Find your Passion, and then Live it

Medellín, Colombia

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Slowly becoming obsessed with football (aka soccer)

Last night we had our Language Exchange party at one of the university campuses, where API students met up with local students to talk in English and Spanish. There was free food and drinks, and we played a trivia game. However about half of the local students and a few API students (me included) were more interested in the important football match that went on last night, which was beautifully displayed on large flat screens in the large room we were in.
The game was between Barça and Stuttgart (a team from Germany). It was an important game because it counts towards UEFA (you-ee-faa, it's pronounced by people here haha), which is the Champions League. There is only one word to describe the game, INTENSE. The German players were so fast, and very quick to impede on the ball when Barça had it, so it was a bit of a nerve-wracking game to watch. Stuttgart scored in the 1st half around the 15/20 min mark (i think). Núria (one of the API staff members) and I were very fixated on the match, because we love Barça so much. After Stuttgart scored and seeing how they play, I was getting a little nervous that Barça wasn't going to win, but she assured me that it was just the beginning and Barça would come back and score. And score they did! In the 2nd half Barça scored a goal around the 55/60 min mark. So the game was tied 1-1 until the very last seconds of the game, when we thought Barça would be able to score again, but just as one of the Barça players had a break away, one German players reached out and grabbed the Barça player while running, which obviously caused both to fall down. WTF!!?? We could have scored!!!! Ugh, so then there was some yellow card business, and a call by the ref, but no penalty shot/kick. LAME. The ball was then kicked around during the last 30 seconds or so in the game, and the game ended tied at 1-1. *sigh*.... it was still so exciting to watch. I can't wait for more European matches like that!!! Also super pumped about the World Cup in the summer!!

Monday, February 22, 2010

How International Marketing Became My Favourite Class

Just when I think this country/city/my university can't get any better, I am proven wrong. Today we had our midterm presentations in International Marketing. My group went first and gave a presentation on Nike... woo moving on. The next group was 3 students from Germany, and they decided to do their presentation on Jägermiester. Nicolas (german student #1) then proceeds to pull out a 26er of Jägermiester and accompanies it with plastic shot glasses. He then tells us "We have brought Jägermiester for you to sample". My first thought: "IS THIS ALLOWED?", my second thought: "THIS JUST BECAME MY FAVOURITE CLASS".

As you can imagine everyone in the class was shocked, excited and not sure how the professor would react, or if this was even allowed. Nicolas turns to the professor and asks if this is ok, and she says it's fine. WOOOOO thank god. Liesa (german student #2) then proceeds to go around the classroom and fill each student's shot glass with Jägermiester. While this is going on they start their presentation.

Now no offense to the german students' presentation, but you can imagine that NO ONE was paying attention because we were all too bewildered that this is actually happening and that we were drinking in class. Half way through their presentation Nicolas asked if we liked the drink, but we hadnt actually taken the shot yet. So then he is like "What are you waiting for, DRINK!" - don't have to tell me twice lol.

Then as a class we did a ceremonious cheers and took our shots. Then Hans (german student #3) walks around the classroom with the 26er of Jägermiester and asks if we would like some more - um yes please.

Needless to say, I love this country/this class more. Today I learned that:
- Germans are cool
- Germans give great marketing presentations
- Drinking alcohol in class is a-ok in Spain

Sunday, February 21, 2010

FC Barcelona Game.... Round 2 !!!

Last night I went to another FC Barcelona (Barça) Game with a bunch of my friends from API. The match was against Racing, another team from Spain. We all sat in roughly the same area as I did last time, but having more people to go with this time was a lot more fun, since we were all singing along to the cheers, and commenting on the game.

