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-http://www.cantonese.sheik.co.uk/humour/learningenglish.htm

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!

Papa Shango concert -November 12

We were at this concert in Santander.

Photos from Santander November 11, 2011

Here are the photos that I promised.

The view from the beach

The free concert in the tunnel

The small zoo

Some cool gothic arches on the side of the road

Thursday, November 24, 2011

La escuela oficial de idiomas-Ejea


I'm posting less and less these days. I know. I'll try to pick up.

Ah crap. Another usage for "pick up". I've been trying to explain the difference between pick up/pick it up to the person I live with. It's difficult. Guah!

Anyway, I'll have to write more, because I love remembering small details from my classes. I laugh when I remember the crazy things that my students have said in class. I'll atleast try to start my own personal journal. But enough of that...

Zaragoza! Aragón! Zaragoza, Aragón! I went on a class field trip with the official language school on November 19th. We visited a small town called Ejea de los caballeros in the autonomous community of Aragón. The town is so small that it seemed like we rode for 2 hours to end up in the middle of nowhere. Our guests (La escuela oficial de Ejea) greeted us and gave a short presentation in English, French, and Spanish on their town and then released us to tour the museum (el museo de Aquagraria) for 2 hours. The museum was filled with equipment that was used for irrigating the land.

We also saw some videos on the importance of water, the unequal distribution of water, the history of the Ebro river, and the future of water. I think I was the only person who went around to all the video stations. I was glued to the screen. They almost left me there...

After the museum visit, we went to a park and took a loooong walk around the lake. We stopped a couple of times to watch birds around the lake.

When we made it around the lake, we walked to the restaurant. I was starving as it was 3:30pm. Only spaniards eat lunch this late! Hombre!

Lunch was very nice. I love three-course meals. Spaghetti, baked chicken legs, icecream. Oh and the drink: Wine with gaseosa. The lemon flavored water with gss makes the wine more smooth. I love it.

After lunch, we went to visit a couple of churches: Iglesia de Santa María de la Corona y Iglesia de San Salvador. The churches had a mix of baroque, roman, and gothic architecture which was very cool. I become very excited when I see it. I remember some of the characteristics of the different types of architecture from my study abroad trip to Salamanca last year.

Some people started to become bored so we went into the village and visited the Official language school. It was pretty impressive, especially for an adult language school in a very small town. We toured a little, ate a little, and talked a little. We boarded the bus for our trip back at 7pm. Fun Fun.

On the way back, we watched the move "Julie and Julia". I didn't have a chance to finish the movie, because we arrived back a little early. :( I must find and finish that movie!

Once again, I don't regret taking the trip. I met some really nice people who I plan to accompany to a small ski resort in Ezcaray. I also had a chance to bond with some of my basic 2 students. They only know a little English so I spoke a lot of Spanish. Geah! They also invited me to stay at their pisos some nights. :)

Well, I have lots more to tell you. We had a Thanksgiving party today. I'm too tired to share. I'll post about it tomorrow and post some pictures from the other events.

Pues, nada. Hasta Luego.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weekend in Santander

Hello people!

I did it again. I waited 2 weeks to post something. As usual, I was busy preparing for my zillion lessons. Now that I have a day free, I can tell you about my trip.

The weekend of November 11th, I went to the beautiful city of Santander in the Cantabria province, making that the first time that I traveled outside of La Rioja. I wasn't sure that I wanted to go, because the trip was last minute and made me a little uneasy. I like careful planning unlike my friend in Georgia who takes random trips to Cherokee, NC. I seriously thought about dropping from the trip, but I really needed a break from Logroño. The money I spent was definitely worth it. I had the opportunity to travel with two awesome people (one a dancer (!) and the other a seasoned traveler). Mereció la pena.

I went with two other English assistants, Rebecca and Cate, who live in Logroño. We didn't do very much on Friday, because we were tired from the long bus ride. We found a cheap hostel, went out for some greasy food, and stayed in.

