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Saturday, September 24, 2011

"It's all about the process"

"Well, it's all about the process isn't it, not the end product..."

That's what my boss said, and I couldn't tell if it was ironic or not.

Casa de Campo at dusk
This was in the middle of my art class for 2-3 year olds when one wee girl was being washed in a bucket after getting paint all over her wee self, and I was fleeing about, schooshing paint into trays and saying 'that's excellent Lucia/Irene/Gorka/Sergio, how about painting on the paper now?'

I am completely of the opinion that with 2 and 3 year olds it's always going to be about the process, and to be honest, I'd be making variations on 'dark sludge' too if it was me. But of course parents want to see something pretty... maybe next week eh.


If only it had only been 4 kids maybe there'd have been less chaos, but it was more like 14, plus their parents! But apparently not many have signed up for next week yet. I hope some come though because I've spent the last half hour trying different ways of using wax-resist and dark blue paint to make fishy scenes, and attempting to get into the frame of mind of an excited 3 year old. If anyone has one nearby, can I borrow them for practise? Never thought I'd be wishing for a small child's company.

It was fun though, and so was having a beer outside afterwards, hiding them from the kids and their parents as they cycled by. Teachers drinking straight after class doesn't look so good I imagine, necessary as it usually is.


This is a photo from the Teleferico, the cable car that goes out of the city into the massive big park.
Really cool views. Beware- if you go near closing time, they won't take you back and you'll have to walk down some very quiet paths to get back to civilisation. Try and get back to the metro before dark...

Friday, September 23, 2011

Nuns and quizzes

Learned the word for nun today: 'monja'.

I thought I'd misunderstood when my flatmate told me he was keeping his plastic tub (you know the ones you get cherry tomatoes in) for our other, older, flatmate to give to the nuns.
Nope. 

He speculates the nuns use them for plant pots or something.
I've nicked it, incidentally, for my art class. I need it more than them.

And then just now, watching a quiz show which I like because I understand almost everything, one of the questions was 'what's the name of the thing a nun wears?' which of course is a h√°bito.

What useful vocabulary it turned out to be! By the way, monk is 'monje'. I knew you'd want to know.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Waiting... ... ...

The problem with wanting to work in vaguely arty jobs is that you end up being organised by arty people.
So for organised, read Confused By.

I definitely have one, almost-definitely 2, and potentially 3 jobs, teaching art and movement and even songs in the name of English, but so far only one has started. That's no-one's fault, term just starts later here, but here I am, sitting in Madrid, not earning money, applying for more and more jobs that don't want me because I'm not available all week. Either that or they're offering me hours that I can't do, because I'm waiting on confirmation of two hour-long classes in a primary school down the road!
Oh the trials.
I'm off to bed.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Return to San Lorenzo!

I've been in Madrid now for almost exactly 2 weeks which seems ridiculous because I'm feeling fairly settled. Settled in that I have a flat, a couple of friends, a job. I'm understanding more, getting a sense of direction and added a few more things to my food cupboard (pasta, chorizo, tomatoes, 3 types of cheese.)
Still crap at Spanish, but jeezo it has only been 2 weeks!

Spent the weekend in San Lorenzo de el Escorial, eating and drinking and laughing excessively, and had quite weird sensations of having gone back in time a year, as if the past year in Paris never happened. A walk round the Monasterio and a dulce de leche ice cream was a blast from the past, but now with the added bonus of not being an au pair = perfect! There's a pond (it's way grander than a pond but I can't think of the word...) with 2 swans on it and fish in it, surrounded by little potted trees, and a view of mountains and in the distance; Madrid.

I do love it here. I just need to get used to the timings of meals and sleep and I'll be set. And maybe a few more jobs, to fund my holiday home in the hills.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Starting over.

Alright kids, here’s the deal: (I don’t know why I just said that, forgive me?)

I arrived in Madrid! 12 days ago, around midnight. 
Got to work straight away on my conversation skills, chatting to the taxi driver about unemployment and au-pairing. At least that’s what I chatted about, he might have been saying anything.

Then on arriving at the hostel I was greeted by a lovely boy who had great patience with my language ‘skills’ and heaved my extremely large case up the stairs. I must have seemed looney; giggling about everything, I was just so excited! 