The weather wasn't as cold as it was during the first game I went to with Matt, but it was still a bit windy in the nose bleeds section during the second half of the game. Though we always sit in the nosebleed section (as it's the cheapest ticket, 15 euro), we still have AMAZING views of Camp Nou, and can see everything that happens in the game quite clearly. :)
Barça scored within the first 7 minutes of the game! The first goal was made by Iniesta. Then second goal occurred at the 24 minute mark, this time by Henry. The THIRD goal was at the 34 minute mark (might I add these all happened in the 1st half!!! it was sooo exciting!), by Marquez. In the 2nd half of the game Barça scored one more time, the goal was made by Thiago, making the final score 4-0... completely shutting out Racing !!!
Barça is an incredibly team to watch. And I am so glad they are the team of the city I do my exchange in! The players are so fast, and crazy skilled with the soccer ball! Not to mention a little cute too! ;)

Friday, February 19, 2010

"¿Dónde está su ombligo?"

Friday's are the best day of the week because I have no class! After making sure Lauren got on her Aerobus this morning at 630am I came back and slept for a few more hours before getting up. Then like a good student I actually did some research for a marketing presentation I have to do on Monday. Then after having a light lunch I headed to the gym to see Isaac (my personal trainer) for another work out session.

While I was waiting in the fitness room waiting for Isaac, I ran into my International Business Professor. So I went over to say hello and chatted for a bit. He explained that he has been a member at DIR for over 5 years but only in the last year and a bit has he been seriously exercising. He told me that the DIR we go to is the biggest in Barcelona (and apparently the nicest... yay for me!), and has been around since the 1970s.

After my intense hour with Isaac we headed back to the office for personal trainers so he could take my measurements/weight etc. Since Ive been here I have lost 15lbs! From all the walking, different diet, and of course the new gym I have joined. Which is definitely an added bonus of studying/travelling abroad. When Isaac went to measure my waist he asked me: "¿Dónde está su ombligo?"... and I just stared at him blankly because i had no idea what "ombligo" meant. Then seeing I was confused, he pointed at his belly button and then I burst out laughing. I apologized to him explaining that I did not know the word for belly button. That's definitely a word I added to my word book when I got home lol. ahh soo entertaining.

Montjuïc and Mexican Food! (Aka Lauren's last day in Barcelona)

On Thursday the weather was beautiful! It was 15C and sunny! Which was perfect weather for going to Montjuïc. This past week had been very "cold" for Barcelona with a lot of rain, which was unfortunate for Lauren, because I was hoping the weather would be better while she was here. However, she still loved the weather because there was NO SNOW! So that's always good.

We had to enter Montjuïc from the side because there was a huge conference going on called "World Mobile", basically hundreds of different people from all around the world in Barcelona...specifically at the beginning of Montjuïc representing various cellphone companies. We started to walk by MNAC (the large museum of Catalonian Art at Montjuïc), but didnt go in because it's expensive and I wanted to get to the top of the mountain with Lauren during the day while the weather was nice.

After passing MNAC, we entered the Olympic grounds, and gave Lauren a bit of a tour of the various buildings, stadium, and of course seeing the Olympic Torch. The best thing about walking around Montjuïc on Thursday was that we were wearing our Canadian Olympic shirts... so even though we were about 12,000km away from the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympic Games... we were still representing Canada proudly !

We continued to walk up the mountain passing through various gardens and walkways until we reached the top, where the castle sits. Today the castle was open so we were able to go inside of it and ontop! Which gives spectacular views of the city of Barcelona. After hanging out at the top of the mountain for a bit we took a bus back down the mountain to save Lauren's knees, which were very sore after so much walking this week! Then we headed to the API office so Lauren could check into her flight and print her boarding pass.
Since it was Lauren's last night in Barcelona we decided to go out for a nice dinner. We chose a Mexican restaurant that is near my apartment called "Panchito". We went around 830pm... which in Spain is VERY early for dinner... so naturally the restaurant was empty, which was perfect for us. So of course, we started our dinner off with nachos and margaritas! We toasted to an amazing (but incredibly fast) week, being together in Barcelona. After our nachos, I had fajitas, and Lauren had this Mexican dish that consisted of meat and rice. Because the portions in Spain are sort of small, and we were incredibly hungry (after climbing a mountain)... we decided to get more food! So we ordered another plate of fajitas, and a spicy taco dish and stuff our faces lol. After dinner I Lauren suggested we get dessert... which at first I protested... but then caved... so we got chocolate cake as our dessert, and it was worth every calorie lol.