We spent most of the next day exploring the city and the beach. While on the beach, we took a lot of photos and played around in the kid's area. There is a playground on the beach that has swings, a jungle gym, a slide that goes to the lower level, and some kind of HAGS(haha hag) mobile equipment. I'm not sure of the actual name. It's like a modified see saw. It was fun. I have no shame.

After the playground we walked around some more and saw the Bay of Biscay. Around that area was a small zoo that had some penguins, seals, and ducks. I think the ducks were a replacement for something much larger that was removed. The family here tells me it was a bear. Mmk.

Later that night, we went to free outdoor concerts that were apart of "La noche es joven" events (http://portal.ayto-santander.es/portal/pls/portal/docs/7661076.PDF). The concerts featured two awesome Jazz-soul and funk bands called Papa Shango and Vespa Groove + Horns Gis. I'll post the video of the concert later.

The night was still young after the concert (hehe) so we found a small bar in the center of the city and danced to 80s music with some drunk Spaniards until like 3 o'clock in the morning.

The next day, we slept in late and then headed out for the bus. It was a sad day for me. You know, leaving the beach and all. I will definitely return to Santander. I learned that I can take a ferry from there to Plymouth, England. It's a 24 hour cruise, but it might be fun.

Pues, nada. Hasta luego!

P.S. My internet connection is slow so I'll post the pictures tomorrow.

Friday, November 11, 2011

My busy week

Tortilla francesa con chorizo

Hello all,

It's been a week since I've posted, because I have been very busy at school. Everyday I had to plan something new for all my classes. It was quite a tiresome week, and I am glad that it's finally over. Let me give you a recap of the happenings.

Monday was a good day, because I started a dance class at Academia Lopez Infante (lopezinfante.com/). The class lasts for one hour in the morning and consists of a mix of international ballroom styles and flamenco. There were no guys in the class so the women had to change parts. I have no problem with this, because I want to learn the man's part so I can teach it. We worked on tango, merengue, and flamenco. I definitely need to look into private classes, because I feel like I can do so much more. I'm looking into that today.

At night, my intermediate 1 English class was ok. I gave the students some information sheets with vocabulary related to physical descriptions. Using the vocabulary, I asked them to describe the celebrities in my powerpoint presentation. I put on a picture of a young Michael Jackson and a student exclaimed, "So he was black!" When they saw Princess Diana, someone said, "She is a woman with short blonde hair who is beautiful." Someone else said, "She was beautiful..." Apparently I had pictures of a lot of dead celebrities. Oops.
I also taught them terms like "heavy- set", "chubby", "six pack", and "hunk". That was interesting...

Tuesday was a long day, but it went well. I talked about endangered animals, animal feeding habits, and weird animal facts with the kids at the primary school. The kids in my first two classes mostly shouted random words and acted really silly. It's so amusing, but I usually forebear laughing. Self control!

The 11 year old kids were the most enthusiastic, because they understand more English. I was surprised that they clapped when I walked in the class. I'm liked. Geah! Maybe they clapped, because they know that school is over once I leave. I dunno.

The night students were a lot of fun. I went over physical descriptions with the Intermediate 1 class, and I introduced health and medicine to the Intermediate 2 class. In the Intermediate 2 class, we used most of the hour to discuss healthcare. I explained the US social security and healthcare system to them, and they explained the socialist healthcare system in Spain. One older gentlemen told me, "in the US your government trusts you, but we not free." Haha. He meant to say that they don't have a choice in the matter. The discussion became heated when someone mentioned healthcare for immigrants. It was the most stimulating class I have had yet. I loved it!

Wednesday was an easy day. I had two basic 2 classes and one intermediate 2 class. In the basic 2 class, I reinforced past simple, introduced past continuous and received feedback for the very first time. My students told me that they prefer to hear me talk. I had them play a past simple board game in groups of three and four, but I walked around to listen to them talk. After class some of the students told me that they understand each other's english, but they don't understand me. This mostly came from one of the teacher's pet. I called him the teachers pet, because he always answers questions in class. I asked them some questions two weeks ago about usual activities. I asked, "what do you usually do on Saturdays at 3pm?" He responded, "I usually study English." Everyone groaned. I jokingly called him the teacher's pet. To suck up is "hacerle la pelota a alguien." I pretended like I was bouncing a ball (pelota). Haha. He retorted, "I am 55 years old. It's posssible." Love it.

