Okay, so I know it's been a while since I've published a blog post about what I've been up to, but here it is!
The first weekend of March was the weekend of the multi district meeting in Alicante and it was also the weekend when we changed to our third host family. The meeting in Alicante was really fun and I enjoyed seeing all the other exchange students because the last time that everyone was together was during the orientation in Madrid. I also got to meet more students like the new Australians and the people that came in January so that was really cool. Over the course of the weekend we all definitely got really close and we've made so many friendships that are going to last a lifetime. The meeting started on a Friday but it started around 5 p.m. so we didn't really do much that day. We just went to the different hostels, checked in and then hung out. On Saturday we went to visit an island called Tabarca, which is this really tiny island with 59 permanent residents. The island is about an hour boat ride from Alicante but it didn’t seem that long. We spent the day on the island participating in various guided tours where we learned about the history of the island. That night we had a fancy dinner where we all wore our Rotary blazers with the pins and badges on them and spent time with our friends.
That weekend was also when the exchange students in Pamplona changed host families. I was a little nervous to change host families because I really like my second host family and was afraid that something would go wrong, but it didn’t. Which means that now I have two more amazing families. Although it is hard, changing host families is ultimately a good thing because it allows us to be able to see how different families live and be able to compare them and truly get a deeper understanding of the culture. My new host family also has three kids, but two of them are currently on exchange/studying abroad, so there is only one here in Spain. His name is Javier, he's 19 years old and finishing up his senior year of high school. Two years ago, he went on exchange to Japan. My host mom's name is Maria and my host dad's name is Joaquin. They are all really nice and I feel like I am apart of their family.
On March 10th, I participated in a Javierada which is a pilgrimage walk to the Javier Castle. I did this walk with my second host family and ended up walking 16.4 miles. It was an interesting experience and I am glad that I did it, but I don't think I would do it again.
My family came to visit me for two weeks during spring break. They arrived on March 28th and left on April 11th. It was so nice to see my family again after 7 months. We traveled around Spain while they were here. Our travel route was Pamplona --> Bilbao --> Madrid --> Barcelona --> Bordeaux (France) --> Barcelona.
After my family left and returned to MN, I took a short trip to Vigo to visit Kayley (one of the other girls from MN who is also on exchange). While I was with her, we took a day trip to Santiago de Compostela, which is where the Camino de Santiago ends.
The weekend after I got back from Vigo, Kayley came to visit me in Pamplona. While she was here, we took a day trip with my host family to Biarritz and San Sebastian.
It's only May 4th, so I haven't really done anything special yet, but I have some exciting things planned for the month. This will a busy month because I have a lot of final exams and my C1 exam that I need to study for. The C1 is a big exam that I am taking to certify and measure my level of Spanish.