Sunday, October 25, 2015

Today I am happy

Breakfast by the river
Today I am happy. It seems like a strange thing to write, so simple yet so powerful. I’m sitting on a plastic bag, propped up against a stone seat facing the Guadalquivir River (gotta have that back support). Yesterday I bought an apple tart, and apple, and a soft pretzel from the Mercado and that’s about to be breakfast (there’s something lovely about grocery stores here). There’s a hint of fall in the air, but if I was sitting in the sun I’d probably be too hot. There are tons of runners on this path along the river and it makes me miss my long weekend run, perhaps I’ll find a race to do in the spring? Vale, I’m going to start my tart and fill you in on my adventures from this week!

The biggest thing I did this week was start my practica (internship) at the colegio. I know I told you about it last week so I’ll skip to the good stuff. I “observed” seven classes this week, I use “observed” lightly because the only class that I actually “observed” was taking a test. All this rest of the classes I dove into head first…which was great. Monday is my heaviest day, I’m there all morning and have four classes. Two of the classes have 8/9 year olds and the other two have 11/12 year olds. It’s nice because I have both of the 8/9 year old classes again later in the week. For the younger kids I basically introduced myself and then helped them go over their workbook pages because they have a test coming up. I read the examples out loud because it’s good for them to hear it in a native English accent. For this coming week I have to make lesson plans. It’s a little confusing because I don’t really have any guidelines  but I made a Halloween based lesson, so I guess we’ll see how that goes! #wingitproductions With the older kids I introduced myself and then they got to ask me questions. They were mostly normal questions (favorite color, food, etc.) but asking if I preferred Sevilla or Betis (the city football club rivalry), if I owned a gun, and if I had a boyfriend was also quite common. They were (not surprisingly) all appalled that I didn’t eat meat. Also there is a descanso (#snacktime) mid-morning and on Monday two kids offered
Birthday cake!
me cake as it was their birthday and they brought it in to share. Man that reminds me of the good old days! On Thursday I had a class of 14/15 year olds. It was quite intimidating at first, but once I got into introducing myself and answering questions it was much better. I also wasn’t sure how much I liked the teacher until I talked to her and found out that she had only been teaching that class for 3 days! Finally, on Friday I had a class of 3/4 year olds. It was really disorganized because I hadn’t officially been assigned to a class yet and the program organizer was out of town. The kids were adorable, and obviously there isn’t too much you can do with teaching English to basically toddlers when you’re completely unprepared, so it was more like babysitting, which was fine. Oh, and the teacher left the room for like half the class. Lesson learned:  my Spanish is good enough to keep 25 3/4 year olds from destroying a classroom. In total: I adore my practica and would rather stay at the school all day than go to class. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to do “when I grow up”. This internship is already making me think about teaching but also has renewed my interest in post-grad research in the field of language acquisition. It also occurred to me, it would be really amazing to work on establishing a bilingual program at an existing school or a stand-alone bilingual preschool/daycare. That combines research with application, which is all I really want out of life.
Another defining moment of this week was the fact that I didn’t have my computer until Friday. YAY for having it back but not yay because all of the data on my old hard drive is still on my old hard drive, but they're working on transferring if off. Also the wifi at our house stopped working on like Sunday night and we didn’t get it back until Friday morning. It was kind of a struggle in that I had to either buy something at a café or go to the university and hope that one of the computer rooms was open in order to check my email or do anything on a computer. In some ways it was nice, I went to bed early almost every night (except the nights I couldn’t fall asleep due to...a variety of reasons). It was frustrating though because everyone else in the house seemed to still used their phone (they had data or pre-loaded social media while at a place that had wifi). Regardless, the issue is resolved and I have both a computer and internet access at home now.

Since I’m tired all the time I always have an internal battle of whether or not I want to go to my flamenco class on Tuesday afternoons (LOL I must be from Spain, my class is from 8-9 which in my defense is before dinner). I always go because, well, I already paid for it. I usually end up having a good time but this week was exceptional. I’m not sure what it was but I had a blast. Maybe I’m finally getting the hang of it!

The Best Pastry Ever
On Thursdays there is a meeting at the capilla (small church) of university students. I had wanted to check it out so I decided to go and see what it was all about. My class ends at 7 on Thursdays so I walked around for a bit and then went back to the university to get this pastry that is super popular and I always see everyone walking around with. I’ve wanted to try it but I always just convinced myself that it couldn’t be very good. OH MY GOSH I WAS SO WRONG! It is amazing. It’s warm and chocolately and buttery and amazing filled amazingness. I am literally so surprised how good it is. I think I am going to make it my Thursday treat J Anyway, back to church. I went to mass and then there was adoration and then there was the meeting. There were TONS of students. It was really cool to see how many people were there, especially because I’m not used to large groups of Catholics. I won’t lie, the meeting this week was kind of boring, and there was an invited speaker who came to talk about a program that is similar to hospice but not quite the same. I also wasn’t expecting it to go as late as it did, I left at like 10:15. I’m glad I went though and definitely want to go back.