After dinner Lauren headed back to her hostal and I went home, as we both had to get up early the next day, to ensure Lauren got to the airport in time for her flight. So we met at 630am in Plaça Catalunya so Lauren could get an Aerobus there. We said our goodbyes, and then Lauren headed towards the airport and back to Canada!

I can't believe how fast this week went ! But we were able to do a ton of stuff together, from site seeing, to Lauren coming to some of my classes with me, Lauren was able to meet my host family and the API staff and of course visit some bars too.

I hope there isnt too much snow waiting for her when she gets back to Canada lol...

Tim Hortons, Maple Cookies and Reese's Pieces!

On Tuesday, I took Lauren to the API office to introduce her to the staff and give them a few Canadian presents.
One thing that Spanish people dont really eat is Peanut Butter, and a couple weeks ago I was talking with one of the API people and she mentioned that she had never tried Reese's Pieces before! So I got Lauren to bring a few packages of Reese's Pieces for them to try. All of the API staff LOVED Reese's Pieces, as it's something very different from what they're use to normally eating. I also asked her to bring some more maple cookies for them to try, and a tin can of Tim Horten's French Vanilla Cappuccino coffee mix for Patricia, because she visited Toronto last summer and absolutely loves Tim Hortons. When Lauren gave Patricia the Tim Horton's coffee, she got a little teary eyed! It was so cute! I guess it's because the gift was very unexpected, and it's something she loves but hasnt had in a very long time.

A couple days later Patricia sent Lauren and I an email thanking us for the coffee, and explaining she has been having the best breakfasts lately because of the Tim Horton's coffee she drinks in the mornings!

After the API office, Lauren and I headed to the Barri Gothic for some "Chocolate Caliente" (hot chocolate) and churros! On our way to the Barri Gothic we passed a restaurant that had a tv showing the Olympic hockey game between Canada and Switzerland. We got so excited we ran into the restaurant to watch some of it. This was the first time I had seen some of the coverage in Spain, and better yet a Canadian team was on the tv!! A woman from the restaurant came up to me and asked if I needed anything (aka why are you standing in the middle of the restaurant staring at the tv), I quickly explained in Spanish that Lauren and I were Canadian and the Olympics are being held in Canada, and this is the first time we've seen them abroad. She smiled and said it was fine to watch them if we wanted :)After watching the game for a couple minutes we continued on our walk. There is a street in the Barri Gothic completely dedicated to chocolate! It's called "Heaven" haha just kidding - i forget the actual name of the street. The hot chocolate here is literally chocolate fondue.. it's melted chocolate in a mug, but it's delicious !!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

2 Canadians loving life in Barcelona!

Yesterday at 830am Lauren arrived in Barcelona!!! I went to pick her up from the airport by using the Aerobus which was really easy and fast to use. Once we got back into downtown Barcelona we headed to her hostal to check in. When we got there we had to wait a bit because the person before her hadn't checked out on time. So instead of sitting around doing nothing we decided to go out walking and have some lunch.

We first made a stop at my apartment to drop off some of her things and introduce her to my host parents. Then we walked from my house to Casa Milá, then to Sagrada Familia, stopped and had some lunch. After lunch we went back to her hostal to check in. Her hostal is very modern looking and her room looks like one straight out of an IKEA catalog. After getting Lauren settled into her room, we decided to walk down Passeig de Grácia (which is like 5th ave in NYC... lots of designer/fancy shops), then to Las Ramblas, and finally the Barri Gothic. Over lunch I gave her an orientation of sorts to introduce her to the city, give her important emergency contacts, and tell her where to go/not go in the city. I also showed her how to use the metro and how to buy a metro pass etc. :)

