Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I have a home!

So I can finally breath now that I have been blessed to find a room with a good family. Before I tell you about the family, let me tell you about Monday and Tuesday.

I visited the small town of Haro ( It takes about 1 hour by bus to reach the town. The ride was not that bad, because I listened to my ipod and talked to a man from Ghana. It was interesting, but it seems that my conversations with 60 or 70 year old men always end in them asking me if I'm married. Gah!
Well, I walked around the town and found my schools. They are on opposite ends of the city. Great. I thought I had settled on living here, but I changed my mind. I don't want to be isolated all the time. I thought that I would be ok with living there, but I decided that I want to stay in Logroño.

I went back to Haro to find out what hours and days that I would be working. At the colegio (primary and secondary levels). I only teach on Tuesdays. My pupils are 9-11 years old. I thought I had it made until I went to the Official language school that evening. I teach Mondays for one hour, and Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for 3 hours. I teach later hours so I can't take any of the spanish classes that I had planned to take with the Universidad Popular. I can't have 4 day weekend to travel around. I can't take the evening ballroom and latin dance lessons. This really hit me hard. I've put so much into that, and I don't want to let my skills lie dormant for 8 months. I'll forget everything. :( I will find someway around this. The schedule especially aggravated me, because I was told that I was the first language assistant to show up in the last couple of years. Oh well. I will cope.
I also turned in my form to obtain resident status and I opened up a bank account. The process was so long, but I had someone who is accustomed to working with foreigners. She was very patient.

I met the students! My 1000hr class consists of 10 year old pupils who are in the 5th level. They were so excited to see an American! It was so awesome. After I introduced myself. They had all kinds of questions. And of course, "eh", was used like 3 times in each system. I now say "eh" instead of "uh".
Some questions I was asked (corrected, of course)
Where is Georgia?
Do you like Spain?
Do you like soccer?
What is your favorite team?
What is your favorite color?
I was such a spectacle, because I am american and black. One girl came up to me at the end of class and said, "I have a cousin like you." Meaning, she has a black cousin. Great.

The 9 year old (4th level)pupils had less questions:
Do you like magic?
What do you like to do?
Why are you in spain?

The 11(6th level) year old pupils, well, are interesting:
Do you like Kobe Bryant?
Who is your favorite soccer player?
Do you like wine?
Do you like reggaeton?
Can you dance to reggaeton? (One kid proceeds to dance reggaeton. mmk)
Are you married?
Real Madrid or Barcelona?

It was very fun talking to them and listening to them try to formulate questions for me. They can get quite rowdy, but the director easily puts them in their place. I think that is so, because the school is religious. When the kids start to get out of control, the teacher says "1, 2..." If the teacher says 3, then the students have to copy a certain sentence or put their journals on the table so that notes can be written to the parents. While I was there, two kids had to copy something 25 times: I will be silent in class and I will work in class. I love it.

The official language school is quite different, because the class consists of adults. Some are retired with nothing else to do and others want to learn english for their jobs and for travel. Tuesday's classes have intermediate 1 and intermediate 2 students. Eventhough they are at the intermediate level, I still had to talk a little slower.

Nothing much. I just went to the night school to meet my students: Intermediate and Basic level. The intermediate 1 class was a bit intense. The teacher wanted to talk about sterotypes. She told the class to tell me about some stereotypes of Americans, and I told them about some of the stereotypes of Spaniards. In the US, there are mostly stereotypes of people from latin america so it was a little difficult. I'm sure there are some of Spaniards, but I don't know any yet.
Ok. Basic 2 level. You would think that the basic level would only know some basic English. Well, there was one lady who was out of control. She wanted me to teach them...genetics. I told them that my favorite part of my biology studies was genetics, and she wanted me to give them a lecture. Eh, what? She went on and on and on about her interest in genetics and the crossing of wheat and barley and wanted very much that I tell her about my time in the laboratory. Eh, what? The other students didn't know what was going on. Apparently this lady had lived in England for quite a bit of time and so had a nice grasp of the english language. Maybe she should have been in my Advanced 2 class instead of basic 2. For the next class, the professor made sure to tell the students to ask me "normal" questions. Haha.
When I returned to Logroño that night, I secured a place to live in a small neighborhood. It is a 30 minute walk (more or less) from the center of Logroño. It does not matter that much to me since I will probably only go out thursdays-saturdays. We have yet to get paid so I cannot do too much. The room is in a terraza with a couple (late 30s or 40s) who have a 2 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. My rent includes wifi, electricity, light, and food. Awesome. The mother only asks that I speak to her children in English whenever I am around.

Nothing much happened during the day. That evening I had an advanced 1 class. I introduced myself, and we talked about hobbies. The advanced levels are more about oral practice than anything else. My next class was Advanced 2. The teacher who leads this class was out for personal reasons, so the class asked that I meet with them in a bar. It was 6 or 7 of them who had studied English from 3-6 years. I introduced myself, told them a little about Georgia, New York, and Florida. They of course new about the Coca Cola Company and the Golf tournament. We talked about the Georgia cuisine which is mostly cooked in fat. I used Paula Deen as an example. I also used her to imitate the Georgia accent. I do not sound like a southerner so I needed a point of reference. I also had to explain the meaning of "bitchy" conversation. They were supposed to come up with different adjectives for conversation and someone choose "bitchy". Eh, ok. We talked for maybe 1.5 hours, they invited me to have dinner with them next week in a cellar, and I was on my way.

Friday (10/7/2011)
No school! I moved into my new place with the family, I made a trip to the grocery store with the mother to pick out my favorite foods. I ate lunch with them and took a siesta. That night, I went out to the center of the city with another English assistant. We had some pinchos (tapas- small finger foods) and walked around.

Saturday (10/8/2011)
I practiced English with the kids and went to the center of the city to buy some stuff that I needed. I also signed up for a libray card. Yay! I will be there all the time.
Later on, I went back to the center to meet my friend. While I was waiting for her, I had some ice cream. The best ice cream in the world. Imagine a orange tootsie pop turned. Make that ice cream and you have chocolate a la naranja (orange chocolate) Yummy stuff.
When my friend arrived, we went to some bars and had some pinchos (tapas) and some red wine. It's sooo cheap! We also tried some mosto, which is the grape juice before it becomes wine. The real grape juice! The night ended with a stop at a cafe turned discoteca.

Today (10/9/2011)
I just walked avenue looking for a place to buy a good winter jacket. I'm going back out later to watch some theatre. Now, I'm going to take a siesta. Since you've read to this end of all my ramblings, you might want to take one too.

Pura vida!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

So cool, it's like I an traveling through Spain. Awesome. Look forward to reading your updates. Be safe.

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