Sunday, September 23, 2007

Oxford - more pictures!

Duygu, Maëlle and Eichiro just sent me a bunch of new pictures so I will just put them here with some short comments.

This is a picture of my class and my two teachers. There are people from a lot of places. Starting from the right we have Henrique, a brazilian musician, Maria from Spain, Ana (from Serbia, a good climber), other serbian girls, Duygu from Turkey, two Polish VERY intelligent (amazing, they knew almost everything. They liked manga like me and one of them spoke Japanese. I don't know why but I couldn't talk to them as much as I wanted), another Spaniard with an Argentinian T-shirt, a nice girl from Iran, another Spanish and another girl from Serbia I think. The teachers were very good. Stuart, on the left, was very nice and even when you made a big mistake he tried to show the rest that it was an interesting point of view haha! On the right, a very interesting person as well, very educated and singular. He had lived in Zaragoza for 15 years or so and he usually wore Spanish t-shirts.

This is Duygu and me in the gardens of a colleague in Oxford. The grass was really dense and green. Apart from that and a nice church inside, the colleague didn't have too much interest without the students (as it was summer they were on vacation in their homes).

Me, Duygu and Natascha in the lunch room of the school, the last day I think. Natascha was a very nice girl from Russia who was in a different course, more intensive. She was interested in graphic design and she had a notebook with drawings. Again, like with the polish girls, I would have liked to talk more with Natascha but I find it difficult.

This is Sandra and me talking in the living room of the school. She is from Galicia in Spain and she is studying arts in Salamanca. Her boyfriend, Fonso, is also studying arts with her but he is from Asturias. Behind us, you can see the MACs we had to access the internet. They had a horrible browser with a lot of missing functionality and it used to get stuck all the time so I had to learn how to kill windows in MAC.

Two more pictures doing "punting" in Oxford. In the first one i look very concentrated while Maëlle and Maria are a bit scared haha. In the second one, Duygu and Sandra trying to appear in the picture while I balance the boat hehe.

This is me reading the... times, of course, in the living room of the school (caught!).

Maëlle, me, Duygu, Eichiro and Sandra in the bus coming back from the city centre.

Eichiro, Sandra, Duygu and me in the living room. Behind us, a nice boy from Venezuela on the left and a cheerful girl from France on the right.

Pictures from our trip to London where we visited a lot of museums and parts of London. In the first one, Duygu and me in front of the National Gallery. In the second one, Sandra, Andras, me, Paula and Duygu besides a fountain in hyde park waiting for the bus to take us home.

Duygu, me, Eichiro, Amparo and Sandra in the school. Amparo was a woman from Sevilla that used to work in Zara, Oxford, and was studying in the intensive course. She liked to wear very fashionable clothes and was very talkative.

Eichiro, Andras and me in the riverside. We went with Maëlle to walk a footpath that goes along the river until Oxford's city centre. It was a very nice and relaxed day.

A picture of the Spanish group (and Eichiro) in the Oxford O'Neills pub. This was to celebrate our last day in Oxford. I liked this pub a lot because they have live music, good and variety in the drinks and you can have lunch or dinner inside.

Me, Qin and Eichiro. Qin is a beautiful chinese girl from Shanghai and she was one of the first persons I met in Oxford (we were sitting next to each other at the first level test). Maybe someday I will make her a visit in her wonderful country.

This is Eichiro with Keiko, a Japanese girl that we met in The Bridge, the most popular nightclub in Oxford. Apparently, they went on with their "friends" relationship ;). Eichiro about to say goodbye to Oxford.

Eichiro, give me my hat!! ;) I bought that typical british hat before coming. I like it but definitely it doesn't match with Eichiro's fashionable clothes haha.

Some pictures from our day strolling besides the river to the city center. Very relaxed and interesting day. Is that your favourite one, isn't it Maëlle? The last picture is one of the best pictures I have from Maëlle.

Monday, September 10, 2007


I just arrived from León when I set off on a new journey, this time to the beautiful England, paid by a grant from the Spanish government that I had won to spend three weeks in an English-speaking country studying English. After sometime looking up the Internet, my favourite places to go were Canada and the States. However the travel expenses were too high to be covered by my grant and it required some additional documents, like a visa, etc. So eventually, I settled on a closer and easy-to-reach place, Oxford, the place were the most famous english dictionary was born.

Week 1

I took a Ryanair low cost flight to London Stansted departing from Santander. As I was going to be unable to make it to Oxford at a reasonable hour I decided to spend that night in a hostel, at Picadilly Circus. From Stansted I took a coach to Victoria Station, and then I walked all the way to Picadilly Backpackers hostel where I left my luggage and rushed out for a Spaniards meeting that I had found out thanks to Internet.

