.
And the last day is here. I had a train back home at around 4, so we planned that we would do nothing but go for a morning walk. The weather was playing with us, everyday we would expect that it will be cold but that day too was hot af. Though the morning walk was good walking bout 8 kms in an hour, we also a roman stone mining site from where the Romans mined stones. And finally after having lunch with his family left for home via train.
Thanks Joe Page for the great weekend.
The day for which I was waiting for a long time is finally here. I was finally going to the Rotary weekend in Alicante where all the exchange students in Spain will be present. I was going to Alicante in train with my friend. The travel by the trains are really good and comfy, it felt like traveling in a plane. We reached Alicante in about an hour and half and waiting for me there on the station was my bro, Seth. The second problem that was we had a lot of time but nothing to do, so we did what anyone can always do. We went to have coffee, did window shopping, went to a TGB(to those who don’t know what this is, its a really cool burger place with hella lot of good burgers and varieties. I would suggest ya’ll to go there) and finally stopped at a outdoor cafe to chill.
We then went to the meeting place where all the exchange students gathered to meet up and then went to our hostels.
We went to a island near Alicante called Tabarca in a big boat. Its a really small but very beautiful island which was the home to the fishing community which is now decreased so as to preserve nature. People also have a few vacation houses there and is normally full of people in the summer. There was also a tiny museum there with the stuff found there. We then returned to the hostel for a big Saturday dinner and party organised by rotary and it was damn, I also got a good number of pins for my blazer and were dancing there till 3. We also had a Indian song played for me and a fellow Indian to dance by an exchange student who had been in india because we had worn our traditional dress.
Well it was the last day and because I had my train a bit late in the day so I had pass a lot of time but the Rotex had come to wait with us until we left so that was fun too. All in all that was an excellent weekend that I got to spend with my friends from all over the world. I just love my exchange.
Hey all, its been a long time I have written anything and right now I am on a long bus trip to Cartagena, Murcia and better than writing blogs to pass the time and tell you all what all happened in the last three months.
December was a quiet and a normal month until the time of the month comes. Yes, you guessed it right, Christmas!!! Well not only was it my first Christmas away from home but my first actual one (yes, I am not a Christian but I celebrate Christmas, surprise hahaha). So this was a Spanish Christmas and the most weird thing I experienced is that you don’t get presents on Christmas Day. Weird, right? I had woken up in hope of some good gifts but I couldn’t find any under the tree and anywhere in the house, so I ask my host mom where she has hidden them and she says “oh, we don’t give gifts on Christmas, we give it on a different festival called ‘dia de tres Reyes’ ” and I was like WHAT??!! What is Christmas without presents but no pasa nada. The days till new year’s passed quickly and I didn’t have any idea what day was it and what was happening.
NEW YEAR’S DAY
The New year feeling was setting, I was going to have dinner with my family and then go to the ayuntamiento for the new year’s party. The atmosphere there was phenomenal with so many people, tonnes of beer bottles and music. Also there is a tradition in Spain that for you wear red underwear and eat grapes one per second for a good and lucky next year. I met up with my friends, we roamed around, did stupid stuff, danced Salsa and finally went back home at around 4 in the morning.
I am such a person who will wake up at 8 in the morning the next day after partying till 4. So I go down, make myself some tea and drink it with nice music(with the headphones on of course). That my friends is true heaven and then at around 10 or something my host mom comes in the kitchen and says “We are going to Madrid next week, start planning.” There friends was my reward for wearing red underwear on new year’s dinner. So I start planning everyday to do everything I cant do in India like visit estadio Santiago Bernabéu, go to the Harry Potter exhibition in Madrid.
So we leave on Friday morning for Madrid and it was like we were the only ones going there because we were almost racing to Madrid with an average speed of 110-120 kph . We reached there in about 3.5 hrs, roamed around, then I went to the Harry Potter exhibition all alone using the metro’s which I almost mastered in a day. The exhibition was super cool featuring the actual props used in the movies and all, I also bought some cool stuff like the elder wand, dark mark blazer pin, tattoos and Bertie botts every flavour beans and I would just say one thing they literally mean every flavour.