The FEAR that suddenly overcame me on the flight over (why am I doing this I can’t speak any Spanish I don’t know anyone I’m going to be that boring silent creepy person standing in the corner trying to make friends without saying a word laughing at all the wrong places and I have no-where to live my clothes are creased and I have to have interviews where will I find an iron and I can’t teach I don’t even like children and I forgot a towel will I have to dry myself on a bathmat) turned into pure JOY at having got there and hearing things like ‘tapas’ and ‘flamenco’ and ‘churros’. Unfortunately as it was one o'clock I had to go to bed, not-so-silently crashing into my bunk bed in my shared dorm.

Lucky for me, next morning I hired a towel and went to meet my Spanish friend, who found me a flat pronto, with added benefits of living with Very Holy Flatmates. Well, in name anyway. Call us Jesus Mary and Joseph, and Mercedez, but I’m not sure who she was in the bible?

Having met a fellow Scot in the hostel we immediately made friends (as you do when new in a city) hung out all week exploring bars and cafes, until I moved into my flat. So far I’ve had 2 interviews, taught 2 classes (which went tolerably well), eaten countless fried squid-type things, met 3 different groups of Spanish people (friends of Fiona, Martin and Jose Luis) and spoken to them with varying degrees of success, done some food shopping, stuck postcards on my walls, and trawled from administrative building to another trying to get an ID number, travel card and social security sorted.

It is also HOT. I like it, but I can’t cope with it when I actually have things to do.

Helpfully due to my various jobs not starting till next week or even October, I have a bit of time to finally write to you, and plan some art classes. That’s what I’m here for by the way, teaching ‘fun’ English to small children with songs and exaggerated hand movements and stuff 
(think me jumping around a room oo-oo-ee-ing like a monkey and a bunch of kids looking at me not knowing whether to laugh or not.) 

But also art classes in English, which will be fun. So far I’ve planned some messy hand painting stuff and a bit of wax relief fish making. Slightly dubious about the 2-3 year old class though,; surely this will just be an exercise in teaching them not to eat paint?

So that was a bit of a long update, I don’t know if you’re even interested, but if you are please comment to give me some sort of direction for this ‘blog’ as it’s in danger of becoming a rambling mess, as usual…

New words of the week:
Resaca = hangover.
-Voy a trabajar manana con resaca (I’m going to work with a hangover tomorrow)
-Estoy resacosa (I’m hungover)

Edredon = duvet.

Tener prisa= to be in a hurry

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Love at Last!

Earlier in the year I said I liked Paris, I enjoyed living here, but I didn't love it. Well now I love it!
Sunshine is the key to real love it seems. And sunsets.



 I decided this while sitting in the park next to Shakespeare and Co., eating falafel, hearing Notre Dame's organ and bells in the background, on a bank holiday Monday, with a hangover and laughing to myself about the nights before.


I'm not so sad to be leaving, partly because I'm moving onto another terrifically exciting adventure in Madrid. But also because I know we'll see each other again soon, we'll always be friends, with lots of memories and a few secrets.

So to Paris and friends, aquaintences, and randoms we've met along the way... au revoir and thanks for all the crepes.

The things I'll miss the most...


orange skies

crossing the many bridges over the Seine

the green chairs in the parks

eating croissants on the banks of the river in the sun

walking home at night past Notre Dame

drinking tea and eating biscuits in my studio with a friend or two

my local pub up the road with it's lovely people and impromptu nights out

the happiness I feel when someone says 'oh la la'

meeting really interesting people

surprising people with the size of my studio

falafel and vintage shops in Marais

the really buttery St Michel biscuits that the shop next door sells at hugely inflated price after Monoprix shuts

Amorino gelato: speculos and caramello

speculos biscuits

coffee in cafes

eating out really well for cheap(ish)




I already miss all the girls who left before me, and I'll miss the one I'm leaving behind!






I won't miss...

the price of a pint
being asked the same questions by boys in bars-
"English? So where are you from? Are you on holiday? Are you studying? So, what are you doing here? What? Why? Do you speak French? You drink a lot you English, no? Whisky?"

-although maybe I will miss that a wee bit, because it is funny.

All change!

Hello,
To anyone who may read this, sorry for being so unupdateful. Moving country is tiring, and 32 degree weather does not encourage me to sit for long at this dangerously overheating laptop. I'm sure I wrote a last Paris post and hid it somewhere for when I got back on the internet, so I will attempt to find it, tie up loose ends and begin the next. xx
PS. It's going to be along the lines of I Love Madrid. Just a warning.