Well, it's August 18, 2010... I am sitting on my uncle's porch in Colorado Springs, eating raisin bran, soaking up warm morning rays, and alternating between reading a John Grisham book and random internet stuff. Is it possible to read too much soccer gossip and news. I have never done a blog before so... I don't know how often I'll update it or what exactly I'll do but... at the very least, it'll remind you that I am alive in the "imaginary" country of Andorra. Obviously, pictures are a no-go for now since I haven't been there but I will put those up after I get there!
So far, I know virtually nothing about my life in Andorra but I can give you little snippets about what I do know.
A) I will be living in a hotel for the first four or so weeks in Andorra. Either in the Aparthotel El Conseller or in the Aparthotel El Serch in the town of Escalades-Engordany which is a mere 2-3 km from the booming metropolis of Andorra la Vella! Andorra la Vella (translates as Andorra the Old) is the capital of Andorra and the highest capitol in all of europe at 3,500 feet which is actually lower than I initially thought but still pretty high. It has been the capitol since 1278... beats D.C. a bit in the age department!
B) The school where I will be a "lector" is in the town of Encamp. It is EASE Encamp and I am told it is a relatively new school with kids coming from all over the country. I know little about my role, what I'll be doing or how my kids will be but I am excited for the challenge of trying to figure out how to teach. I believe it is about 5 miles from Andorra la Vella which is probably where I will be living-most likely with other fulbrighters as real estate is apparently a bit of a challenge to find. As you can imagine, in a country of 85,000 people dependent on tourism, long-term housing leases are not necessarily the way to go!
C) Soccer, I have nothing to report on this front because the Fulbright go-to guy in Andorra-Jordi-is going to help point me in the right direction(s) when I get there but I hope to do possibly a combination of playing and learning how to coach. I am excited though because I think it will help me get to know people and also help me with learning Catalan. I have gotten a book so that I can at least try to get down the sounds to help me with transition but have not really learned too much yet, but it's a start
D) Other hopes, plans, and ambitions: I saw on the Encamp city website (http://www.encamp.ad/) that there appears to be a choir which if so, I would love to try to join as another way to "get out there," improve my language and have a good time. Singing in foreign languages always is a challenge 4 sho! There is also apparently one Protestant church in the country-Anglican which I'd like to go to and try to join the community there but I'm also going to look at the local Catholic churches and check them out too. I am really excited/daunted about this part of my life since my faith community has been such a big part of my overall life both at Wake Forest and at Rift Valley so it will be a bit of a change but, God is good and it is always good to challenge and grown in my faith. The final things I envision trying are a language center where I can take Catalan lessons and also a language partner program where I can meet once a week with someone who wants to learn English and we can then help each other.