I finally took a few pictures with my family last night, so now you can all see who I've been living with for the past 2 weeks. Marta had to bring a bunch of pictures to school for something, I think it was probably for like a "Student of The Week" type thing where the student gets to make a board and put on pictures of them and their family, etc. and be featured in the classroom, like in the US. She really wanted a picture with me for school, so we took one and then took a few more with Nuria and Jesus. We didn't get a full family picture though, because we had no one else here to take one! One day we'll have to :)
This is my little sister, Marta! She is 8 years old, and is turning 9 in June. I'll be here for her birthday, so that'll be really fun. She's kind of shy/timid around new people, but now that she knows me pretty well she's spunky and bubbly and so much fun! She loves to play games, as well as watch TV and play on her Nintendo DS. She plays the violin and really likes that. Her schooling here is pretty intense, because she studies/does homework a LOT. She has 5 tests this week. FIVE. Poor kiddo! She goes to colegio from 9am-2pm, and then 2 days a week she has English at another academia place. She has the sweetest little voice and says the cutest things :)
This is Marta and me with my host dad, Jesús! He is a really nice guy and is really funny sometimes. He studied Art History at the University of Salamanca, but is unable to find a job in that field so he currently works as security for the City of Avila. The economy here is terrible. The unemployment rate is at about 27% I think, and gas and some other products are super expensive. He usually works nights, so he's home during the day. He makes lunch every day and is a very good cook! He loves history and things like that so he enjoys helping me out with my culture homework, looking at my pictures I take from Spain, and walking around the city explaining things. When I came he really didn't know any English, but he knows quite a few words and phrases now. Partially from me teaching him things, and partially from helping Marta with her English homework. He thinks English is interesting and enjoys learning it. He also really likes to run, so I'm hoping to go for a run with him one day here soon. Maybe one day he'll even take me to hike up one of the mountains!
Now say hello to the ladies of the house! This is my host mom, Nuria. She is very sweet and kind and will always go out of her way to help me out or give me a ride somewhere and make sure I'm happy. She works as a secretary at the school I attend here, which is really nice because she gives me rides to school in the morning. It's also kind of fun to see her once in a while throughout the day, or if we need to communicate about something I can just go to her office instead of needing to call. She's very smart and picks up on things about me like things I do/don't like to eat before I even say it, or if I actually understand what she's saying or not. She always lays out my coffee and breakfast for me in the morning before I get up and always seems to have a smile on her face. She also enjoys that I am a "good eater." Haha!
My family takes great care of me and I love living here with them. I'm glad I was placed with them, and I think they are glad they have me too! We get along really well and enjoy spending time together. The other day when I had some friends over, Nuria was asking my friends about their siblings and how many they have, etc., and then said that Marta doesn't/won't have any siblings, but that's okay. And then Marta chimed in with her sweet little voice and said, "But I do! I have Michelle as my sister!" It was SO cute and precious :)
Today we went to Nuria's parents' house for a while. Every Sunday she hosts all the family for dinner. Nuria said there's usually around 23 people there! Today quite a few were missing though because of various things. It's crazy, like a Thanksgiving every week. It was fun to meet all of them though and spend time with more of their family. They are all so sweet.