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Train station in Valencia.
Since the festival on Tuesday, we had two more days of school and then had a political holiday (no class!) on Friday. On Thursday I got to teach English for the first time which was really fun! We teach in pairs, two of us to about 6 or 8 kids. I am working with a girl named Brianna and we had a great start. The topic of the day was simply to learn "left" and "right" and then a few other directions including "forward" and "backward." We were missing two kids so we ended up with 5 first graders, all 5 or 6 years old. They were so cute! They only spoke spanish so it gave us a good opportunity to practice while we explained the words in English. It was so funny how most of them said "right" with a huge rolling of the R at the beginning while trying to remember how to say the rest of the word. We played games and sang songs that had to do with "right" and "left" and then traced their hands and let them color while asking about which direction was which (derecho and izguierta in Spanish). Before we knew it, the hours was over and it was time for their parents to pick them up. I think it will be a fun hour spent every week. 

Since we didn't have school on Friday, Justin, Shannon, Ryan and I decided to take the train into Valencia! Most stores were closed for the holiday but we decided that we would stop for lunch at a Thai restaurant close to the train station and then walk over to the big park that runs the length of the city. We took about 50 minutes walking to the Sagunto train station from ESDES and then waited about an hour for the next train. Luckily Shannon brought her sewing supplies so Justin could fix the strap on his backpack that's been broken for a few weeks. I was very excited because I had never been on a train before! It wasn't terribly thrilling, since it was just a commuter train between Valencia and the small towns surrounding, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. After we got off the train we enjoyed our food at Lemon Grass. It has been recommended to us by other ACA students and it was quite tasty and not very pricey. . . around five euros for a good-sized dish. I think we'll be going back there the next time we are in Valencia.

After our meal we headed to the park, where we took a nice walk and got to see the giant man playground again. We got there just as a few raindrops started to fall and they shut it down. We spent a small amount of time under a bridge waiting for the rain to stop, and then braved the weather and kept on. It had been several hours since we ate so a quick stop at the kebab shop next to the train station was our next priority. I had never heard of kebabs until I came here, but I now realize that I've had similar food under a different name. Basically it's pita or wrap with falafel, lettuce, tomato, and a delicious cream-cucumber sauce. My mom made it once this summer and this was just as good. Shannon and I weren't hunger enough for a whole sandwich so we got patatas fritas (french fries) with the sauce and it was delicious. Ryan and Justin got the actual kebabs and enjoyed them on the train on the way home. 

Yes, we have started referring to ESDES/Sagunto as home. It's funny how quickly a place can go from completely strange, foreign, and confusing to comfortable and reliable once you leave it. I never thought of Rees Hall or Lincoln as much of a home, but I miss it more than I ever thought.  I'm sure at the end of this year I'll miss sleeping with the doors open and the Mediterranean air drifting with the voices of other dorm girls as they skype their friends and families or shriek at foreign bug invaders. I think that once a place is home, it's always home. I think of my friend Kayla in Ukraine, Rachel in Thailand, and the other ACA students in France, Italy, and Germany. I think of my cousin Megan who is about to make her first  home in Florida with her soon-to-be new husband (within just a few hours time!). Everywhere we go we take our memories, our lives, our worlds, and our loved ones in our hearts, and that's what makes a place home. And so, from my new home to yours, good night, good morning, and good afternoon, to all the homes around the world.

grandma
10/14/2012 07:53:15 pm

It all looks like so much fun, Shel. I love the picture of the bridge---well, they are all nice pictures. Is the one with the clock at the train station? I'm sure your little first graders enjoyed their class. It reminded me of Rachel teaching English to the little kids in Thailand. Can't wait to hear about your travels coming up this week!

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Tu Tía Carmen
10/22/2012 07:59:47 pm

Mi querida sobrinita,
¡Qué gusto me dio hablar contigo y verte en Skype! Te extrañé muchísimo en la boda. Cada vez que escribes tu blog lo disfruto aún más. Quizá tienes dificultad en entender mi español latinoamericano. ¿Te confundo? Bueno, Shelita, tu tío y yo te mandamos mucho cariño.

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