Tuesday, May 29, 2012

And the sadness has fallen upon me...

All the gifts I received today
Today was full of surprises. I walked into my first class at 10am with fifth of primary and was shocked to see the board full of messages. They clapped and pointed at the board. I knew something was going on, because one of the boys kept peeking around down the stairs to see who was coming.

The kids had written farewell notes all over the board! I didn't realize how much they loved me. They really did enjoy every week that I spent trying make them understand my accent. I had fun with them. It's ok to be silly in front of kids, because they love it and won't judge you for it.

This is my favorite

The class also decorated a small poster board and some sheets of paper. As they were walking up to me with the papers, I suddenly started to feel sad. I leave on Thursday and will not see them probably for a very long time. If I return to Spain in October, I will make sure to visit them and bring them some goodies from the states.

They gave this to me after class

To try to make the last day fun, but a little challenging, I gave a powerpoint test. During English week in March, I showed the students a powerpoint on Georgia. I thought it would be fun to have them answer questions about the facts they learned. I simply modified my powerpoint by adding questions with multiple choices.. They had one minute to write down the answers.

The peach state!

Here were the questions:
Where is Georgia located?- most of them answered correctly
What is the capital of Georgia?- as I am sometimes a dummy, I first put "What is the capital of Atlanta?"...idiot. I changed the question to. Where was Bionca born? some people put Augusta, because I live there but others knew it was a trick.
What is the population of Georgia?-
Which building is not located in Georgia?
What is a nickname for Georgia? I was totally disappointed with the group that chose "watermelon state"
What is the state bird?
What is the state tree?
What is the state song? they actually started singing the song
What is the state flower?
What is the state dance? i glared at the ones who chose cha cha cha, some were tripped up by the east coast swing option
What is the state food?
What is the name of the large swamp park in Georgia? The basque students chose chacolina, haha get, txakoli (chacolí) is a basque white wine.
Which one of these famous people are not from Georgia?    this one was easy

They were more competitive than usual because they really wanted the special prize. I allowed the winning group to choose any song for the class to listen to. The group chose ¨Rayos de sol¨by Jose de Rico and Henry Mendez. Yes, the students choose a spanish song in english class. One of the students was upset that her group didn't win and told me that it was more logical to choose a song in English. haha.

When class was over, one of the students asked me if I would visit them some day. I will most definitely try my best. That group was one of my favorites.

The next class was fourth of primary. They also colored on some papers and gave them to me as gifts!
As far as the Georgia test, they weren't as successful. We didn't have a chance to get to the prize because of their behavior. Some students were yelling and a girl spit in a boy's face so...

So moving on...

 After fourth of primary, I was interviewed by first of secondary (7th grade) about my year in Spain. They wanted to write something about me for their school magazine. I was very nervous although they asked very simple questions. One of the girls asked me what had happened to make me smile so much. haha. I replied, ¨soy así.¨ (I'm just this way)

Afterwards I went to buy some candy for the next class (sixth of primary). They need a little motivation sometimes, because they have English class at 3pm after a two-hour lunch break. They livened up once we started the game, but a little too much. The head teacher made them separate and do the test on their own, because she had told them to be quiet three times.

This is hilarious. I told them last week that we would play a game with facts about Georgia. This boy took it seriously and wrote it down. 
They became excited again by the end of the class, because they had some gifts for me. They started clapping and then gave me some flowers and a poster board with their class photo and names.

 I was touched by their thoughtfulness and surprised by the amount of work they put into the gifts. I said goodbye to them and passed out chocolate bars.

I was overwhelmed with love from the students. I know they were upset with me sometimes and other times bored out of their minds, but they were excited to have me there. This was even true with the 12 year old students who were very difficult to handle. It seemed as if they didn't want to improve their English at all, but they bragged about me all the time. They too, presented me with handmade gifts and other "recuerdos" (memories- no one knew the translation for recuerdo).