When we were in the Barri Gothic we found a dance performance going on for Carnival so we stopped to watch it. They did traditional dances in very elaborate costumes to music. Then afterwards we founds another little concert going on in front of the Barcelona Cathedral where people were doing a traditional Spanish dance called.. "Sardana", which is where people put their clothing/bags in the center and make a circle around it joining hands and dancing around their belongings to music. This dance is only done in Cataluña and was the first time I saw it in Barcelona. :)

After walking around the city for 6 hours, I took Lauren to a Tapas Restaurant on Passeig de Grácia for some yummy Spanish tapas! She loved it, and got to try many different kinds there. After the restaurant we headed to the Tavern off Las Ramblas for some sangria! Here we met up with 4 of my API friends - Jordi, Matt, Andrew and Liz!
Today we met around 11am and headed to Parc Güell. I showed her around the Park, and explained all about Gaudí. After the park we got some "bocadillos" (sandwiches) on our walk back and then headed to Parc Ciutadella where we saw the large fountain that is similar to the Trevi fountain in Rome, and also the beautiful parks, the zoo, and ponds. We found a small park by a church within the park and played there for a bit... feeling like children all over again. After Parc Ciutadella we continued to walk down to Barceloneta where I showed Lauren the beautiful beaches of Barcelona! Once again we walked over 6 hours today! How time flies in beautiful Barcelona! :)

When we got back to my apartment my host parents had many guests over because it was my host mothers birthday today! So I introduced Lauren to their friends and they immediately sat us down and fed us lol. They gave us this rice, corn, salad, seafood dish and cake! I was Lauren's translator though she could understand some things because Lauren speaks Italian! So for the rest of the evening we sat around the kitchen table eating and drinking and celebrating my host mother's birthday.

Later on she served both Lauren and I dinner, we had Tortilla - which is a traditional Spanish dish that is like an omelette... very tasty. Then we had a conversation about Colombia, and the Amazon river/forest, and then my host mother's friend invited us to come to Colombia in 2011 if we want to haha, so many things! And it was all in Spanish... so now I have a bit of a headache because ive been thinking and speaking in Spanish intensely for the past 6 hours, and also being Lauren's translator, it's exhausting!!

The best thing about tonight was when my host mother taught us DUCK, DUCK, GOOSE in Spanish: "De oca a oca y fuego porque me toca!"
There was a lot of laughter and joking around tonight. My host family and their friends are so hospitable and kind. They accepted us with open arms, telling us all kinds of stories and history of Colombia and South America.

As each day passes in Spain the more I love my host family, this beautiful city and the people of Spain!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Travelling within Spain!

EXCITING news!! I just booked my trip to go see my friend - Danthe - in Madrid in the middle of March! :) Danthe is a friend of mine whom I met when I did my 2-week exchange to Mexico back in 2008. He's currently doing a Masters program at one of the universities there and invited me to come visit him so he can show me around the city!

Last week I booked my spring break trip to the Canary Islands with a few of my friends from API. Our plan is to relax in the hot weather on beautiful beaches for a week. So we will be spending 7 days there and then I will be heading back to Barcelona for the 2nd week of spring break because my Mom will be coming to visit me!

A lot of my friends are travelling outside of Spain to various places, but I want to do the majority of my travelling within Spain because:
a) I speak the language
b) im doing my exchange in Spain and feel this is the time to explore/discover the country!
c) I can always come back to Europe to discover other countries

I would also really like to visit Granada and Córdoba as well. These cities are in the south of Spain. Hopefully I can plan to visit one of them before I leave!

Me encanta España (I LOVE SPAIN!)

Mi primera clase en español a mi gimnasio (My first spanish class at my gym!)

Today I decided I would try a fitness class at my gym. It was called: "D-Tono" and was very similar to the "Sculpt and Burn" classes Ive done at Laurier. I went by myself and there was about 15 other people in the class with me. When I got there I had no idea what equipment I would need for the class so I just watched what other people got and followed suit haha. As I was too shy to ask the instructor or other people in the class... bad I know because I need to practice my spanish as much as possible, but I decided to go with the flow and be a people watcher.