Ester and I last night
Practicing my Spanish has been going really well, I went to get coffee/drinks multiple times this week with my Spanish friends. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m always convinced that my Spanish is only “sort of kind of okay” and then I realize that oh, I just had a multi-hour conversation with someone. I was really excited because I went out with a friend last night and she said that my Spanish has improved since we first met…YAY! That was literally so exciting to hear. Oh, I guess I can just tell you about last night while I’m at it. So Ester and I had been trying to make plans all weekend but one thing or another came up (like being tired) and we didn’t end up going out until last night. We met up around 10 in Triana and then headed to el Centro to look for a bar “muy tipico” called “La Gitana Loca” (the crazy gypsy). It was indeed crazy, it was jam packed with uni students, complete with a non-functioning, disgusting bathroom. It was really cute decor-wise and the food looked good, but I just stuck with a nice glass of tinto. After spending some time there we headed back to Triana to look for this flamenco show that someone had given us a flyer for. After figuring out how to use the map that was on the flyer we found the place. It was a club called “Nonina”. There were singers and a guitar player and it was cool to listen, but we were the youngest people there by at least ten years! After a couple of songs we headed back to Calle Betis in search of a place to dance. We stopped in a few bars before we went into Rio Latino. I’ve been there before and I really like it and they have good music. The only thing was that it was a Saturday (less young people are out on Saturdays, I’m not exactly sure why…Thursday and Friday are the big nights here) and also it was late. For me. Late in Spain is 6am, late for me is 2am. It was around 2, which felt like 3 because of changing the clocks. We met this one guy who was nice but he talked to us FOREVER. It was also frustrating because while he is from Sevilla he had spent like in London so he spoke pretty good English which meant he wanted to talk to me in English and Ester in Spanish. I explained that I also spoke Spanish but he didn’t believe me. It’s kind of annoying, I know you want to practice your English but you can’t just not believe that I can't speak Spanish because I’m not from Spain. I mean, I came here for a reason right? Anyway, after my classic “oh I don’t have a phone that works here” line, we headed out. It was a fantastic night, and am looking forward to going out with Ester again, possibly on Thursday because that’s when there’s more uni students out. Also, I have been having trouble falling asleep but I’ve found that walking around cobblestone streets for six hours in heeled boots will have you sleeping like a baby in no time at all.

Saturday night dinner
In other news, Christmas candy is already out (I legit can’t wait to buy and advent calendar!) and my host family is great. It’s really throwing me off that there’s Christmas stuff out, but Ester explained to me that Halloween and Thanksgiving aren’t really things here so Christmas is the next big thing. As far as my host family, it’s still really weird to me that they’re kind of like a copy of my family in both number (3 kids, 2 parents) and how everyone acts. I can’t imagine living with any other family. And I know I’ve said it before but my host mom has been an absolute angel with helping me get the package that my actual mom sent! It’s also super fun to listen to the fam talk about random childhood memories like their mom dressing them in matching clothes or demanding that their banana be pealed like a “fuente” (fountain) with 5 pieces not 3.

Breakfast "muy tipico" at Cafe de Indias
Strange things: I went to Skype my parents the other day and was having such a hard time forming English sentences…it was so weird! Especially when I would pause to talk to someone in Spanish and then try and go back to English, it was a struggle. I also have to restrain myself from writing my journal in Spanish, I know it’s not a bad thing but I’m trying to keep it in English for other people’s sake/what if when I’m 80 I can’t read Spanish (which I hope never happens), some Spanish sentences do make their way in though.  I find myself thinking in Spanish sentence structure if not in Spanish words. It’s exciting but also such a weird phenomenon. I also love how the language flows here. When I’m hanging out with people my age the conversation just seems to drift between languages. It’s a very “romantical” (as Mark would say) notion but also super cool. It makes me sad that that’s not a thing that’s going to happen when I get back to the states. It also occurred to me that while I am becoming well versed in fifteenth-seventeenth century European history, I only know the names and places in Spanish.

La Gitana Loca
What else? I really want to re-watch/catch up on the TV show Reign because we’re getting to that point in my history classes (Mary Queen of Scots, Catherine d’Medici, etc) but for some reason it’s not showing up on my Netflix, which YAY SPAIN GOT NETFLIX, legit like 5 days ago. I started a new BBC show called Paradise which is really good and I’m going to start on Velvet which is a Spanish show that my host mom and her oldest daughter are obsessed with. I watch it with them on Thursdays but it’s a bit confusing so I need to start at the beginning of the series. Oh, I finally bought a carry on suitcase and it’s proudly displaying my Lisboa sticker, I kinda wish that I had brought my other place stickers from home to put on it. I’m not sure what it is but there’s something so exciting about buying a suitcase.

Having been here for 7.5 weeks I feel entitled to give an award for the best cup of coffee in Sevilla. I’ve tried many places and I know there’s many more to try but Cristina and Co (across the street from the university) is AMAZING. I go there to intercambio with Alejandra twice a week and it’s amazing, on Thursday we didn’t meet but I still went to get coffee there. It’s just a simple café con leche for a euro twenty and it’s great. I think the university cafeteria is second, but Christina’s wins for sure. So if you’re in Sevilla, give them a try!

Okay folks, I think that’s all I’ve got for ya! I have another busy week coming up (wooooo midterms!) but I hope everyone has an amazing Halloween…eat lots of Reese’s for me!


  1. Thanks for the update, glad everything is up and running. Have a great time in Amsterdam this weekend. Told Grammie about "couch surfing" at dinner last night. She just laughed

  2. Its nice to hear about your experiences! Have pleasant travels this coming weekend.
    Stay in touch!
    The weather is turning cooler/colder back home. We are still working our travel efforts and hope to get things moving forward soon.

    Miss you!