From 1st of secondary

1st of secondary

After class was over, I happily dragged all my stuff to the official language school to show off my students' work. The professors and I giggled over the students' attempts to write in English, but I was proud of their effort. I didn't do very much today. Many of the adult students have taken their exams, so the library was empty. I laughed a lot and practiced with the few students who showed up, and took lots of walks until it was time to go home. When I arrived home, I rearranged my suitcases and started writing. And I'm still here at the computer trying to decide if I will stay home or come back and work in Basque country. It's a difficult decision. And the kindness from my students today made the decision even more difficult. If I return next year, I won't be at their school, but I will be a short distance away.

Well, I'll see what happens this summer. If I'm meant to return, I'll be here once again to complain about my work schedule and recount awkward and funny moments with my students.


Hasta luego.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Gifts from students!

Flowers given to me by a 5th of primary student
The students from 4th of Secondary (15-16 year olds) bought me this book. They showed up with it last Thursday. Perfect gift! They saw me reading the second book of the Hunger Games trilogy and figured this would be a good gift. yay!

A gift from Carmen and Miguel made from corks

Ana Bélen gave me these. She made the white one.


I went to another Sevillanas party in another town called Casalarreina on Friday May 25th. Pictures coming soon!

Bodega Visit (May 20)

I returned to Cuzcurrita with my friend Laura to visit a wine cellar called Urbina. The man who gave the wine course won the ¨nariz de oro¨ (golden nose) award in La Rioja. Check it out!


Cuzcurrita (April 28th)

After the sevillanas party, I stayed with a friend in Cuzcurrita, a small town 15 minutes from Haro. She has a rural house their with boyfriend, and she let stay the night. She showed me around the town and cooked lunch for me. It was a nice peaceful day.

The backyard of the rural house

Our lunch, prepared by Carmen

The cathedral 

Where I slept

Sevillana Dance (April 27th)

I've been taking Sevillana dance classes in Haro since the middle of February. (It is also a type of music and how one refers to a woman from Seville.) The dance is related to flamenco and is typical of Seville but is popular in all of Andalucía. Sevillana is different from flamenco in that it is choreographed. Flamenco is improvised. When someone starts out, she or he learns the 4 sevillanas. Knowledge of sevillanas 1-4 is usually a prerequisite for advanced classes, because there are other types. The dance is called a dance of seduction. During this dance, the man is trying to woo the woman. Courtship begins in the first (la primera) and by the fourth (la cuarta) the man has won over the woman.

Although the dance is called ¨Sevillana¨ it actually originated in Castille. I've always been fascinated with flamenco and sevillana and was thrilled when of my students suggested that I try the class even though I would be four months behind the other students. It was a little difficult at first, but I eventually caught on because of the repetition. I´m still working on improving  my wrist and arm technique and marking my steps. After I have perfected sevillanas 1-4, I can start on other types. I also want to learn Flamenco.

On April 27th, I was able to show off my moves. A small bar in Haro held their own version of la feria de Abril (April fair). During la feria de abril, sevillana dancers dress up in the typical suits (traje de sevillanas) and fill the streets and bars to dance. The most popular fair is in Seville, but I was not able to attend. I was content with the fair in April. I borrowed someone's green dress and I danced the four sevillanas all night. While we were walking back from the dance, someone drived by and yelled ¨Viva España! I think they approved.  ¡Olé!

Sevilla Pictures (2nd week of april 2012)

I had no idea what was going on here...

Across the river is the neighborhood Triana, where flamenco was born.

Plaza de España

Plaza de España

Paella in the hostel

Because of this guy, we think of flamenco and bulls when we think of Spain
The old entrance to the Alcazar

Street of Death, where a large number of jewish people were slaughtered

The chains
A Jewish woman who committed suicide. She told her Spanish boyfriend of her father´s plan to rebel and made him promise not to tell anyone. He, of course, told his father and tons of Jewish people were slaughtered. She felt guilty and committed suicide. She asked that her head be placed in the window to show that she had disgraced her family.

Where is the head? It was taken out, because of the fear that someone would steal it.

These crosses were put her to keep people from urinating on the walls. The idea is that they would see the cross and feel God's judgement. It worked.

Some people had so much money that they could afford wheels on their house.

Pedro I de Castilla (Peter of Castille - which is now Castille y León)
This guy was also called ¨The cruel¨
Go to the link to learn about his deeds