The instructor was really hard to understand because she was talking through a microphone and the music was really loud. So I would say I understood approx. 15-20% of what she said, which isnt much. But luckily, when you're at the gym it's all about watching your instructor so I just followed carefully what she and the other people in the class were doing! It was a pretty good class and I will likely go again to that one. However there are a lot of other classes I want to try... especially hot yoga - since Ive never done it before and heard amazing things about it... and that it's also very hard.

Im very excited for tomorrow because my best friend from Canada - Lauren - is coming to visit me in Barcelona for a week!!! I havent seen her since the middle of December 2009 when I came to visit her in Toronto before I went home for the holidays. So I cant wait to see her and show her this incredible city!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Abre Los Ojos

Yesterday in my Spanish class we finished watching a Spanish film called: Abre Los Ojos. Some of you may know the movie Vanilla Sky, which is actually based on Abre Los Ojos. Tom Cruise bought the film rights after the movie was made to make an "Americanized" version. Fun fact: Penelope Cruz is in both movies and plays the same character. The director of Abre Los Ojos is Alejandro Amenábar, who is called the Spanish Alfred Hitchcock... as he likes to do a lot of thriller/scary movies.

Before watching Abre Los Ojos, I had seen Vanilla Sky once before... but a very long time ago and I remember being very confused after I watched that movie. It was really good to watch a traditional Spanish made movie in my class... and the great thing about my prof is that she put on English subtitles for us, as the actors talk INCREDIBLY fast and therefore it's very hard to understand them.

The movie was very well done and I think I liked it more than Vanilla Sky (as Im not a huge Tom Cruise fan, and the lead actor in Abre Los Ojos was very cute!! hehe). It took our class about 4-5 classes to watch the whole movie, as we would watch it in chunks. Then yesterday once the movie had finished we had a discussion about it in Spanish, what happened, why we liked it, how crazy it was etc.

My Spanish prof then introduced us to 4 more possible Spanish films that we get to vote on to watch next! So I will keep you posted on which one I get to see next. :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Gesundheit! Salud! Bless You!

So as Ive said before, there are a lot of Germans in my business classes. Today in International Marketing I had a bit of a sneezing fit and I was sitting next to two German girls who are in my case group, since they are practicing their English one kept saying "Bless you!" then my prof said "Salud" (as she's Spanish) and then the other German girl said "Gesundheit", and then I burst out laughing. Not in a disrespecting way or anything, it's just that we say "Gesundheit" in Canada, but Ive never had a German native say that to me before, and it just made me laugh.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Cómo se dice "whipped into shape" en español?

Today I had my second session with my cute spanish personal trainer (Isaac) at my gym. Yesterday I had seen him while I was doing my own work out and he came up to me confirming our meeting (or "cita" en español) for today. He also mentioned that today's work out would be "más fuerte y duro" ... or in English waaaay more intense, and it was. My legs and arms now feel like jello... but it's a good pain.

We started out doing squats... which i absolutely loath... and we ended up doing a bunch of them, 3 sets with this rope thing, 3 sets with this vibrating machine, and 3 sets using weight machines. Then we did some cardio on the treadmill and the cross trainer, and finished off by working on arms. He had me do this reverse push up with this rope thing that hangs from the wall... and I had to explain i'd be bad at this because I really dont have any upper body strength lol.

It's definitely a different but fun learning experience working out with him because he doesnt speak any english so everything is in spanish! I understand about 80% of what he says, and it's getting easier to understand him. :)

Im in love with my gym just because it has so many facilities and things to do. Tomorrow I think im going to go to a pilates class or try hot yoga for the first time! Vamos a ver! (we shall see)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Museum Visit Fail

So today is the first Sunday of February...and on the first Sunday of every month in Barcelona all the museums are free. So Hannah and I decided to go visit one! However, because we are university students and love sleep we weren't ready to go until about 2pm lol.

