After 3 flights and one car ride with a driver who got lost I’ve made it to Alcoy, Spain =) I drove to Grand Rapids with my family on Friday, and flew out Saturday afternoon. (Thank God for no 5am flights this time!!) I stopped over in Detroit and had about an hour layover, then to JFK in New York for a few hours. Flying into New York, looking over the city, I was left wishing I had a longer layover so I could go out and explore the city! NYC is on my 25 before 25 list and I’d love to visit soon.
* * *
Sat, Jun 30. 7:42pm JFK New York
Here’s a first: I wish my layover was longer. Flying into New York, seeing the skyline, I want to go explore this city. The airport is super busy, but for such an important international link I’d expect it to feel bigger. It doesn’t “feel” like a huge airport. First thing off the plane I booked it to Starbucks, and am now pleasantly caffeinated :) (Although I really could go for a second frappachino ;) ) GR to Detroit and Detroit went smooth. Detroit is a loooong airport. Not too big, but LONG. They have a nice little tram that takes you from one end to the other, though.
I’m supposed to meet up with some others in the team here, but with all the people roaming about I have no idea how to figure out who is who. (Well, I have an idea, but shouting names at the top of my lungs in Terminal 3 doesn’t sound like fun right now…)
I’m watching The Illusionist right now, watching the battery on my computer drain and lamenting the lack of free wifi. If that isn’t the largest oversight at JFK airport I don’t know what is.
* * *
P.S. Another reason not to like JFK Airport: They don’t have electrical outlets!!!! I had to go to the “buisness center” aka vending machine and pay phone to use one of the two outlets. I stood there in the corner, leaning against the wall, while my laptop charged holding my bag and reading a book. C’mon, this is New York! Even Detroit has power outlets next to the seats!
I ended up meeting with the group rather by accident (I had a seat next to Abby and Nick, two other volunteers). We started chatting the normal “fellow passenger” where are you going, why, blah blah blah I’m-sitting-next-to-you-for-the-next-8-hours-so-let’s-be-friends and they said they were working at an English Camp, and we kinda figured it out from there :)
The drive from Valencia to Alcoy…. It was super smoky and felt dirty because there is a huge fire outside of the city right now. Walking outside the airport your could see ashes in the air and it smelled like fire strongly.
We arrived in Valencia around 11:30am and Mark Hanson was there to get us loaded up and on our way to Alcoy. A salty older British fellow was our driver, and although he didn’t know how to get to the right road so well we eventually made it here ; ) I was incredibly sleepy sitting doing nothing on the drive over, and almost fell asleep. Mark told us that we needed to stay up until at least 8:30pm in order to adjust to the jet lag. (There is a 6 hr difference) After we organized ourselves at the school and unloaded some supplies for camp our families came to the school and picked us up. Last night was the European Cup, Spain vs. Italy and Carlos and Edu had another couple over and we had dinner and watched the game. I made it until the 2nd goal was scored around 9:30pm then had to go crash. I’m still not sure how many hours I had been awake but I knew it was time to sleep when I couldn’t think of the work “hablar” (to talk, in Spanish… your most basic word haha)
I’m currently relaxing on the porch at the apartment I’m staying at after a successful first day of English Camp. When I arrived yesterday I expected some sort of instruction/information about what was going to be expected of me as far as my responsibilities at the camp went, what kids I would have, etc etc but no. All I was given was a name tag, neon yellow shirt, and a schedule of what classes my team, the “orange team” were supposed to be in at what time. I knew from previous emails that I was with Joni, a gal from out west and that there were also 2 Spanish helpers, but I didn’t have their names. Needless to say I was a bit confused, but everything went surprisingly well and we had a great time! My role is essentially a supervisor/coordinator/translator for my group of kiddos. Jordi, a guy from here speaks a little more English than I do Spanish, and Aitana a little less. We have 15 5-6 year old boys and girls, and take them from class to class throughout the morning. Camp starts at 9:30am and goes until 1. We take the group from room to room at the school, starting with an English class first, then sports, art, singing, etc. I’m so happy I was placed with the age group I have, they are so precious! They don’t speak a lot of English, so I’m trying to find a good balance between communicating what I want to say (which I have to do in Spanish) and helping them learn a little English. We do have one little girl who is British (her mom is helping with the camp) and has the most adorable little accent. I didn’t realize that at first until we were sitting in English Class going over “My name is ____” “I am 5 year old” and she started rambling away =P. She will talk to me in English and in Spanish, which is kind of funny because she doesn’t realize I’m a native English speaker and people will graviate towards speaking English with you I’ve noticed.
My host family is great. Carlos and Edu have a daughter Maria, who is 5 and in my group at English Camp. Edu and I speak Spanish together, but she is going to English classes at the school starting tonight. I’ll be helping out with those classes 2 times a week for the first 2 weeks, then full time the last 2. Carlos lived in England for a while so we speak English so he can practice. They have this wonderful little apartment and I have my own room+bathroom. They are so welcoming and Carlos has told me many times that “this is your home, do what you like!”
um, yeah, we have a pool. I’m happy.
my pink princess room :) // the living room
the porch // snazzy mirror
the view from the porch
the street below. perfect street photog opps.
Tonight we are headed out for a walk around the city…. lots of sweet pics to come! I’d say I miss you all but I honestly don’t yet ;) (I shouldn’t say these things, should I?) haha I LOVE YOU ALL!