The next day I went to Parque Retiro to meet some friends in Madrid, we hung around in the park and went to a Mexican restaurant and a cool ass rolled ice cream place in Sol. We then went to some more places whose names I don’t remember, we even had strawberry flavoured Fanta and finally went to 100 mountaditos for snacks. Also I would recommend 100 mountaditos it is a kind of snack-bar where you get montaditos (mini sandwiches), sandwiches and a lot of stuff for less than 3 euros.
It was our last day in Madrid and I went complete one of my dreams to go the Santiago Bernabéu, those who don’t know what it is(how???) it is the home ground of Real Madrid and did the stadium tour. The feeling was brilliant, I saw all the trophies they have won and I realised that this is the reason they are the best. I went into the press room, sat where Zidane sits, went to the changing rooms and went to the pitch, stood where Zidane stands, sat where Bale sits. It was just amazing, from there I went to my hotel and returned to Valencia after having lunch.
Soon enough it was 6th January ‘día de tres reyes’. Its a Spanish festival about three kings, its also the day you get many gifts and I was excited for that day since a long time. We had a big family lunch with chicken, fish, veggies and all, I also had made an Indian sweet for them. We then played bingo and finally it was time for gifts, I gifted my sister some earrings and a wall art, to my host mom, aunt, grandma I gifted a wooden carved elephant, the elephant was carved in such a way that there was a baby elephant in side the bigger elephant and all of it was made from a single piece of wood. As for me I got Real Madrid mobile cover, Champions League limited edition perfume and deodorant, a jacket, a watch and a Real Madrid pouch.
The next weeks went as per routine but on 27th January, my dream to watch Real Madrid play live in the stadium. I had the bought the first sector tickets for Valencia vs Real Madrid behind the goal which costed about 90 euros. It was so thrilling to watch them live and that too from so near, the atmosphere is great and you just sense the great rivalry between them the moment you go in the stadium. Also just before the match many people were criticising Ronaldo for not scoring and said that he should be dropped. Well, the match was tight slap in their face as Ronaldo scored twice followed awesome goals by Toni Kroos and Marcelo winning the match Valencia 1- 4 Real Madrid. That was honestly the end of month I could have asked for.
Also tune for the next blog. Hope you all are having a good time.
So the day is finally here, the 18th of October 2017, the day I go to my home away from home, Spain. The day started with me feeling nervous and excited at the same time, I had my flight that night at midnight and since the morning I had only one work to do, finish packing and before I knew it was already afternoon. My mom had made my favourite dish Butter Chicken cause I wasn’t going to eat it for a whole year. So after all packing was done and all the documents were in place, I went to meet my friends and started chatting and before I knew it was time to leave. My best friend came with me to drop me at the airport. At 10 o’clock I was at the airport and I was like you are alone now, no friends, no family. It was also the first time I was going to travel by air alone that to all alone.
After passing customs, immigrations, I was now standing at the gates waiting for boarding to start and finally the time comes I step in the flight to Switzerland where I had a stopover for 6 hours which was boring af.
I landed in Zurich at about 6 in the morning and when I saw outside it was so dark that it looked as if it was 12 o’clock at midnight. After passing the time somehow I boarded my flight to Valencia. I was really excited that I was going to meet my host family with whom was gonna stay for a year. With each passing second my excitement was increasing 10 folds, I knew that to pass the time I had there was only one option ‘SLEEP’. So after sleeping for about one and half hour I landed in Valencia at 2 in the afternoon. It was an amazing feeling to be in a new country and seeing so many people coming to welcome you, I had just met my whole host family along with a inbound, Liz like me from America who lives near my house.
The first thing we did as a family was to go out for lunch just after I landed in Valencia. The first Spanish food I ate as soon as I reached Valencia was to eat ‘Paella’ with meat. After a beautiful lunch we went home I was introduced with my house and my new pets.
So I started my school the next day and the moment I entered in my class everyone was looking like woah!!! a foreign student and everyone started asking me where I am from and taking my instagram id. So I made a few friends in the school in the first couple of weeks and they are very friendly.
