Sunday, July 25, 2010

Week 6

We have reached the end of our journey. The kids have enjoyed the summer immensely. They have grown in many ways and will return to the US with a new perspective. They will never forget this experience and they are sad to leave Ciudad Real. I am sure that many of them will return in the future, but the magic of this summer can never be repeated.

This past week we went to the Corrida de toros in Manzanares which was an interesting cultural experience for them. Many said it was good to see once but that they would probably not go to see another bullfight. Tuesday evening we went to Almagro for the Corral de Comedias. Almagro is a lovely little town. We arrived early, took a short walk, ate sandwiches in the Plaza Mayor and went to see El condenado por desconfiado by Tirso de Molina. This is a traditional play from the 17th century. We had discussed the plot in class so the kids had general understanding. It was presented in old Spanish and was therefore a challenge to understand. The production was well done and I think that most of them enjoyed the experience.

Last night was the Farewell show. The kids presented two short plays and sang several Spanish songs for the host families. There were quite a few tears at the end of the program and there will be many more on Tuesday morning as we leave Ciudad Real.

It has been an amazing summer and I am lucky to have had the opportunity to spend it with a wonderful group of people.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fourth of July

The kids sang the national anthem for the host families.

More photos

Monday, July 12, 2010


I have neglected the blog this past week. Our Fourth of July fiesta was a success. The families all brought traditional Spanish foods and everyone seemed to have a good time. The next day was the quarterfinal Spain/Paraguay game. In the end, most of the kids watched the game with family and friends. A few of us went to the movie theater and watched the game in 3D. It was fun, but watching a game in 3D was a bit difficult because you have to constantly move your head with the ball. The next game against Germany was on July 7 and many of the students went to the Plaza Mayor in Ciudad Real. As you might imagine, the World Cup has been a main topic of conversation. Last night, for the final game everyone went to the Plaza Mayor again. There was a huge television at the far end of the plaza and it was full of people, a big street party. It was steamy, sweaty and smelly - not really my idea of fun. The kids, however, really enjoyed themselves. After the game, many of them jumped in the fountain at the other end of the Plaza Mayor. Being here during the World Cup has been quite an experience.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Week Three

More photos!

Week 3

Just a quick post before the upcoming holiday weekend. This is our first entire week in Ciudad Real without a Friday excursion. Instead, we are having a 4th of July party at the school. Not nearly the same as being home. I talked with some of the kids about this today. I know that they might be thinking about home a bit more this week. The game plan is to keep them busy. Thus, the party on Friday night. Their host families will be there and will bring typical foods to snack on. Since Spain won against Portugal last night, we have promised the students that we will all go out on Saturday evening to watch the next game. Many of them have really caught the World Cup fever. It is fun to be here when it's going on - I was here four years ago when it was in Germany. It's amazing how a sport can unite a country. I'm including some photos of the comedor where we eat lunch. Pilar, the woman who prepares the food, is great. I have liked almost everything we've eaten so far. I'm sure the kids might have very different opinions about the food. Most of them at least try everything. Today there was watermelon which was a big hit.

Sunday, June 27, 2010


Friday evening we arrived in Granada and got situated in our hotel. We ate an early dinner and many of the kids decided to watch the Spain World Cup game afterward. We got up early Saturday morning and took the bus to La Alhambra. The weather was perfect, cool and breezy. We spent several hours exploring the grounds and the palace. Unfortunately, the Patio of the Lions is still undergoing renovations. This is truly a shame because it is one of the most beautiful parts of the palace. We did see a couple of the lions on display in the museum, but they are out of context. Next we had a long lunch break before continuing our sightseeing. We visited the Cathedral and the Capilla Real, Fernando and Isabel are entombed there. By this time, the kids were starting to drag. We boarded the bus and headed for home, arriving in Ciudad Real around 9:30 pm. Hopefully everyone is resting up today!

The group photo and the photo of the teachers were actually taken next to the Roman Bridge in Córdoba. You can also see the Mezquita in the background. The other photo is the Alhambra. With regard to the photos, I wish my blogging skills were a bit better!


Our overnight excursion was a success. We left Ciudad Real early Friday morning and arrived to Córdoba mid-morning. We first visited the Alcazar de los Reyes Católicos which was a royal residence of the kings of Spain between the 13th and 15th centuries. The gardens are lovely and the views from the Alcazar are striking. It's pretty amazing that we get to see where Fernando and Isabel spent time.

Week 2

This is the school - the blue building on the left is where we have class. The yellow building on the left is also part of the school and is where we will have the Farewell celebration.

The Plaza Mayor in Ciudad Real and the Don Quijote clock.

It was another busy week. The students are more and more comfortable in their new environment. This past week we settled into to the new routine which means that we have all of our classes before lunch, which begins around 1:45. The first week was a different schedule because the Spanish kids were still in school. We have a nice, long lunch break and then go back to school for theater and choir practice. On Thursdays after lunch, we have fun in the sun playing sports. The recreation area where we play is rather like an oven, lots of concrete and full sun. The kids take breaks as needed and drink plenty of agua. It's obvious that most of them really enjoy this part of the week. I will probably organize an outing to the pool on an upcoming Thursday because I can't take the heat.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


We spent the day in Toledo yesterday. We saw the Monasterio San Juan de los Reyes, la Catedral, la Iglesia de Santo Tome - which includes El Greco's famous painting, the Burial of the Count of Orgaz. The Cathedral is one of the most beautiful in Spain. It is Gothic style and construction began in 1226, completed in 1493. The Ciudad Real group took so many pictures! The parents will be inundated with photos when the kids get home. During their free time most bought souvenirs, including some rather large cutlery - Toledo is well know for its knives and swords. It was a great day.

The weather continues to be "fenonemal", as we say in Spain. Temperatures have continued to be below average and it's been very cool at night. This is a blessing. I don't think our field trips to Granada and Madrid will be so lucky. It looks like next week should be more of the same, a bit warmer though.

The students are feeling more and more comfortable with their surroundings and the language. It is a joy for me to to hear them speak Spanish.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

June 15, 2010

The first days in Ciudad Real have been busy. As you might imagine, the students are still very excited and enthusiatic about their new surroundings. Everyone seems to be content with their host families. Yesterday we did general orientation and the students decided whether or not they wanted to participate in the choir or the drama for the Farewell Show. We have a large choir(18) and a small theater group
(9). This morning they took the preliminary exam. At the end of the program they will take another similar exam. They will get the results upon return to school in the fall. I am including a few pictures from the first day. They are not the best, as you can tell they were very tired by the afternoon session! Will be taking plenty of pictures during the excursion to Toledo on Friday. We have had unusually cool temperatures this week, but it is supposed to start heating up toward the weekend. Next we will be complaining about the heat - never satisfied!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Leaving for Spain

Heading to Madrid this evening to enjoy a week of R&R before meeting up with the program. I'm anxious to get to Ciudad Real and get settled in for the summer. This is my dream job - teaching students who really want to learn about Spain's language and culture. I've been enthralled with this place since I was a teenager and I can't wait to share the experience with these bright-eyed, eager to learn, "Hoosier" teens.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

April 18, 2010

Bienvenidos! Welcome to the Ciudad Real summer blog. Stay tuned for future updates.