It was a beautiful sunny day in Barcelona, so we decided to walk to a further metro stop today to enjoy some rays before spending the afternoon in a museum. We arrived to Plaça Espanya and entered Montjuïc... the plan was to go to MNAC (Museo Nacional Arte de Catalonia) which is in this gigantic old castle-looking building. So we got to the top and the museum was closed!!! It closed at 230 and we were about 30 minutes too late lol. MUSEUM VISIT FAIL. :(

So to not waste the day we decided to walk around the Olympic grounds a bit and just lay in the sunshine and talk for a while. We also took a bunch of pictures around Montjuïc as it was Hannah's first time there. :) Hopefully for the first Sunday in March we can plan it a little bit better to ensure we can take advantage of the free museums all day.

So even though we didnt get to do what we wanted, we still had a fun and relaxing day in our favourite city!

Barça! Barça! Baaaaarrrrççççaaaa!

Last night I went to see my first ever soccer aka football game ! My friend Matt and I headed to Camp Nou to see FC Barcelona (Barça) play against a team from Madrid called Getafe. Seeing the stadium was incredible because it's gigantic !

Both Matt and I were sooo excited all day long while we were in Sitges to go to see Barça play that night. We couldnt wait! Our tickets were pretty cheap on 20 euro each, and we were technically in the "nose bleeds" section, but when we got there we had an amazing view of the stadium and werent as far up as I though we were going to be! We ended up moving down to get some closer seats, because once you're in your section it doesnt matter where you sit. :)

I got to wear my Barça jersey for the first time with my Barça soccer scarf lol So i was fully decked out in Barça gear! The whole game was very exciting, and the crowd atmosphere was intense. There was a lot of swearing by people around us when a bad call was made, or something happened to one of the players on the field (e.g. when they get "hit" and fall on the ground being babies, and then 5 min later they are fine lol. Soccer players are the biggest whimps/actors ever). We got to hear the Barça song at the beginning and end of the game, they had the lyrics on the screen, so Matt and I attempted to sing a long but we don't know Catalán so it was difficult lol.

FC Barcelona scored the first goal in the first 6 minutes of the game, by of course Messi who is the best played on the team!! haha it was so exciting to see a goal so quickly, and it set a great pace for the game. Then in the 2nd half Barça scored again!! Barça almost had Getafe shut out for the entire game, but unfortunately at the end of the game Barça got a penalty against them, so Getafe received a penalty shot, and scored. So the final score was 2-1 Barcelona :)
The screen said that there was over 74,000 people in the stadium last night, and leaving the game was crazy! There were so many people exiting the stadium and of course trying to get on the metro, so Matt and I decided to walk for a bit to avoid the craziness that was the metro last night. So we walked over a few streets and got on a different metro stop that was further down from the stadium.

It was an amazing experience last night to see a football game in europe, I can't wait to go again!


Sitges - The Town of Carnival

Yesterday I went on my first excursion with API. We travelled 45 min outside of Barcelona to a cute beach town called Sitges, this is also where the famous Carnival happens in Spain! (So I will be returning to Sitges on Thursday for some Carnival celebrations!). We started off the day in Sitges doing a scavenger hunt, which was slightly confusing but gave us a good opportunity to tour around the little town and check out the beach etc.

Our breakfast was included on the trip and we had a traditional Catalonian meal - Pan con tomate y aceite, which is bread with tomato, oil, salt and some meat like ham or sausage. It was delicious, and tasted so fresh! After breakfast we completed some activities and games through our scavenger hunt and then took a break for lunch.

After lunch I went on a walking tour of the city (which was all in Spanish) and learned about the history of the town. It had a very large Cuban influence and therefore had a large number of Cuban immigrants to the town. Fun fact - the man who created the Barcardi Rum company (forget his first name, but his last name is obviously Barcardi!) came from Sitges!
So they have a monument/statue for him in the town! Also there was a lot of trading between Spain and Cuba for wine, rum, coffee and other types of foods. The people who originally had settled in Sitges were quite wealthy and therefore built some pretty nice homes along the beach front, which are now one of the most expensive properties in Sitges.
The day was absolutely perfect, it was about 18-20C and sunny, with some wind. So in between lunch and our walking tour of the city we laid in the sun for about an hour. :) Felt so nice to be sun tanning in such nice weather in FEBRUARY !!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Barceloneta !