At the meeting I got to know a lot of people and after some chat we went out to the Soho area. There, I could see very interesting people of all kinds, it was full of life!. The last nightclub we went to was called Pepe's (although there was no sign at the entrance) and it was horrible. It looked like a cave full of smoke and spaniards and it was really hot inside. After that, I went back to Picadilly to have a short nap before leaving for Oxford. There are several coach companies servicing the route London-Oxford. I used the Oxford Tube and it ended up being a great decision as it was a really good bus that included a Wireless connection inside (Wifi->GPRS) and I was able to check out my e-mail through my PSP (playstation portable).

In Oxford, I got off at the bus station in the city centre and I walked towards my homestay family with a map in my hand. The walk was longer than what I expected (especially because I was carrying my luggage and I hadn't rested enough the night before). Eventually, I found the house, knocked the door and a lovely family gave me the welcome. I was very lucky because my family was very kind, they were native speakers and their home was very cozy. Heidi was the mother and she worked helping old people. Chris, the father, worked for a nearby shopping center and liked to play the keyboard. They had two children. James, who was six years old, was mad at trains and Benjamin, the youngest, was four years old and he wanted to be the driver of a local bus (the number five to be exact). My room was very nice and there were English books and dictionaries.

The next day was my first class. When I arrived at the school I was given some forms to fill in and then the new students had to do a level test. While doing this test I started making my first friends in the school, a Japanese guy called Eichiro and a Chinese girl called Qin.

I was placed in the post-intermediate class which was one level bellow the maximum and I was going to have two 1h 30min classes every. At the school, there were several social activities to do every day.

In my first week, the activities I participated in were: football, latino night at the Bridge nightclub (it was a nice nightclub with two floors, spanish music on the top floor), a tour in Oxford city watching the main buildings and a college, films with subtitles (Just friends), goodbye party at the Studio nightclub (I didn't like this nightclub). On Saturday, I went with my friends to London where I guided them to the most turistical parts. I decided to stay in London, instead of coming back to Oxford, to attend another Spaniards meeting like the previous Saturday. I also took the opportunity to see some shops in London's Oxford street, especially HMV (a big music shop). This time the meeting had fewer people but I enjoyed it more than the previous one. I learned a lot about the life in London from the talk that we had at Nanobyte, a pub in the Soho. Then we went out to a fine local especialized on music of the sixties (and fifties I think). There were some people dressed up like at those times and it was an interesting experience.

Week 2

My daily routine, basically, consisted of going to school and doing some of the social activities included in the School. At the school I used to go sometimes to the Library and the Listening room. Other times I preferred to talk in English with my friends.

On Wednesday, we went again to the Latino party at the Bridge, we made very nice pictures at the VIP room with Maëlle, a French girl and Sandra, from Galicia. That week, we had another party in a private club. This club was very interesting because it looked like those very private clubs you can read in English literature (Sherlock Holmes ;)). At the end, I played billiard with the French people. On Thursday, Eichiro, Maëlle, Andras and me went to do a nice walk from the school to the city centre through a beautiful footpath that went along the river. The day was sunny and we made good conversation.

The next day, we went to do punting which is very typical from Oxford and Cambridge. I was afraid of falling off the boat to the river when I was rowling. On Saturday, I went again to London. I visited some museums with Duygu, a Turkish girl, Andras, an Hungarian guy, Sandra and Paula, from France.

On Sunday, I did a short but lovely walk with Sandra following the Ridgeway, a very old path in the south of Oxford, from Goring to Wallingford. The walk was especially appropiate to see the beautiful countryside in England. We enjoyed, at last, a very nice weather and we see beautiful cottages and gardens. I also found a pair of Ray Ban sunglasses that someone had forgotten.

Week 3

The last week was a bit boring because most of the studens had already gone back home. On Friday, we went to the O'Neills to say goodbye to everyone. O'Neills is a brand of Irish pubs that you can find in a lot of places (in London, I saw two of them in the Soho). You can have a drink, lunch or dinner there in it is very popular. I liked it especially because they have music in live.

On the way back home, everything was smoothy. I took a coach from Oxford directly to Stansted. I met two Spanish sisters from Bilbao, Elena and Irene, that were returning home like me from a month learning the language of Shakespeare.

I will put here a list of people I met in Oxford so that I don't forget their names:

Chris-Heidi-James-Benjamin (my homestay family), Eichiro (Nagoya, Japan), Maëlle (studying in Toulon, France), Sandra (A Coruña, Spain, studying in Salamanca), Qin and Qi (Shanghai, China), Duygu (studying in Istambul to become an English teacher, Turkey), Maria (Spain), Natascha (interested in graphic design, Russia), Hiroshi (Saitama, Japan, he is coming to Madrid, he loves football), Donatien and Paule (very nice people from France), Andras (an expert doing sounds with his body, Hungary), Mercedes (Sevilla, Spain), Ana (Ciudad Real, Spain), Amparo (used to work for Zara in Oxford, Sevilla, Spain)... to be completed