Sunday, August 15, 2010

Back in America

It's been 10 days since I've returned to the United States of America, and I thought I'd end this blog with a summary of lessons learned and experiences had.

First life lesson learned - Never hold back. For my first 3 weeks in Spain, I was holding back. I didn't push myself to meet people. I didn't push myself to experience the new country, and worst off, I lost 3 weeks of my life with no self-enrichment. The contrast between those 3 weeks and the rest of the time I was in Spain really showed me that to be successful and to better my life, I need to push myself and never hold back from unknown opportunities.

Second life lesson learned - Children are difficult. I had a faint idea about this before I lived with my house family, but I think I experienced an extreme on the difficult-children scale. I've learned that kids take work, and when and if I have kids, I know that I'm going to need to put all of my effort into making sure my kids turn out to be awesome. I only hope that I'll be able to do that someday.

Third life lesson - Be friendly and talk to everyone. I already know that I'm an extroverted person, but I figured out that expressing that more can really be fun and helpful. I met soo many random people on the streets of Madrid by just going up and talking to them, and I had some of the most interesting conversations with these people. I've learned that everyone has an interesting story/past to tell, and if you can put up with a little bullshit, you can dive into another person's life if only for a second. I've learned that connecting with people, no matter the amount of time spent with that person, can be very interesting and fun (especially with drunk people at 4am in Madrid).

Fourth life lesson - I don't like drinking alcohol to the point of being drunk. A couple of nights of partying in Madrid really helped me realize this. Even though I'm sure my blood alcohol content never got above the limit to drive, I never felt more comfortable as more alcohol entered my body (I actually felt less comfortable).

Fifth life lesson - Experiences always turn into awesome stories.

Sixth lesson - Never travel tired. I'll never do this again because I don't think I can rely on society to return another lost wallet just because of me not paying attention because of not sleeping the night before. I will always drug myself out the night before trips so I can be fresh the next morning.

Seventh life lesson - Learn as many languages as I can. More languages = more conversations with interesting people. My new goal is to learn Mandarin, because Chinese are going to be kicking ass internationally now and for a long time.

In recap of the summer, I lived in Madrid for 3 months, I gained a Spain accent in Spanish, I taught English to 3 people, I partied, I ran with the bulls in Pamplona, I swam in the Mediterranean sea at Barcelona, I made some good friends, I had awesome experiences, and I had the summer of a lifetime.

I hope all of you had fun keeping up with me through my blog, and I'm sure I'll be having another blog-worthy experience soon.

Besos y abrazos.
Nick Canfield

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

One more thing

My house dad let me drive his Rolls Royce today.

My life is complete.

Nicolás Antonio Canfield (Nick Canfield)

Last day in España

Holy shit. I've spent some of the most interesting 89 days of my life here in this beautiful country. I have accustomed myself to a different culture, different friends, and a whole new life. It has seriously been probably the greatest experience of my life up till this point.

Some interesting updates:

I went to Barcelona two weekends ago, and I had a wonderful time on the Mediterranean Sea beach, going to beautiful cathedrals, cooking in hostels, meeting up with my Australian friend, and getting a very nice sunburn on my lower back (nice one Nicolás...) One interesting thing I didn't know about Barcelona is the amount of Catalan they speak there instead of Spanish, although the people were very helpful when I spoke to them in Spanish. It was if Barcelona was a whole different country from the Spain I'd come to know in Madrid, and it wasn't only because of the language. The people looked different and had a different sense when I saw them. Oh well, Barcelona was an awesome adventure, and I even did it when I was overcoming a bacterial infection! Bacteria = 0. Nick = 1. Scoreboard bacteria bitch!
p.s. - the beach was a topless beach. Accordingly so, I had a wonderful time!

Second update - I gambled for the first time. In Madrid there are a lot of miniature casinos that are always willing to take some money from random Polish guys (trust me, there were a lot of Polish guys in these casinos). So I went into one with a .20 Euro coin, dropped it in the slot, pressed a button, and watched my money magically disappear. I felt like I should have paid them more to watch the money magically disappear, but the night was young, and money was needed to be saved.