Since I didnt have class today we were partying like true Barcelonians last night and stayed out until 5am, so today I didnt wake up until 1pm. Gotta love the life of a student! :) When I woke up I wanted to check the weather, and my weather widget on my mac said it was +17degrees and sunny! So i decided it was a perfect day to go to the beach and walk around. I met up with Eric, Katrina, and Lauren and we walked for about 3 hours up and down Barceloneta (which is the main beach area of Barcelona).

We saw some pretty incredible sand castles being made on the beach as we walked by. We also found a jungle gym like structure that you could climb and hang off of, so obviously Eric and I decided to be 5 years old again and climb it. We continued down the beach front and found this cool asian wok restaurant, so we all got a box of noodles for like 5 euro and ate it on the beach. The sun felt nice and warm, and there was not a cloud in the sky. You totally wouldn't know it was February!! This is when I sort of feel sorry for my mom and friends in Canada where it was around -15C today, and they are surrounded by snow lol. SORRY!

After eating our lunch we continued down the beach, and saw a guy completely naked just strolling down the beach. Later on we saw 2 more nude guys on the beach as well. We're not really sure if nudity is allowed at Barceloneta, or if they are just really proactive nudists? who knows...

Tomorrow Im going to Camp Nou to see a FC Barça soccer game !!! We also have a day trip to Sitges which is a small town outside of Barcelonak tomorrow, so that should be a lot of fun too. :)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Workin' on my Fitness

Yesterday I went to my new gym to work out for the first time, and do an hour session with my personal trainer. His name is Isaac (pronounced like "E-saak" in Spanish lol), and he is very cute haha, and of course is from Barcelona! We spoke entirely in Spanish because he doesnt speak any English, and I understood about 80% of what he said... I need to re-learn spanish vocabulary for the gym. We went through a gym routine, talked about healthy eating, proper exercise etc... While at the gym I also saw 2 API students working out as well, so it's nice to know people I know go to DIR as well :) . On tuesday I have another session with Isaac, and he said this one would be "más fuerte y duro" aka in english... harder/more intense lol. I didnt feel too out of shape when i went to the gym yesterday as I havent been exercising in a month, but since we've been doing a ton of walking in Barcelona the gym wasn't too bad!

Today I met with Fran (my language exchange partner) again. We went out for lunch and spoke english/spanish for about 3 hours together (we do about 30 - 45 min of each language and switch... though today we spoke a lot more Spanish i felt). He said that since we met last week my Spanish has improved a lot :) yay! Then we headed to API for a bit to hang out and talk with people there. Patricia, Romá and Marta were creating some sort of USA quiz,and I told them they needed some questions about Canada, and then I started to quiz them on things to see how much they knew about Canada e.g. Name 5 provinces, who is the Prime Minister, what are the 5 great lakes, what is the national animal/sport of Canada etc. .... All about representing Canada while im over here!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Shift Happens - Did You Know?

Video I watched in my International Business Class:

International Business & Getting a Gym Membership in Spain!

¡Hola a todos!

So i am LOVING my international business course at UAB (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona). My prof is fantastic, and he is very passionate about the field of international business. His name is Dr. Jorge Mongay, and he is a native of Barcelona. He has quite the impressive background of education:
- Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) with a thesis on Marketing and Customer Loyalty at SBS BUsiness School, Zurich
- Master in Business Administration (MBA) at EAE Barcelona, Barcelona (rated in the top 3 business schools in the WORLD)
- Master in Business Administration (MBA) at Nottingham Trent University, England
- Postgraduate Diploma in Research Methods (Management) at University of Bradford School of Management, England
- BBA and Graduate Diploma in Marketing at the Chartered Institute of Marketing, London, England

He is a professor at UAB, Euncet (Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya) and Arcadia University. I really like his class because he applies all the theory in class to real issues or situations happening in the world today. He showed a really interesting video which I will post to this entry.

