Monday, December 19, 2011

What the...?

What kind of yummy deliciousness is this?
It's like a crispy strudel with the flavor of ham and cheese
Or, or a ham and cheese sandwich with the sides melted together. I, I don't know. It's so good, so I just don't know what to write. It's a ham and cheese patty. Yay! When I came home tonight, I thought it was fish, but when I cut into it and ate it...yum! It's called a sanjacobo.

And then the cinnamon flavored custard with added cinnamon. Wow!

Pura Vida!

My students make my social life possible...

I say this because most of my outings happen due to invitations from my students. Haha. It reminds me of ASU...

Friday, I had dinner with my basic 2 students in Haro, and it was fabulous.

All of them are older than 40 and so are really committed to learning English. They want English for their own personal development and not for a job. That's how I feel about learning languages. I want to be able to communicate with different people from different cultures without the stress of having my paycheck depend on my language level.

Before dinner, I stayed a student's house and planned my holiday trips. She gave me cookies, tea, and supplied with me a scarf because my silly self went to Haro without one. We then headed out to a bar to have some coffee.

Eleven on the students were at the dinner. They thought it would be funny to test me. They asked me if I remembered all of their names and , of course, I did remember them all. I have almost 300 students so it's a bit difficult at times.

We had a nice three course meal, and I was lectured on the history of wine in La Rioja. Because they don't know very much English, I was able to practice my Spanish for a long time. They did want to practice their English sometimes but not the entire time. They shared their English woes and made a proposal to me to help them improve their English for the A2 level test at the end of at the school year. I will try my best to help them.

After dinner, we went to a discotheque and danced for a little bit. By this time, I was too tired to dance anything. At the discotheque, I saw some of my advanced 1 students. They had invited me to dinner on the same day, but I went with my basic 2 students because they had asked first. At this point, I spoke less English and less Spanish. Every one tried to get a word in with me to practice. That's what I love about being here. I can English lessons for many things. I wonder if the dance teacher will take English lessons for dance lessons. Hehe. We'll see.

Anywho, after the discotheque, I stayed at my student's house and fell asleep on a nice bed with a layer of memory foam. Aaah. The next morning, she took me back home and told me that I was welcome anytime in her house. She's so sweet!

Well, I'll catch up with you all later.

Pura Vida!

Monday, December 12, 2011

10 common mistakes in learning English

Just something posted at la escuela oficial de idiomas. Richard Vaughan has the leading English program in Spain. I would say that Americans make these same mistake when learning languages.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

An ecuadorian meal

Hello all.

Last night I ate dinner with my Ecuadorian student and her friends (Ecuadorian, Colombian, Spanish, and German). They had a farewell party for German co-worker. The German girl has been in Spain since July doing an internship at a hotel for her tourism studies. We talked for a while about our difficulties with Spanish. She told me that she barely spoke or understood any Spanish when she came. After 5 months in Spain, she speaks fluently. There's hope for me!

For dinner we had tortillas, carmelized apples, pork, cranberry sauce, lettuce, and filled aguacate. And ice cream for dessert. It was yummy. I will be making this meal one day in Logroño.

After we ate, they exchanged some lovely gifts. Although I didn't know about the exchange, my student included me. How nice! She gave me a bracelet that is meant for good luck. Apparently, I'm supposed to be married after one year. Mmmk. For some reason, everyone is trying to marry me off to random Spaniards. A ver.

After the gift exchange, we played a round of a game called Parchís and then headed out to the discotheque. I had my ear plugs. :)

Since the last bus leaves Haro at 8pm, I spent the night at her apartment in a room with a her cat who was likely abused by a former owner. He didn't want to be touched. :( He just slept under my bed, and I let him be.

So here I am, tired out of my mind and preparing holiday plans. My break starts in two weeks. I'll tell you about it afterwards. ;) Some pretty spectacular things are going to happen.


3 hours in an egg factory?


Yesterday, the headquarters of an egg store, La Floreta, opened its doors for tours. The family that I live with thought it would be a good idea to take the boys to see the chickens.
This place is in the middle of nowhere in Uruñuela (La Rioja). Kids were playing in the mud, throwing sticks, and picking grapes from the field. We waited in this line for an hour to see the process after the chicken lay the eggs. We walked around in plastic jackets as they showed us all this fancy equipment and explained the care of the eggs.