Keeping in mind what the students told me, I didn't have the next class play the board game. I simply asked the questions aloud and then went over some past continuous activities. They agreed that this method was better than playing the board game. During the hour, the issue of sheet and sh%$ came up. I wanted to make sure that they pronounced sheet correctly. Ofcourse, I didn't need to explain the meaning of the other word. They already knew. One of the students told us that her husband had a bad experience with the word "seat". He had told a receptionist at the airport that he booked his "sh%#". Hmm...

The intermediate 2 class was my favorite. I was supposed to teach them some health idioms. The subject of my dancing was mentioned at the beginning of class. The teacher told me not to start class right away, because some students are late due to working. So, I asked about their weekends and told them about my dance class. This turned into an hour long lesson about American Smooth and American Rhythm dances. I taught vocabulary and even gave some demonstrations. They also learned about DUI which my instructor taught me. Not the drunk driver, but ballroom posture. I, of course, had to tell them the meaning in the court system first. They were so entertained and very tickled that the man "calls" the women in competitions when he reaches his head out. The teacher exclaimed, "how sexy is that! " It was so fun that I decided to do the same thing for my thursday night Advanced 1 and Advanced 2 classes.
One of the students danced hustle with me. I am still smiling about that joyous moment.

Today, I'm not doing much. I have something special planned for the weekend that I will tell you about after it's done. Smile.

Well, I'm going to go buy some cookies and possibly eat the whole pack today. I have a chocolate problem, I know.



Friday, November 4, 2011


For some reason, I have awaken at 430am. Strangely, I'm not tired at all and can only think about traveling. Well, that's not strange for someone like me.

I started on this road three years ago as I set off to Costa Rica to study the rain forests. It was my first time leaving the states. I was terrified to leave Georgia, but I was also very excited to experience something outside of my comfort zone and my normal schedule of work and school. At that time, I never thought I would be able to ask my boss to grant me eight days from work. Wow. Eight whole days! I thought I would lose my job and my apartment. Never mind the apartment! Where was I going to leave my car? I didn't realize that all I needed to do was park my beloved, now destroyed, 5 speed 1996 saturn sL 2 at school.

When I returned home, it was still there. Nothing about Augusta had changed. It was the same old place that I felt trapped in with nothing to do but work, struggle in school, and watch my counterparts live off their parents and excel. My trip from Costa Rica was my first chance to break that cycle so much that I set my mind on another trip. I am very blessed that God put everything in place to allow me to travel and see all the beautiful things and people that He has created. This compels me even more to have a career that will give me opportunities to travel all these places, national and international, and help all the people that I have met.

Until I reach that goal, I want to simply enjoy traveling. I'm on that path now in Spain and can't wait to visit and revisit as many places as possible.

Pura Vida!

P.S. Here's where I want to go while I'm here
Spain: Oviedo, Barcelona (again), Sevilla (Easter week), Córdoba, Valencia (Las fallas), A Coruña, Alcala de Henares, Mérida, and some other important places.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The break is over.... :(

Desayuno (breakfast- I ate this today)
Hello all!

I started back to school yesterday, and it wasn't all that great. The 12 year old kids were very chatty. That is ok, but they weren't chatting in English!

There was no internet for the night class, so I couldn't use the material I had prepared. I really had to struggle through all three classes last night. And now, I have to prepare material for Advanced 1 and 2 classes today. I was going to cook something typical of Georgia, but I'm too tired. I'm just preparing away. I would love it if I could prepare everything only on Sunday evenings. I'm going to try to get all the teachers to tell me what they want me to do for the next two weeks. We'll see,

So about the new family. I love them! The meals are so filling. The boys are awesome. They always want to talk to me. They are typical boys who fight sometimes and get a little wild, but they are very obedient. Yesterday, the mother told me that they asked why I was out so late and when I would be home. I'm liked!

Well, I'm going to eat and get ready for the bus.