October 10 2016
I realize that I haven’t been very specific or explanatory about what exactly I do for my 12 hours a week. I suppose because on the one hand it’s a bit hard to explain, and my time at each school is so very different. But I will break it down in this post.
I live in Calahorra, which is about 35 minutes by bus and 15 minutes by car from the town I work in, called Arnedo. Arnedo is considered a pueblo by all who don’t live there, and a small city by those that do. In my opinion, it’s a little bit of both. It’s small, but it has a city-feel to it. There are stores and a main street to drink and each pinchos at. Outside of the cities there are also factories where they produce the shoes that Arnedo is known for.
Because of this distance, I wake up at 7:15. Get ready, eat breakfast, which has become a fashionable bowl of oatmeal. (side note: Spaniards do not eat oats the way we do. They mix them into a drink and drink them. I told them how I make oatmeal with water and heat it up. They looked at me like I was crazy.)
The bus comes at 8:15 and has been 15 minutes late everyday. But I get there on time because if I don’t that will be the day the bus comes on time. And then I’ll be up a river without a paddle. It takes about 10 minutes to walk from my house to the bus station, which I’m assured will become very fun once full-blown winter is here.
There are three small pueblos (and these I agree are pueblos) that we stop at on the way, weaving through beautiful hills, vineyards, olive groves, and abandoned houses far out in the fields. It’s very beautiful and not a bad commute. (I’m looking at you 66.)
I arrive at the bus station and walk to my appropriate school for the week. One of my schools is directly next to the bus station, the other is about a five-minute walk away. This week I was at the five-minute away one.
There is something about a Spanish school that just exudes organized chaos. Children running about, shouting, teachers hollering at the children to walk. Mornings are especially chaotic as no one really pays attention to the time or the bell. On both my first days I stood in the middle of said chaos until someone noticed me and directed me to a classroom.
This morning I arrived at one of my schools for the first time, and I was greeted by a teacher lecturing a small (very small) child about using the bathroom when he needs to. I’m standing there, watching, and she proceeds to pull his pants down slightly, and what should pop out but a small piece of poop. I’ll admit to being both shocked and highly entertained, to which a teacher told me to turn away so he wouldn’t see me smiling. We mustn’t encourage the children to poop themselves.
In classes, I usually help with whatever they are learning. Words, explaining things, helping to organize lessons, telling them about some history from the United States. #popquiz What is the population of Virginia? Who was the 8th president? Why is that its White House? “Excellent question, only I don’t know the answer.” Guess I’ll be spending the evening brushing up on what I thought was acceptable knowledge up until now.
I teach for a few hours, and then we have siesta. At my other school I finish at 2 and can go home on the 2:40 bus. It’s amazing. Here at my other school, we have siesta in the middle of the school day. Which means I thought I would be wandering about for three hours munching on bread and contemplating my life but as it turns out, one of my teachers at the school asked that I come over and play with her child in English, and also join them for lunch. Which is amazing because nothing in Arnedo is open during siesta. So I join this family for lunch, watching the two young girls who are 2 and 5.
From 3 to 5 I have more classes, and then that is the day. Here’s to another small hiccup in the great plan. I finish at 5 but the next bus to Calahorra isn’t until 7. So again with more teachers saving the day! I go to another teachers house and play with her children, speaking English and helping them when they need for two hours before hoping on the bus home.
I arrive home at 7:35 exhausted, practice my Spanish with Sara, muster the energy to make food, and watch some television. Nothing like a 12 hour day to make that “glass” of wine taste real good.
While some days are longer than others, I still only have to work them every other week for three days a week. Which is a joyous reminder as you sit, sipping your hefty glass of wine and contemplating how you will do it all again tomorrow.
But you know what else, I’ve met some of the kindest people here. All the teachers are so thankful we are here in the classroom. All of them want to help make the experience better. I could have been hung out to dry for two hours waiting for the bus, but instead, my teacher offered a great alternative that benefits both me and her kids. What more can you ask for?
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Tonight, this is dinner, because who has the energy to go to the store and cook haha.
I also went shopping this past weekend. Okay, so in Spain there is this obsession with shirts that have English sayings, but 9 out of 10 times the saying make no sense AND they are misspelled. So for your entertainment.