The main attraction was supposed to be the chickens. The kids came for the chickens, but we only saw 4 chickens. They kept the others back until after the tour. At the end, we were treated to tapas, wine and candy. Then is when we saw all the chickens...on the screen. I guess they thought that the children would be rough with them. Oh, well.

Pura Vida!

Oviedo, Asturias

Hello again...

So today is the last day of my long break. I had Friday through Tuesday off and then Thursday through today. I went away last weekend, but I had to return to go to work on Wednesday.

So last week after I paid my rent, I had no money. Well, I only had bus money and a little extra. I thought that I wouldn't be able to travel for the long break. I came to Spain so that I can travel around to all the autonomous communities and to some neighboring countries. I was a little bummed until someone invited me on a trip to Oviedo, Asturias. Oviedo is the capital of the province of Asturias. Asturias is also the name of the autonomous community. It's like my region. The community of La Rioja only has one province: La Rioja. Some of the larger communities have more than one province.

The Asturiana that invited me was visiting home so it wouldn't be a problem for me to ride along. After thinking about it for a little while, I decided to go. I waited to give her my answer so that I wouldn't seem so anxious. I packed my bag and my whole 15 euros and left Logroño behind for 5 days. I was eager to see something different.

Oviedo is my new favorite city in the north of Spain. I could notice the difference of the soil. Due to the large amounts of rain, everything in Asturias is very green.

During the day, we just walked around so that I could learn the streets and some important sites to visit. At night, I had dinner with the Asturiana and her 13 friends. All her friends were older than me but they were very friendly and open to speaking to a foreigner with broken spanish. :) Some of her friends even taught me some insults. Everyone thought it was funny when I took out paper to write them all down.

After dinner, we went to a discotheque and danced for a long time. I kicked myself of course for forgetting my ear plugs. I may look like a loser with them in, but at least my hearing won't decline rapidly. Once the ear's cilia are gone, they're gone. I'm sure my friends who read this will call me a dork. Either way, I had fun.
Downtown Oviedo

La sidra is cider. A traditional drink of Asturias.

The next day, we had lunch in a tiny village outside of Oviedo called Quintaniella. The landscape reminded me of Costa Rica, because of the houses and random sheep and cows scattered along the mountains. In La Rioja, you can drive for long periods of time without seeing anything but fields.

Used to walk on the farm
A typical Asturian storage house. It's design keeps the mice out.

I spent the next couple of days wandering around Oviedo and window shopping. I will be window shopping for a long time. Sigh. Well, at least I'm in Spain.

A nifty invention for clothes created to defeat the rain of Asturias

Against cutback of public services
An old government building now used for cultural activities
I also met with some English assistants who are teaching in secondary schools. Thanks to Laura from contacting them for me. One is from Germany (Sara) and the other is from Texas (Ryan). We exchanged some idiosyncrasies of the English language. Ryan and I shared our loathe for combination of "have-got". If I don't have to use "get", I don't. I've noticed that I use it a lot more, because my younger students use it a lot. It's ok, because it's informal English and we are mostly in informal situations. It just irks me. But anyway...

Sara pointed out that the problem of asking native speakers questions, because they will give you several answers. There is more than one way to construct a sentence and language learners just want a definite answer. It's the same for any language.

After leaving them, I walked some more. I was not able to go to all the places that I wanted to visit. I'm not very disappointed, because I will have another chance to go when the Asturiana returns. Next time, I'll hit every important place, travel to Gijón, and go rafting.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Teachers eat lunch in style


So I just had lunch for the first time with the teachers at the primary school. I didn't realize that it was free. I'm going to be eating here everyday now. :) Lunch includes 3 plates, of course. Vegetables, meat, and dessert. Drink choices: Water or red wine. Yes. At lunch. At school. The teachers. Yes. They drink for the taste, not to become drunk. I love it!


Language school award

So my language school (Escuela Oficial de Haro -Extension Haro was awarded 3rd place for the most innovative language program in Spain! This town, Haro, maybe has a population of around 12,000 people and won this awesome award. It includes a trophy and some money! Wee! Well, none of that money goes to me ofcourse. It's just awesome publicity for the school.