It was about "Shifts" in the world, and how cultures/countries change over time with regards to population, power, language and influence. We've also watched this mini movie about this company that went through the tech bubble, it was all about how the company started focusing on the theme of entrepreneurism and the rise and fall of the company. Then today we had a debate about what the company did well, and poorly. After our debate we had a lecture and it was focused on political issues in the world. Within this subject he spoke about the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), and showed this map of the world with all the countries shaded in a blue. The lighter the blue the better the country was (aka had no corruption), the darker the shade the worse the country was. I felt very proud because Canada was one of the best countries!!! We are rated #8 in the whole world. New Zealand is #1, and Somalia is #180.

I also feel like my International Business course is like the UN haha. It consists of only international exchange students, and our prof is always asking for our views/opinions from each country that we represent. So i feel like the representative from Canada, since im the only one. The rest of the class consists of the USA, Germany, Russia etc. But I am the only Canadian. :)

Lately my roommate and I, Hannah (from Texas), have been talking about getting a gym membership while we are here. We went yesterday to one that looked a lot like a YMCA, but unfortunately we needed a Spanish bank account in order to get a membership (LAME), so we needed to find another place. So I went to the API office after my classes to ask Romá (the cultural coordinator) and he helped me research and call the gyms. So then I went to one that was close to my campus and asked for a tour. IT'S THE MOST INCREDIBLE GYM EVER. We have NOTHING that compares to it in Canada. First of all it's 5 floors, yes you read that correctly FIVE floors. Here is a breakdown of what my gym is like:

1st Floor: 3 pools. 1 pool for lane swimming, 1 pool for swimming classes, and 1 really big hot tub/jacuzzi. They have these really cool mosaic ceramic chairs that are curvy to the shape of your body that you can lay on too in the pool areas.

2nd Floor: Half the floor consists of 3 huge rooms for yoga, pilates, aerobics, etc, the other half (Lauren will LOVE this) consists of a room entirely dedicated to BOXING! And they actually have a boxing ring !! They also have some other machines and weights in the boxing room as well, with all kinds of boxing equipment, bags etc.

3rd Floor: Has fitness equipment for cardio (treadmills, bikes, steppers, cross trainers etc) and weight machines. Every cardio machine also has a tv, and there are 3 new bikes that are like video games where they are hooked up to a computer screen that simulates you riding through a mountain, or a forest and changes the difficulty level on your bike as well as you have to turn and bend with the road you see infront of you. SOOO cool i have to try it! There are also 3 or so squash courts too!

4th Floor: Has a restaurant/cafe with tables and couches. There is also free wireless access here. Then there is a terrace patio with chairs and umbrellas so you can sit outside in the sun.

The Roof!: Has a small pool, tanning area, seating and some sort of tennis court as well :)

Now you might ask yourself how much this would cost, but surprisingly it's not that expensive, it's only 44 euro a month for me (being a student is helpful hehe). I cant wait to start going, Im taking Hannah tomorrow after class so she can check it out and probably get a membership as well. :) They also have tons of free classes i can take (ranging from sculpt and burn classes to pilates or yoga or aerobics etc). Even better they have amazing hours, they are open everyday except sunday until 12midnight, and 9pm on sundays! The best part about the whole thing was that I did the tour, asked questions, and signed up for a membership all in Spanish! Then the employee at the end of our conversation told me that my Spanish was very good :) So that was a nice compliment to have. Once I got my card, they also took a scan of my fingerprint, because to get through the main gates at the entrance of the gym they scan your fingerprint! It's very high tech. After I got everything dealt with at the gym I went back to API to show Marta (program director) and Romá my membership card, because I was so proud of myself for being able to get it all in Spanish and on my own as well. Then I had a 30 min chat with Marta, Laura, and Núria about random stuff and they said too that my Spanish was getting really good and improving lots since Ive been here! Yay for learning languages. :)

Below are some pictures from my gym (no big deal):

One of the swimming pools:

Roof top tanning area:

Fitness center:

Yoga room:

Pilates Room:

Boxing Room: