IIIIII’ll Be Home for Christmas

Ahh, can’t you just hear Bing Crosby crooning  away now?  Well, I can…because that’s the song currently playing on Spotify…😉.

But you can’t imagine just how excited I am, because guess what?  According to the countdown app, it’s only 13 hours and 3 minutes until I board my flight back home for Christmas!!!  I’M SO PUMPED!!!  I can’t wait to hug my family, Yashas, my cats, sleep in my bed, use a clothes dryer, feel carpeting under my feet, eat mac ‘n cheese, and a whole assortment of other things that I’ve been missing oh so dearly the last 3 months.

But I barely had time to think about home this past week because of everything going on!

First, I have a new place of residence!  I’m now living with Lauren, one of the assistants at my school.  I moved into her apartment in Villanueva de la Cañada with her earlier this week, and it’s been great!  I’ve been enjoying living with her and I think we’re going to have a lot of fun the rest of our time here.

Second, our school had a Christmas program on Thursday, so we spent the week preparing for that!  Each grade performed a Christmas carol for the entire school/parents, and it was SO CUTE to watch all the kids in their Santa outfits and holiday hats singing and dancing.  I felt like a proud parent when I watched my 3rd and 4th graders perform!  Afterwards, all the teachers went out and had a couple drinks together.  I love my coworkers, and it was a good way to celebrate the end of a hectic week and the start of our vacation.

The assistants rockin’ it for Christmas

Third, it was one of the girl’s birthday that I tutor this week, so I was invited to her family birthday party!  I got to hang out, eat snacks, and meet so many family members, with whom I got to practice my Spanish.  It was really nice of them to invite me! The dad even said I was like family, which made my heart grow 3x its size, just like the Grinch’s.  I really love working with that family and feel very fortunate to know them.

Fourth, Lauren, her friend Katie, and Clara (who lives in VdlC) went out in Villanueva de la Cañada last weekend.  We assumed it would be pretty cool, considering there is a university in town and college students like to go out, but we were pretty disappointed.  The music was pretty bad and everyone looked like they were 16 years old, but we still had a good time together.

Okay, that’s all for now!  I gotta go finish packing for home!  Next stop: THE USA!!! ✈️

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones! 🎄 Enjoy your time with family and friends this holiday season!

One Month Down…

Okay, I did it!  I survived one month!  I can do anything now, right?  Right?!

Well…maybe.  Just like last post, I’m still questioning my ability to survive here, but a little less so.  And here are some reasons why:

Being  a Teacher in Spain is Hard.

…At least if you are used to the education system in the US.  While US schools have no chill, Spain (public) schools have all the chill.  What does that mean?  It means my days in class are INSANE.  I have at least one class in every grade, 1-6, in English, Science, PE, and Arts & Crafts, each week.  And in most of these classes, the concept of classroom management barely exists.  This is what I saw the first day I went to my school:

  • Kids running around the hallways
  • Kids punching each other (playfully, but still)
  • Students talking to and over each other while their classmates were presenting projects
  • Talking over the teachers/not listening
  • And the best?  Paper mache in Arts & Crafts where there were no tablecloths, no smocks or aprons covering the kids, and not even a bowl for the glue/water mixture.  It was literally ALL. OVER. THE DESKS.  I wanted to cry as the kids ran around the room, throwing the balloons, and not cleaning up when asked.

I really think I came close to having a heart attack that day, and there are days where I still feel like that.  However, I mostly work with one of the 3rd grade teachers and she is AMAZING.  She knows what she’s doing and the kids like and respect her.  So do I!  I’m very happy to have her as a co-teacher.  Plus, the kiddos are so cute and always say hi to me in the hallway, so that warms my heart.  Also cute?  The fact that any time you ask, “How are you?” the students respond, “Fine, thank you, and you?”  No matter what!  It’s hilarious!  The other good news is that I don’t work on Mondays, so I get a 3 day weekend every week, woohoo!  Not gonna lie, I will definitely need that extra day to recover from the week ;).

