I also received an update regarding my placement in Spain. In September I'll be moving to Valladolid, a city with a municipal population of around 300,000. I'll commute to teach in a small town called Mojados. According to Google, that should take anywhere from 30-45 minutes depending where I live in the city. Exciting!
This week was also my first normal week of teaching. Last week, two of my classes were canceled, so it was hard to really find the rhythm of what my life here will be like. So, everyday at about 11, I set out on foot to work. Sometimes I stop at a papelaria (like a print and copy shop) to churn out some worksheets I made the night before. Yes, I'm using all of my own materials to teach this class! That just means I scour the internet for inspiring ideas about how to teach x subject, whether it be games, activities, or just how to explain the difference between no and not, and then I write it all down so I have something resembling a lesson plan.
For instance, this week I taught numbers, color, the simple present tense, and even got started on personal adjectives. As much fun as I have teaching light grammar lessons, learning personal descriptors has proven to be much more popular. Doesn't everyone want to know how to talk about others? Oh, and we can't forget that smash hit lesson when I sang the ABCs. That class was a riot.
Attendance was a bit lacking this week compared to last, and I initially took it personally. It's hard not to be sensitive as a teacher considering all the work and planning you put into lesson preparation everyday. I realized today though that everyone is really stressed out because they're all trying to raise enough money to go on their trip to Europe late this summer. If I had to raise R$ 3,000+ in a few months I'm not sure what I'd do. Point taken. I will now try to make classes even more fun. More games! More singing! More charades!
And, I just found out today that my Saturday classes have been canceled! I was dreading the idea of teaching English for four hours every Saturday morning. I mean who could sit through that? I'm not that interesting! Neither is our language! Despite any reservations, I was going to plan a lesson that would encompass everything I did the week before, having been told that those students who couldn't come during the week would come on Saturday. I went to inquire about exactly how large this group of students would be to Adriana (my elusive but very kind boss). She said that my classes during the week were going very well and to make things easier for me we could just cancel Saturdays.
That means I can travel on weekends now! Or sleep in on Saturdays! Not bad.
Last night I went to the weekly AIESEC intern get together (Quinta dos Trainees) to meet three new interns from NYC. Getting there proved to be a bit difficult as my ride fell through. Everyone told me to "just call a cab!"
Uh, yeah, sure, right, just call a cab. Anyone who has ever learned another language probably has experienced or can imagine the infinite difficulties in talking to someone over the phone in this new language. Challenge accepted.
Remember that part in the first Harry Potter where Ron tries to call Harry at the Dursley's house, and he doesn't know how to use a phone? I was kind of like that...
(rough English translation)
Cab company: Hello good evening, such and such Taxi Service.
Me: HELLO! HELLO! GOOD EVENING! I NEED...I NEED....A TAXI, A TAXI TO GLORIA BAR AND RESTARSMFLKDMHGFHN...UH...RESTAURANT. I AM, I AM AT THIS ADDRESS.
Cab company: Do you live in a house or an apartment complex?
Me: OH! OH! AN APARTMENT!
Cab company: Your name?
Cab company: WHAT?
Me: LAAUURREEENNN. LIKE LORENA, BUT WITHOUT THE A.
Cab Company: Ok, thank you.
It was a success though, and 10 minutes later I found myself chatting away with a very amiable taxi driver who pronounced at the end of our R$11 trip that he was "very happy to have found himself sitting next to an American" that night.
The other trainees seem really nice. I mostly just talked to one of the girls from New York and hung out with Anne. There were tons of people there that were part of our AIESEC "group," and I met a lot of really great people.
I also found out that I can't speak a goddamn sentence in Spanish without finishing it in Portuguese. DOH. Really funny, actually!
I also got to taste late night Portuguese fast food found at small, metal shacks around the city affectionately called "Pit Dogs" (pronounced peachy doggie...!). I think it's hot dog inspired? Anyway, behold the tray of french fries and my maracujá creme in all their 3AM glory!
|Can't escape the bulldog influence...|