Writing by students~ Surf and Spanish in Spain 2017

The Beach Food Vendors of Cadiz, by Zoe

The beaches in Cadiz are great things. They are massive and stretch for as far as the eye can see, and span great lenghts of the city with their warm yellow sand and turquoise waters. There are people everywhere; huddling under the small shade circles of their umbrellas, playing ball on the beach, and sunning themselves on the sand. So naturally, there needs to be food. On the main city beaches, there are the people who everyday walk up and down the hot beach with their carts in hopes of a profit. There are four major types of these mobile sellers. The first carries a rack of sunglasses and bracelets. They often have good stuff, and are willing to barter over the prices. The second carries massive bags of chips and other snacks. The snacks are good, and the prices are fair so overall it is a win-win. The third is the drink-sellers. They wheel around large coolers and are generally pretty popular with the thirsty beach goers. The fourth type of cart is the best. They are very popular with everyone and they have the best products. They are the donut sellers. They sell the best pastries you will ever taste. When they set up their tables and ring their little bell, everyone, young, and old, locals and tourists, those on land and in the water come running to buy something. Before long they have a small crowd gathering around and for a good reason. They sell all kinds of pastries, all fresh and homemade and just for one euro. Then, just as soon it begins, the food is sold, the people have left and the workers are already moving the tables further on down the beach.

 

Surfing, by Burton

When I first read about what I was going to do in Spain, one thing stuck out in my mind; surfing. It was the only thing I could remember about the itinerary. When people asked me what I was going to do in Spain, I immediately replied that I was learning how to surf. When I went to Ecuador with Gogi Abroad (great trip by the way, I recommend it) the thing that I was most looking forward to was eating guinea pig. It turns out that guinea pigs taste really good!

Surfing is amazing as well. Really, really amazing. It’s like snowboarding only wetter, and warmer.

Before I actually started surfing I had a to take a surf class with the group. This involved running in wet sand and pretending to surf on our beaches surfboards. Then we dragged out our surfboards out into the water, paddled out, and waited. Feeling slightly impatient, I wondered what to do next. As I watched a wave approaching I thought about what I was supposed to do; paddle away from the wave and stand up as it hit me. I started paddling but decided to just lay down on the board for the first attempt. My next few attempts to catch a wave were unsuccessful, but finally I was able to catch one and quickly scramble to my feet. It worked! I was surfing!! It was even more amazing than I thought it would be. It’s really hard to describe what it feels like, but know it was incredibly invigorating! I was able to stay standing until the wave dissipated and then hopped off the board filled with delight.

That day I was able to get up on the surfboard about 20 times, all of them as amazing as the first. I did have lots of unsuccessful attempts though. The nose of my board kept going underwater so the board would flip over, a very unpleasant and discouraging experience.  I learned that catching a wave is the hard part and standing and staying up is easy. I also learned that crashing into another person hurts.

The second day of surf was much easier, except that the waves were smaller. Surfing smaller waves is not as fun. That day I focused more on trying to surf diagonally across the wave but I couldn’t do it. I hope that in the next surf days there will be bigger waves. I have decided that surfing is now one of my favorite things to do and I definitely hope to do it more in years to come.

A Few Memories, by Maddy

Charlie, Maddy, Phoebe and Nathaniel all got together and bought a big, blow-up “sandia” (watermelon). We all used it when we went to Conil to enjoy the beach! We created a great game out of trying not to get knocked off the watermelon from the ocean waves. We also tried to stand up on it and not fall off. It was a great purchase and we created many great memories.

On the Gogi Abroad trip we have had a lot of cool experiences. We met a lot of new people and learned more about the culture and how people live. My favorite experience so far though is the first time we surfed together. This was my first time surfing and everyone made it so easy to not feel overwhelmed. I was even able to stand up and ride a wave! This group is so close and supportive and it makes everything easier. I couldn’t have asked for more and I don’t want to go home!

Camping at El Palmar, by Charlie and Izlin

When we found out that we would be sharing a large tent with another group of students we become nervous. When we walked into our large tent we found 12 Spaniards from Malaga talking and thought, “oh no, we have to share our space”. We were both overwhelmed and had some trepidation about how our evening was going to end up. However, this fear quickly dissolved into new friendships. This group of high school students was a perfect example of Spaniards being loud, friendly and outgoing. For example, in the evening after dinner we entered the tent and they were playing music, singing and dancing with each other. We all ended up forming a circle and dancing to Spanish pop. These students were very friendly and curious about America and intrigued by our music taste and cultural things such as bottle flipping and dance moves. Looking back to that night, it was such a great cultural exchange and we now have new amigos in Spain! This part of the trip was very eye opening because it taught us that we can build friendships and connect with new people within a matter of hours. It simply takes an open mind and the willingness to let go of fears.

My Best Experience in Spain, by Grayson

On a Tuesday night, the night we went camping, I had one of the best experiences of this trip so far. Our group had just gotten back from a shopping excursion and a beautiful walk on the beach. All of us walked into the huge tent we were staying in for the night and were greeted by a group of Spaniards who were also staying in the tent. All of the Spanish guys were chilling in the common room of the tent where all the couches were. The girls were laying down on the bunk beds pushed up to the right side of the room. The girls were playing music and when we walked passed them I decided to dance a little on the way over to my bunk. They giggled and laughed a bit and turned up la musica a tad. After I put my luggage on the bed I walked back over to the common area. One of the guys there approached me and asked me if I danced. I told him that I did, a little which led to a mini-dance off. When we finished the girls applauded for the next ten minutes or so and this Spanish guy who later started addressing as “my boi Juan” talked and danced. The rest of the guys left and the girls from the bunk beds began introducing themselves and asking us lots of questions (in Spanish of course). Once we all knew each other one of the girls put on some music and we proceeded to have dance party and a bottle flipping contest. By the end of the night we were all tired and passed out. It was one of the most fun experiences I have had on this trip and I am so happy that I had the chance to meet so many new people.