Hi again guys!
I hope everyone had a lovely thanksgiving, and ate all the pie for me because I definitely miss it. We did a little Thanksgiving here with my program too. Do you guys like apple or pumpkin better?
I’m sad my time here is coming to an end, but thank you for letting me share it with you! While I’ve been here for about two months now, I’m still learning every day and just brushing the surface of Spain. To wrap it up a little bit, I have a special post with a new friend who can offer you a first hand, local perspective on what it’s like to be a middle schooler here.
Jake is an eighth grader here in Spain. I met him because he’s the son of the director of my program, and one of the coolest thirteen year olds I’ve ever met. I hopped on a train and went to visit him in the town that he lives in called Girona, just about 40 minutes outside Barcelona. I was going to take a picture of him there, but he insisted his soccer picture was his best look and sent me this one to use.
I wish I had more time in Girona because it’s beautiful. We met up at a café near the river here, and right from the start Jake was so comfortable and laid back, not even a little nervous like I would’ve been being interviewed when I was his age. I had quite a few questions written down, but we ended up more casually talking because he had so much to say!
Q: Where are you from?
A: Well, I was born in Barcelona, but I’ve lived in Girona since I was one. So basically Girona. I’ve lived here for twelve years now so like my whole life.
Q: What’s it like to grow up in Girona, and what do you do for fun?
A: Okay I mean I don’t know, I’m just here. I like it though. I think I mostly just play soccer all the time. I’ll call it soccer for all you Americans. On the weekends, I always have a game, usually Saturdays. Then I practice Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Actually I practice like every day cause it’s just fun, but that’s when I have actual practices with my team anyway. I play video games too, Fortnite and FIFA 19 usually. I just mess around with my brothers and hang out with friends most of the time. We play on the trampoline or work out cause we have a whole mini gym at home.
Q: What languages do you speak?
A: Let’s see, Catalan, Spanish, English, and a little French. Not too much French though.
Q: Do they teach all of those languages in school?
A: Yeah, you start language classes in third grade I think. But they only teach normal classes in Catalan.
Q: What’s your favorite food?
A: All of it. No but really probably pizza, like the kind with prosciutto on it, or hamburgers are good too. Wait actually llabrets de llom is my favorite. It’s Catalan, but basically like breaded pork chops with layers of cheese and ham. It’s so good, now I’m hungry.
Q: Do you take the metro or bus by yourself?
A: Yeah, I have been for a while now. I don’t usually go by myself but I’m allowed to. Sometimes I go with friends, but it’s easier to walk cause everything’s within like 15-20 minutes here.
Q: So I take it you like futbol then, do you have a favorite player?
A: I love it. And I have to say Messi I guess, just cause he’s so so good, Mbappa too. All the kids here love soccer, we all watch it and play. I’ve been playing since I was little and have gone to maybe ten games or something in Barcelona. Even a couple of the semi-finals and stuff! I play carriler, like left wing behind the forward. I’m not sure what the call it in the States but I score a lot.
Q: Do you think life here is very different than in the US?
A: They’re definitely not as good at soccer in the States. One time we were visiting our cousins in Florida and they had soccer try outs but me and my little brother Max just wanted to play, but we were doing laps around them. Even Max, who was three years younger. The coach told us we made the team at the end, but we didn’t even know and were like “uh sorry I’m going home to Spain in three days.” School’s pretty different too. I take thirteen classes. Only like six each day, but thirteen total. We have way more language classes and can take religious studies or ethics starting in 4th grade. Also our lunches are way better. We have chefs who cook everything from scratch, and we get three serving meals. The milk and cookies are the best. Wanna see my schedule? My handwritings not great, but I’m faster at cursive.
Q: Do you like the beach or the mountains?
A: That’s way too hard! They’re both like 45 minutes away, so I can’t pick cause I get to do both. I do really like skiing though.
Q: Cats or dogs?
A: Equal. I have a cat and a dog, so it would be mean to pick. Also a guinea pig, but Brownie is antisocial.
Q: Do you think you’d ever study abroad?
A: Oh definitely. I think maybe in my 10th or 11th grade year in high school I would want to go live in the US for a little cause I have a lot of cousins there, except one of them is a trouble maker. A lot of kids from here can get university scholarships for soccer too, since the level here is just so much higher. I wouldn’t want to know they were scouting me though, that’s too much pressure!
He had so much more to say and we ended up chatting for about two hours, which was so fun for me because I learned a lot about what it’s like to be a kid here. After, we went to Jake’s favorite ice cream place, which he told me was owned by one of the most famous and best pastry chefs in the world.
He convinced me to try the violet marshmallows and torched meringue, while he got something called “strawberry rose bits” that looked like pink coffee beans to me. Definitely a necessity in Girona.
I was sad to say bye, but lucky to have met Jake. I promised I’d watch out for him as the next soccer star in a couple years!