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Snippets from Segovia!

On January 8th ten Proctor students arrived in Segovia, Spain.

And that is where the adventure began!

When I woke up in the plane and looked out the window, I was stunned by what I was seeing.  I finally got my first glimpse of Spain, which was very different from what I had imagined; the landscape looked very brown and rocky but also very beautiful. It was finally clear in my mind that I was in Spain and the trip I had so many expectations for had started.

~ Henrique Ferreira

So much has happened in the short time they've been here.

Close friendships have developed. (Photo credit: April Scott)

Photo credit: April Scott

We all finally got off the bus and there were our host moms excited to see us. I could not understand one single thing they were saying. I was so tired I couldn’t even pick up key words that I know I knew. I met my host mom and she signaled for me to follow her. I got my suitcase and started to follow her. It was when I looked back at my friends that the realization hit me. I was going on this part of the journey alone.

~ Nick Vercollone

Students have explored the streets of Segovia.

Segovia's Casco Viejo (Old Quarter) (Photo credit: Stiles Alpeter)

They have learned to navigate the city's bus system.

They have become regulars at the local gym.

When I stepped into Marga’s house she was so excited, to show me all that she has. She made me feel like every part of the house was for me. Her excitement carried from room to room as she gave me the tour of her apartment. She continuously offered me food, but after the plane rides the last thing I wanted was food. I took my first siesta while in Spain and when I woke up Marga had the same smile spread across her face. She was in the kitchen when I greeted her so I assumed the next time she offered me food, it was a rhetorical question. She gave me salad, when I say salad I mean lettuce with tomatoes and some olive oil as dressing. It was a simple meal to whip together and a healthy one. I had never thought about using olive oil as dressing but it seems to be Marga’s favorite and one that I like.

~ Haley de Vries

We have learned that Liam is unbeatable when it comes to bowling.

We've strolled through the gardens of the Real Palacio de San Ildefonso de La Granja.

It’s the first full day of being in Spain, at about three in the morning. After going to bed around midnight in my new bed, in my new room, in my new house, with my new family in a new country, I got about three and a half hours of sleep before I woke up. Jet lag was one of the main reasons I did not get much sleep, along with being in an environment that was foreign to me. So there I was at 3:35 am, lying in my bed, waiting for my first full day in Segovia, Spain to start. I had set my alarm a few hours prior to wake me up in time to meet a couple of classmates before our first day, so I spent the few remaining hours playing candy crush and trying to go back to sleep.

~ Nicola Bush

History class has taken place in a variety of different settings.

Everyone is working hard including our kitty, Gatito.

 I did not fully realize what I was getting myself into on this Spain trip until I was introduced to my host mom. She immediately greeted me, gave me a big hug and started to ramble on about how excited she was to meet me, which is what I thought she was saying. We got in the car and immediately I was overwhelmed with how much Spanish she was speaking to me and how little I actually understood. The first question that she asked me was “Cuantos años tienes?”  I responded saying “yo……” thinking to myself how to say 17 in Spanish. I panicked from how overwhelmed I was and used my fingers to show my age.

~ Stiles Alpeter

Isabella turned 17!

And Ryan turned 29!

I sit there squeezed between a baby car seat and my new host mama in an extremely small car heading back to the apartment. It stays silent until Maria, my host mom, starts speaking fiercely to me and the others. My mind goes blank and I freeze. I have little to no understanding of what she is saying so I just put my hands up in confusion. She laughs, looks out the window, and proceeds to tell me again in a different way. She asks me how old I am and I tell her slowly and very improperly with the little Spanish that I know that I am 16 turning 17 on February 5th.

~ Amy Sayles

Photography is a constant theme. (Photo credit: April Scott)

There is no shortage of inspiration for these talented photographers.

I sat up straight in the room I would spend the next two months sleeping in, with the same feeling I had on that plane. I was now in Spain, a reality I had not put much thought into until about five days before I got on that plane at Logan airport. I was alone, scared, and didn’t know what the next two months would entail. I expected to be lost in a world I couldn’t understand, where the people looked at me like some ignorant foreigner. At first I did feel this, while walking to my new home I saw many things that were unfamiliar to me. My host mother was talking to me in very quick Spanish; I understood parts but mostly I just nodded and kept walking.