Third update - Presents have been bought. If I didn't buy you a present, I'm sorry. I only have a limited brain capacity and limited space in my suitcase. If you've asked for a present, you probably got one. If you didn't, then..., pray that you were one of the lucky ones I bought for!???

Fourth update - I can't wait to see my family, my friends, and my dogs back in the States. I've had one hell of a summer, and I don't regret one single second of what I've done here.

Thanks to everyone that has helped me come here and to everyone that has supported me to get me to this point. I'm talking about parents (thanks Dad, Catherine, and Mom for love and dinero to help get me here), friends (for keeping me sane when I needed to be sane. too many of you guys to thank, but you know who you are), Spanish teachers, my Nana, my aunts and uncles, my brother and sister, and of course my Spanish family here (Isabel, Carlos Padre, Carlitos, Danae, and Sonia). I can never repay you guys for the help you've given me, but you can always hope that I get really rich and friendly with my money in the future!

Otra vez, gracias por todo el apoyo. Besos y abrazos...

Nicolás Antonio Canfield (Better known as Nick Canfield)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Being sick in Spain.

Apparently pink eye exists in Spain, y me ha pillado (it has played tag with me). I'll try to survive, but Barcelona trip plans for this weekend might be dead. We'll see about tomorrow.

Besos (well, maybe not kisses because that would get you too close to my sick pink eye) y abrazos.


Friday, July 16, 2010

I come from the land of red haired people!

Hola a todos! I hope everyone is having an awesome summer still because I'm having a great summer.

Last weekend was an absolute tiring blast. On Saturday the 10th, two friends and I headed to Pamplona to go run with the bulls. The bus ride was about 5-6 hours there with plenty of beautiful Northern Spain countryside to look at. Our first mission was to find some food after getting off the bus, and we eventually ate some 5 Euro bull sandwiches at some weird restaurant. I felt relieved that I was at least going to eat a bull in the case that I died (but luck and good route planning was on my side). We then went walking around Pamplona looking for interesting things in the 40 degree Celsius weather. Then we randomly sat on a bench and eavesdropped on a conversation between an Australian girl and 7 Frenchmen. We eventually relieved the Australian girl from the fiery love pit of Frenchmen, but not without being kissed on the cheek by a Frenchman (Hint - Don't take pictures of Frenchmen for Frenchmen. They will kiss you on the cheek whether you like it or not). After the Australian was in American hands, we continued walking around Pamplona eventually opting to not go to a bullfight because tickets were about 50 Euros a pop ($75). Our original sleeping plan (of David, Ellen, and I) was to sleep in the park as a group, but the Australian girl (Whom I shall now refer to as Chi, her name) invited us to sleep more securely on the floor in her hotel room. We obliged. Before heading to the hotel, I made sure to scrutinize her story to make sure she wasn't a rapist/Frenchwoman in disguise/murderer/Lover of pop rock. Her story was completely congruent and straight, so we slept on her floor.

At 12:12am, I get a call from America; it's my dad. I couldn't answer it because my cell phone would have exploded in 2 seconds from the costs. Apparently my dad didn't want me to get killed by a nice and friendly bull, but I didn't come to Pamplona to just watch. I came to run. So the next morning, I planned a nice, easy, and safe route where I made sure no bull was going to come, and I did it. I RAN WITH THE BULLS! For more details, must see me in person.

As for the night following the running, Spain was playing in the World Cup against Holland. I of course was a little torn. Should I root for the country I'm in or the country that my heritage is from? Either way, I couldn't lose! I went to watch the game in downtown Madrid at Plaza Cibeles, and then we wandered around watching the game at random bars. When Spain won, the whole city went nuts! Cecilia, David, and I stayed up all night in Madrid singing, walking around, dancing, watching 2 old people have sex in front of the Prado Museum (very tasteful place I must say...), asking prostitutes how much their services would cost (apparently 25 euros for ______), resting on random benches, getting window shows from high school girls, and almost getting caught up in a riot. It was a fun night I'll never forget. For more details, see me in person. Blogs can't express emotions too well.