On 21st of September I met all my fellow inbounds in Valencia- Liz, Josie, Wade from America, Anaé from France, Hayden and Kate from Canada and Claire from Taiwan
I started playing basketball for the local team called ‘C.B.Pobla’. On the 7th of October I went to the city with Liz and Claire for window shopping and because we wanted to eat Taco Bell and it is only in the city. After having dinner we were walking near the city council building when we met a classmate of Liz, Leonie who is a inbound from Germany
On 8th of October I, Liz and Claire went to the city to see the fireworks at night as a part of the fiesta of 9th of October.
I visited the city on the 9th of october for ‘dia de communidad valenciana’ and even saw a parade in which people were dressed in various costumes and danced. We have been having a lot of fun recently, on 11th October we had planned to go to a discomobil in Valencia city but when we reached there we knew that the discomobil was cancelled and we had nothing to do. So we decided to go to a discoteca along with two other inbounds from Denmark and Germany from a different organisation, Olivia from Denmark and Leonie from Germany.
On12th October I, Josie and Kate went to the city to just roam around, so we went to a cafe a I had something called the Catalan cake which was like dark chocolate cream filled between two slices of bread which is covered in cocoa powder and coffee. It was also the first time I travelled in the public bus.
On the 14th of October I had my first basketball game, though we lost the game it was pretty fun. At night I went to a discomobil with my friends from my college, which was right in front of our college. I met a lot of friends from my class and enjoyed the night.
The next day I, Wade and Hayden went for trekking at a mountain near Bejis with our families. It took us about 5 hours to complete the trek and walked about 7 kilometres. When we reached the top of the mountain we clicked some photos with the flags from our countries after which I went to my host aunts house to taste a cake she had made ending the day on a high note. It was hectic and one the best weeks I ever had and on Monday the 16th I completed my first month in Spain.
Nothing much happened the next days just the normal routine but on 28th of October I went to Oktoberfest with my friends that was also the time the times in Europe changed and we experienced an hour again. At 3 AM the time changed and went one hour back, so after 2:59 AM it was 2 AM again. It felt weird and I can now say that I just time travelled.
The next day I went to the beach with my family coz they had some activities as they are in a swimming club. At first it was boring because I was left all alone playing with sand and listening to music like a 8 year old. But after some of their activities ended we went to had paella and after coming back to the beach I decided to go in the sea. (ps. I do not know swimming and am damn scared to enter the sea)
On Monday my birthday week started and I was damn excited cause I was going to a disco night the next night and we were having a huge party at our house. On halloween at around 12 I left my house for disco where I met friends from school and had a lot of fun. We finally started to enter the disco area but there were about 300 people in front of us and at some things went so bad that they had to call police and the bouncers for crowd control we finally entered after an hour and a half but I had lost my friends in that and that sucked a bit. Nevertheless I had a big party coming up in a few hours.
On 1st November which is my birthday at around 11 my host aunt from Madrid arrived at our house followed by my moms family members. At 12:30 all my friends and their host parents started to arrive, my uncle started to make a paella for about 35 people while we were having snacks and soda. We had lunch at around 2:30 and after lunch we had songs on my speakers while we played some games. I then cut 3 cakes for my birthday brought by the parents and then I received gifts. I was damn happy I had got like a pair of shoes, 2 shirts, a jacket, a wallet, a pair of flip flops and finally my friends gave me a official Valencia FC football which was signed by them in their own languages after all everyone is from a different country. So finally at 6 everyone went back to their homes and I was so tired that I went to sleep at around 8:30. It was one the best birthdays I ever had thanks to my family and friends. Love you all!!!!
The day started with me waking at 5 o’clock in the morning with a freezing temperature of 6 degrees and almost getting humped by my Seth’s dog. We left the house at 6:30 after having a quick breakfast and at around 6:50 we reached the bus spot waiting for the others. At first in the bus I felt quite lonely because I am kind of an introvert and also because I knew nobody, but as time passed we started talking and by the time we reached Granada we had already became a one nice group. The first destination we visited was La Alhambra which was like a small city built by the Arabs when they ruled Spain. We saw a lot of beautiful palaces and gardens and had a really good time together.
We then went to our hotel for our dinner and honestly that was the WORST dinner I ever had like the beef was sweet, the rice was tasteless and everything was bad. So we just went out to the city centre for eating something and roaming around the city, eating ice cream and watching all the Christmas trees lit up in the city. So we returned to the hotel 12 in the morning and slept immediately as we had to get up real early the next day.