~ Liam Howard

Pools of water in the gardens of La Granja.  (Photo credit: April Scott)

Photo credit: April Scott

Photo credit: April Scott


I struggle at the main apartment building door, unable to enter even though I have the right key. I have to take a deep breath and relax before trying again. The building is quiet and dark. I search around for the light switch, trying to avoid running into any walls or doors. The small elevator brings me slowly up to the fourth floor where I enter my homestay’s apartment. Wonderful smells always greet me at the door, along with a loud “Hola Abril!” and a hug from Paqui, my host mom. I quickly run upstairs to my room to drop off my bag and change into some more comfortable clothes. I go back downstairs to find Jimena, the eight year old granddaughter, watching Disney Channel. I sit with her on the couch and she turns and smiles at me. Once dinner is ready we go into the kitchen to have dinner. Throughout dinner Jimena laughs and laughs. Most of the time I have no idea what she is laughing about, but just the sincere joy she has makes me smile too. She whispers something to Paqui… I assume it’s something that she doesn’t want me to hear. But then Paqui turns to me and tells me that Jimena doesn’t have a sister. I then turn to look at Jimena who has a thumbs down and says in Spanish, “no bueno!”. Jimena then continues to tell me that I am very pretty, and I return the compliment to the adorable brunette girl. She smiles and laughs and says, “Thank you!”. All the hardships I’ve faced in my week in Spain vanish after this short conversation with Jimena. I feel as though I am a part of their family, and that they truly enjoy having me stay here.

~ April Scott

Salad on Friday night at Almuzara.

Amy's chocolate mouse at Almuzara.

On Thursday I joined my host mom, Cristina on her trip to pick eleven year old Fernando up from school. While I was walking down the hallway Fernando spotted me and came running to give me a hug and two kisses. He automatically put me into a wonderful mood. The three of us got into the car and took off. Cristina and Fernando took me on a tour of the city. They each showed me their favorite restaurants, parks, and beautiful castles. All of a sudden I remembered that I had to meet the group at the school very soon. It took me multiple tries to communicate to them that I had made a mistake and that I was going to be late. Thankfully, they eventually understood what I was trying to say. Cristina started to increase her speed and head for home. We drove up to a construction site and had to stop the car. Cristina and Fernando rapidly exchanged words, and started gesturing for me to get out of the car. Fernando got out, opened my door, grabbed my hand and started jogging. I had no other choice but to let him blindly lead me through unfamiliar city streets. With a massive grin on my face I trusted him, and began to feel a strong bond between the Olalla family and me.

~ Meaghan Sheehy

A photography afternoon trip took us to the small pueblo Pedraza. (Photo credit: Haley de Vries)

En route to Pedraza students stopped to take shots of horses and this happened! (Photo credit: Haley de Vries)

Haley strolls through an exercise park in Pedraza.  (Photo credit: Meaghan Sheehy)

Photo credit: Meaghan Sheehy

Photo credit: Meaghan Sheehy

Photo credit: Meaghan Sheehy

Photo credit: Meaghan Sheehy

 My homestay meals have become an occasion I look forward to.  They are a time when I can reflect while learning bits and pieces about the country I get to call home for two short months.  I no longer feel the need to keep up constant conversation, but instead have started observing small characteristics about the room in which my mother spends so much time.  Using the keys that lead me throughout my days has become easier.  I am starting to adapt to the Spanish culture.  I take my time walking from place to place.  I watch the people walk past, with the young mothers pushing their babies’ strollers.  I have begun to appreciate the smaller aspects of my day that in New Hampshire I would never have time to observe.

~ Isabella Ellis

Students explored Segovia's cathedral with their Spanish teachers. (Photo credit: April Scott)

(Photo credit: April Scott)

(Photo credit: April Scott)

Metal arts projects are coming along beautifully already.

There was a protest in Segovia's Plaza Mayor in support of protestors in Burgos, Spain who oppose a 8 million euro street remodeling/beautification project. They believe this money could be better spent elsewhere.

And there were puppies.

Many adorable puppies.

Photo credit: Isabella Ellis

Sunset at Segovia's castle (Photo credit: Haley de Vries)

Farewell until next time!
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  • Ethney McMahon
    Oh, the food! I recall it all so vividly with your wonderful posts and photos. Thanks for sharing.
  • Brooks Bicknell
    Hecho de menos Segovia. Qué lo pases muy bien y dar recuerdos a todos las familias y Maria Jose y Rosa. - Brooks
  • Lori Patriacca
    Oh Segovia! You guys look like you are having about as much fun as I would have expected. Keep enjoying the food and savoring the little moments that come with each day. Looking forward to the next blog post!
  • Douglas Houston
    Why am I not surprised that it's Meaghan's scarf the horse decided to grab? Great comments about your host families! Thanks!
  • john ferris
    Great input on the feeling of being in a home stay situation. The horse and the scarf....priceless. thank you and enjoy!
  • Valerie Ferris
    What a fun blog! Keep them coming... I love reading about all of your adventures.
Located in  Andover, NH,  Proctor Academy is a private coeducational day and boarding school for grades 912. Students benefit from a rigorous academic program, experiential off-campus programs, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.
204 Main Street  .  PO Box 500  .  Andover, NH 03216
p. (603) 735-6000   f. (603) 735-6300