For the first six weeks I was here, we did not have a drop of rain. Nobody seemed too concerned about it. Finally, a few days ago, we had our first day of rain. It was mostly just a sprinkle. But, I didn’t have my rainboots (they didn’t make the cut in my limited luggage space) so my feet were wet all day. The weather has rapidly changed from very warm to pretty cold almost over night. So the combination of the two has resulted in me getting sick. Bummer. And of course we have a break from school at the beginning of next week so my roommates and I are going out of town tomorrow. We’re flying from Madrid to to Santander, in northern Spain. We’re staying a night in Santander, Bilbao, and San Sebastian. Santander and San Sebastian are on the coast, but it’s probably going to be too cold to go to the beach. Plus, you guessed it, it’s supposed to rain. Really? No rain for six weeks and now it decides to rain all weekend all over the country? Oh well. We should have a fun trip anyway and I’m excited to see this part of the country. I’ve traveled a good bit in southern Spain because I studied abroad in Cadiz, but I never made it to the northwest. San Sebastian and Santander are supposedly very pretty coastal cities and Bilbao has the famous Guggenheim museum. When we get back to Madrid, we’re celebrating my birthday and Halloween on the 31st! Although Halloween is not as popular here as it is in the States, people do get dressed up to go to parties in costumes. I’ve missed all our Halloween decorations and pumpkins- they’re hard to find!
People are always curious about what we eat in Spain. I’ll sum it up in 3 words: ham, cheese, and potatos. Throw in some seafood, eggs, and tons of bread and you’ve got a typical Spanish meal!
From the outside it really seems like there’s a ham obsession in this country. I can’t really explain it so here are some pics.
Ham hanging in the restaurants. Below, ham and cheese.
Below- The “Ham Museum” A restaurant dedicated to ham!
Spanish tortilla. Eggs and potatoes. Probably has ham too.
Paella. Eat at your own risk. Octopus! Yikes.
So I haven’t posted in a while. I started teaching two weeks ago and I really like my school! I work 9:30-4:30 at an elementary school right outside Madrid. I can take the bus or the suburban rail 20 minutes out to my school in Las Rozas. I teach at a bilingual school, so the kids take half their classes in Spanish and half in English. They take their science, physical education, art classes in English! (And English language, of course). Can you imagine taking science in a foreign language?? I assist professors in the classes taught in English, so I have a mixture of English, science, and art classes. My age group ranges from 1st-3rd graders, with a few hours a week with the little ones in kindergarden. The teachers are all great! The ones that speak English are excited to have someone to practice with, and I’m excited to be able to speak some Spanish to the ones who don’t. However, the students are not allowed to know we speak Spanish. That way they’re forced to practice their English. It’s actually pretty hard not to immediately respond in Spanish when we can understand what they’re asking! And it’s pretty entertaining when they say things about/to us when they think we won’t know what they’re saying. Some even try to teach me how to say things like “hola”, or the colors in Spanish. They are super cute, but highly energetic. Classes are much more noisy than we’re used to in the States! But I’m adjusting and learning how best to work with the other professors to make their foreign language classes easier to understand and fun.
Outside of school, I’m still exploring Madrid. I ran the Madrid 10k with some other Americans. The race went through all the main parts of the city and was a beautiful run! We started in the big park, Retiro, and ran down Gran Via (the most famous street in Madrid), past Sol (city center, like NYC’s Times Square), Plaza Mayor, the Royal Palace, the city hall/post office that looks like a castle, the Prado Museum, and back to Retiro. It was basically the perfect sightseeing tour. I tried to take pictures on my phone as I ran because I was just so amazed. Here are a few pics!
Everyone knows Europe is romantic. People in Spain are much more affectionate in public than we’re used to in the States. It’s pretty humorous what I’ve seen thus far. I’ve compiled a list of all the places deemed appropriate for PDA:
-walking around, of course
-Retiro Park (this is a big one)
-in line at the bank
-Cortes Ingles or other grocery stores
I’m going to keep adding to this list as I see it!