Saturday, November 26, 2011

El 25 aniversario Asociación Protectora de animales en La Rioja


Today I came across this event in the plaza near the Tourist office. It's the 25th anniversary of the Animal Protection association of La Rioja. I was on my way to buy some more post cards. I'm glad I went this way. Looks like another volunteer opportunity. They had a nice show displaying the animals that need a home. I also saw a concert, ate same tapas, and drank some wine. I went back after the siesta for the free toast (chin-chin) with white wine. Yummy. They also passed out free hot chocolate and bread. It was a nice Saturday. I love it when I come across random events. They brighten my day. :)


toasting to the 25th anniversary. chin-chin(pronounced cheen)

the second round (otra, otra, otra) -another, another, another. People were chanting for them to sing another song.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Why I love english

If you can't see the words on my picture here is the original source-

Why is English so hard to learn?

(author/s unknown)

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
8) I did not object to the object.
9) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
10) They were too close to the door to close it.
11) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
12) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
13) I shed my clothes in the shed.

Let's face it - English is a ridiculous language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in ah amburger; neither apple nor pine in a pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England, nor French fries in France.
Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are

You cannot buy boots in Boots, You cannot buy virgins in Virgin, You cannot buy threshers in Threshers and the Superdrug chain is a great disappointment.

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that bakers bake, but grocers don't groce?
If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth?
One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?
If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all). That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

And finally, how about when you want to shut down your computer you have to hi t "START"?


This was also posted at the Thanksgiving party. In February, it will be Black History month at CPC Sagrado Corazón and at La escuela oficial de idiomas!

Pictures continued

Día de Acción de Gracias- Thanksgiving


Yesterday I was exhausted, but this morning I was as fresh as a daisy! I taught my adult students the idiom and now I'm using it all the time. They actually have an equivalent in spanish. I'm as fresh as lettuce. Tan fresco como una lechuga. Mmmk. :|

So yesterday the Official language school had a Thanksgiving party. That is, a party without food. No turkey, no dressing, no cranberry sauce, no mashed potatoes, no green beans. No...nothing? :)
The director of the school said that we didn't have food, because students would not participate. She we would wait for the big party on Christmas. There'd better be food!

So besides the absence of a feast, the party was good. It wasn't Thanksgiving Day. It was America Day. The teachers had decorated the school in American flags, presidents, money, jerseys, Native American head dress. Every possible American thing that you can think of. Apparently, she lived in the US for quite some time and accumulated a collection of American memorabilia.

The first part of the party was more of an information session. The students played games with Thanksgiving theme and learned some really cool things about Thanksgiving. For instance...
Did you know that a spooked turkey can run 20mph?
Or how about that Truman pardoned the first turkey? (two turkeys are pardoned per year)
Or or That Benjamin Frankin named the male turkey (tom) after Thomas Jefferson. Franklin thought that the turkey was a more respectable bird...
Or that 50% of the pilgrims survived to celebrate Thanksgiving?
Or that a turkey can drown when it's raining by looking up? :D
Or that a cranberry must bounce 4 inches before it is harvested?

One of the advanced students asked me if I had to study that stuff in school. Haha.

After the fun games, we did a country line dance. Well, I did a country line dance. I found one online that seemed relatively easy. Either the dance was too hard or people were afraid to dance. I guess some people have to be drunk in order to dance. I basically did it by myself (with a cowboy hat) as I was being taped by one of the teachers. Great.

After the dancing, we sang the national anthem. The teachers handed out the lyrics, but I didn't need it. :) I sang it really loud and with my hand over my heart. It wasn't for show. It was just natural, but everyone was impressed. They love our patriotism. Coolie!

I had an awesome time with the teachers afterwards. We threw pecans and almonds on the floor to try and crack them open and talked about drinking. "How often do you get pissed, Bionca" WOW. My night ended with an interesting conversation with the director on the way home.

Although we didn't have turkey, I had a great time. I had more fun at the party (still work) sin turkey than I did in the states where I am usually working. That's progress for me.

Pura Vida!