(Why in the World did I Take a) Yoga Class

So, what I was thinking was that since I was in a new country, I might as well try new things.  And one of those things was a yoga class.

Okay, first thing you should know is that I’ve never taken a yoga class in my life.  Second thing you should know is that my Spanish has not miraculously improved in the last month.  So put those together and you get…a disaster.  It. Was. So. Awkward.  To top it off, it wasn’t like the class was in a normal yoga studio where I could hide in the back and try to watch what everyone else was doing.  Instead, it was in this woman’s basement and we were all facing each other in a circle.  So there I was, not knowing any yoga positions and also not understanding a single word the instructor said.  She would periodically come by and try to adjust my pose, but I never knew what she wanted from me.  It certainly was an experience, but needless to say, I haven’t gone back.

Okay, but enough with the struggles and onto the cool stuff I’ve been up to!

  1. I saw the movie, A Monster Calls (in English, lol), with my friends Sam and Minorka, and it was so good! It hasn’t come out in the US yet, but the director is Spanish so it released here.  It was amazing and beautiful…I definitely recommend it!
  2. I went to a cat cafe called Gatoteca.  It was so cool!  We basically walked around these rooms for 30 minutes petting the cats that were running around.  I think I was in heaven.
  3. We (Sam, Minorka, and I…are you sensing a theme?) also went to a rooftop bar which had some cool views.  I tell ya, Madrid is beautiful.
  4. I had a phenom (American) brunch the other day at this restaurant called The Toast.  OMG!!!!  They had PB&J pancakes, breakfast burritos, and mimosas, all of which I got, lol.  Soooo good…
  5. The other day was Minorka’s birthday, so we went out to celebrate!  First dinner at this neat place called Ojala where I got mac n’ cheese (guys, I’m sorry, it’s just that these foods are my comfort foods and I needed them), then we went out to wander and look for a bar/discoteca to go to.  We found one and hung out for awhile there (I drank a violeta mimosa, which was basically a purple sugary drink, but I’m not complaining), but then the best part?  CHURROS CON CHOCOLATE AT 4:30 AM!  It’s basically a tradition to do that after a night out, so we did it, and it was so worth it.  We didn’t get to sleep until about 6:00 am that day, but it certainly was a good night.
  6. The next day (October 12) was a Spanish holiday, so no school for me!  The bogus part was it was super rainy (the first day of rain in the 4.5 weeks I’d been there…a nice change from the Midwest!)  Minorka and I caught the end of the parade and tried to get to the flag ceremony in time, but we didn’t. Fail.  So we went to the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía fo’ free and saw all the artwork.  Now, I wouldn’t consider myself an “art person,” but MAD RESPECT for some of those artists.  I finally got to see Pablo Picasso’s Guernica in person and was in awe.  All those years studying it in Spanish classes didn’t doit justice.  It was so cool.  Plus I got to see some work by Salvador Dalí, an artist I am super intrigued by.  Overall a really neat day, despite the rain.  Oh, plus, we wandered around and happened upon an Indian restaurant that actually makes chicken jalfrezi, my favorite Indian dish.  I have searched for this dish high and low in Indian restaurants in the US and have yet to find it.  Spain: 1.  US: 0.

I tell ya, this country is the shizz.

Random Corner:

Shout Outs To: Everyone I have read notes from: my mom, the entire Block family, my cousin Brynnie, McCade Brown, Angie Stoewer, and Uncle Kent.  You guys don’t know how much these notes mean to me when I’m 4,000 miles away…THANK YOU!  I look forward to opening the rest.

Missing: Pumpkin flavored things, grass, having money, and acceptably wearing athletic clothes 24/7 (the women here are perpetually stylish, and I’m not about that life.)

Guess What: It’s official: I booked my plane ticket to come home for Christmas! I’m so excited to be able to see my favorite peeps for a couple weeks!  I wasn’t originally planning to go home, but I think it will be absolutely necessary for my sanity, haha!

Send Positive Thoughts to Yashas as he moves to Boston this Saturday to begin his new job!  So proud of how hardworking he is :).

Skyping with bebe!!