Oh, and as for the title of this blog, apparently at 5am in Spain I look like an Irishman. The people kept coming around and asking me if I was from Irlanda, and I eventually just said 'yes' to get them to shut up. Oh, the joys of being a Anglo Saxon whiteman - no one knows what country you're from! haha

I've only got 19 more days here in Spain. Here's to the best of them!


Nicolás Antonio Canfield

Thursday, July 1, 2010

2/3 done.

I thought it was about time for an update, so here it goes...

It's been 7 weeks and 5 days that I've been here in Spain. I've learned a lot of new Spanish, life skills, and a lot about myself. I've made some friends, hung out in the Madrid night life many times, and really enjoyed my time here.

The weeks are different now that Carlos and Danae are out of school. I wake up at 8:30, wrestle to get out of bed, eat a b-fast (toast with onion, salt, and olive oil. very delicious), teach Carlos at 9:35, teach Danae at 10:45, swim, eat lunch, take a 2 hour nap, swim some more, eat dinner, facebook, stumbleupon, and then sleep. On the weekends, I'm usually in Madrid from 9pm until 8am the next morning. I've been clubbing, bar hopping, touristing, dancing, meeting random people, buying beer from chinese men, and doing many other interesting things that only 3am can account for, haha. In all, Madrid night life is very fun, and I'm trying not to over- or under- do it.

Next big point of news: I have a Spanish cell phone! It's a prepay phone, and I can call people for $.14/minute. I bought the phone so I could meet up with people and stay in contact with new friends. I've had the phone for a week, and it's really been helpful.

Oh... so I know this isn't a big deal or anything, but I'm running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain on July 11th at 8am. I still need to buy a red handkerchief, a white shirt, and white pants. I'm going with a friend here named David, and we're pretty excited about going. Just bought the bus ticket last night, and it's a good 6-8 hour bus ride, and I'm sure I'll either be sleeping/preparing to run with the bulls or finishing up on my Spanish novel. It should be one awesome experience!

Holy freaking God it's getting hot here in Spain. My bedroom last night, when I went to bed, was 87 degrees Fahrenheit. Even after taking a cold shower, it was unbearable. It sucks that my house family doesn't do air conditioning, even though they live in a $2.7million house! During the day, I walk around the house with just my swimsuit on because it's literally too hot to wear anything else. But hey, it's all good. Can't wait to get back to the states for some air conditioning!

I'll be sure to post the pictures of the running of the bulls when and if I don't get trampled. Until then, I love all you guys and keep have an awesome summer.

Besos y abrazos,
Nicolás Antonio Canfield

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blah blah blah...

So, it's official. I've been clubbing in the downtown nightlife of Madrid. It was an awesome experience. I rode the metro, went to a club, actually danced, had a couple of drinks, and drifted off into the metro to catch the ride home during the Madrid sunrise. From 11pm-8am last thursday, I was on an awesome journey. I met some people, but I really didn't catch their names. Anyhow, I had an awesome time, and documentation of the night is impossible to put online! haha

It's been a wet week here in Madrid, and my house family is not liking it. I personally love it because my room is now at a comfortable 23.3 degrees celcius instead of a 31 degrees hell hole, and that makes it a lot easier to sleep. I've also been trying to get out and do what I said I'd go do every morning here in Madrid: go running in the countryside. I've marked out a pretty sweet trail from the house that goes through wheat fields, beautiful countryside, and abandoned tennis courts(???). I've ran it 2 times, but I'm hoping to do the trail at least once every 2 days.

I'm also halfway through on a new book/novel I've started: El Juego del Angel, by Carlos Zafón. It's a very difficult read, seeing as how most of the words require a lifetime of studying Spanish to understand, but I skip past the words I don't know and understand the general meaning of the sentences. Uptil now it's been a story about a writer that is hired by some crazy italian bastard to write a religious text in order to deceive the world and follow his religion. I'm only halfway through, so I'm hoping it'll be an interesting read like the last Zafón book I read, the Shadow of the Wind.

The kids are just about out of school, and when that happens I'll be on a whole different schedule. English lessons in the morning, pool in the afternoon, Madrid at night (hopefully...). I can't wait for the change, because right now I need one...

It's been 38 days here in the land of España, and I'm hoping the next 51 days are more awesomely awesomer.


Nicolás Antonio Canfield