So we woke up at 7:30, took a bath real quick because we had to pack our bags as were going to Sevilla that day after going to Balcon de San Nicolas, which was very cool and we could see almost the whole city from there, we also had a lot of cool pics.
We reached Sevilla at lunch time and had a really nice lunch compared to what we had the last night, we had pasta, chicken nuggets and fries. We then went to discover the city of Sevilla and honestly it is one of the best cities I have ever seen. We also went to the cathedral where there is the tomb of Christopher Colombus. We climbed the whole cathedral to the top and the view was magnificent. I then went with my BB my friend from Thailand to look around and had coffee with the others. We then had dinner at the hotel and after the dinner our group gathered in a room and spent the night talking and playing. It was one of the best night of my life, we finally went to sleep at 2 though we had to get up at 7 the next morning.
The day started as usual, we had a bath, had breakfast and sat in the bus for going to the La Alacazar, which is another monument built by the Arabs. It was so damn beautiful, it had a great garden and a maze. It was exactly the garden I want for my dream house, after that we walked around the small village which was built around it. We finished the visit at around 11:30 and then we had the entire the day off and at 7 we were going to a Flamenco show in the centre because Flamenco is the regional dance of Andalusia.
So we started to go for lunch looking for a nice and local place to eat. We finally found a nice place to eat and ordered some really great food, we had goat’s cheese with honey and crunchy bread, mushrooms in oil and herbs and finally tortilla con patata. We then walked all around the whole city buying some stuff or doing something. We went to Playa de España and clicked some really cool photos of us with our flags from our countries. It was then time for the Flamenco show and it was great, it was totally worth going because I thought that it would be lame and boring but it was the total opposite. Also it was the last night we all were together so we talked for hours, played frisbee’s and danced like crazy. We finally went to sleep at 2, I realised that night I couldn’t have asked for better friends to stay and hangout with and the next day was our last day and we would return to our houses, so I would miss them.
Having being slept at 2 AM last night, we had pretty late morning with the alarm ringing for about an hour until finally waking up at 8, I hurriedly took a bath and went to have breakfast with Seth, Michael and Taylor, my roommates. We first went to Plaza de España where we took some photos and played frisbee while some girls put on music on their speakers and started dancing. Some tourists even stopped to click photos with them and after some time we got into the bus to return to Alicante.
We were going to stop for lunch in Granada which was like 3 hours away so, as usual we put on music and started doing some timepass. Then suddenly the organisers started giving us some small pieces of paper with numbers on them, it was like a lottery and they would give some gifts to the numbers which would come out and I got a small bag which we carry around the waist and the people who got nothing got hats which were pretty cool, we even signed some of the hats as memory.
At around 2 we got down for lunch, the organisers had given us 6 euros each for buying something and what I got was a hamburger and a coke and it costed 8.5 euros, I was thinking that even a mcdonalds would be better as it is damn cheaper than this and is of better quality. So after lunch we got into the bus and I immediately fell asleep and had a nice one and a half hour nap. It was already 5 when I woke up and that meant that we all were only together for another 3 hours. So we put on music, talked and enjoyed to the fullest. I gave everyone my pins from India and everyone was like “Wow they are so cool, can I take them?” And I was like thats why I brought them in the first place so that you can take.
As our first stop ‘Murcia’ got nearer we all got a bit sad and depressed because we would not see each other for a very long time and also the Australians would be leaving Spain in January and we wouldn’t be able to meet each other as they lived quite far. In Murcia when some of my friends got down and especially when Sophie got down we all got really emotional and I literally cried after 3 months. As a matter of fact I had not cried at the Mumbai airport when I was leaving my family, friends and everything and going to a new country all alone. I think that was because I was too damn excited to start my exchange and I did not want to do it by crying.
In an hour we were in Alicante ready to back to home, we all promised that we all would meet again sometime and give our Aussie friends a good farewell. So that was an end to a great tour we had, I really hope that we have more such tours.
Thanks to Seth, Michael, Taylor, Ashtyn, Hannah, Eva,Gabby, Sophie, Lily, Mia, Daniela, Jeeya, BB, Kate and all the others for making this tour such a great one. Love you all.