Against my better judgment I went to bed at 3:30am and just woke up at 7:00am. Tons to do before leaving this afternoon with Liza for our European Adventure…including writing this blog! Blogging is one of those things I really enjoy, but never seem to have the time to do. So, here’s my shot at it.
Time has flown since getting back from the UK. I blinked and it was already December 21. This afternoon Liza and I are off to Switzerland and then Ireland. It will be my first time in both countries and I can’t wait.
I’ve been meaning to tell the world about Macarena. She’s the butcher at our ghetto grocery store, Día. She doesn’t wear latex gloves and it really grosses me out. She also doesn’t have separate knives to cut all of the various disgusting meats. One cleaver and bare hands touch everything. I have to look away when she cuts our weekly order of chicken breasts. I’ve never been a fan of raw meat; seeing it and touching it has always grossed me out, but Macarena brings it to a new level. Doesn’t Spain have their own version of the FDA? Please, hija, put on some gloves. Oh yeah, the worst is getting your meat stained change back from her. Ewww.
Last week I had the opportunity to meet with David, the director of the program I went on the very first time I studied abroad in Spain in high school. It was great to see him, but our coffee was both sad and helpful. David’s been living in Sevilla for 13 years and expressed the same sentiments that I’ve shared about living here. In general, Spaniards are particularly accepting of others. He thought that was the case because most of them were born in Sevilla, went to school with the same kids for high school and then college, and then still live here. He said that even with his good Spanish friends he’s still considered “the American.” None of this was comforting to hear and I know I can’t change Sevillanos, but at the same time I was glad this wasn’t something that was just happening to me. At times it feels like being here has more ups than downs, but then I just have to remind myself of all of the absolutely amazing traveling it’s permitting me to do. That in itself is a reason to stay here.
Which reminds me, I don’t know if I ever mention the little paycheck issue I’m facing. Technically my contract is through the Junta de Andalucia, the local government. I’ve been lead to believe that the school I work committed to being able to pay me until March when the Junta will then reimburse them with the money. When I got my November paycheck my school told me they no longer had any money to pay me or the other American girl teaching at my school. The principal’s advice was to go down to the school board and protest. Thanks for your help? I’m not sure how far that is going to get me. I contacted my program who was great and dealt with it immediately. This time the principal told us we need to be patient. Easy for him to say when he’s being paid. I guess I’ll have to wait and see what is going to happen when I get back. I might be on a plane back home earlier than anticipated…
Last week at school one of my 4th grade classes was conjugating (or attempting to conjugate) the verb to be on the board. They were having quite a difficult time. I laughed out loud when they got to third person plural—we are. One kid starting singing, “We Are the World,” by Michael Jackson. Thanks Mikey for helping teach my students English!
The highlight of my week last week was meeting Eva. She’s five and a quarter and from Britain. One of the teachers brought her into the teachers’ lounge looking for me to translate. She was bawling because she didn’t have Huggie, her little cow figurine that she always hugs. I helped her draw a picture of him so she could remember him until the end of the day when her Mom came to pick her up. She said her mom’s teaching English here and that they’re here for the year, but only eight more sleeps until she gets to go back to Britain for the holidays. This girl was so cute! It was nice to feel like I was actually doing something to help. Most of the time the Spanish kids just look at me with confused faces no matter what language I’m speaking.
Another funny experience was school on Thursday. I walked in at 9am like I do all mornings. All of the teachers were gathered around taking shots of anisette. One teacher handed me a glass and I kindly turned it down. Shots at 9am? Maybe if I’m tailgating, but not at school! Another teacher saw me turn it down, walked across the room and insisted I try it because it’s part of their culture. Needless to say my stomach was feeling a little funky for the rest of the day. This was another incident that probably wouldn’t have been ok in the US. For the rest of the day I watched the kids in their Christmas performance. It brought my back to my youth at FWP. It was really cute. Each class performed their own song and then most performed another as a grade. Some songs were in English and others in Spanish. It was a very enjoyable event.
Jose Alberto came home this week for the holidays from studying abroad in France. It was great to see him. I just wish he were here this year! I was really glad to hear that he seems to be enjoying his program. Study abroad is such a special experience.
Well, I’ve got a ton to do before I go to school and then leave so I better be off. I’m sure I’ll have tons to update when I get back from this crazy adventure.