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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Slippers in Spanish

This conversation just actually happened, in Spanish.

My older flatmate lady: Aren't you cold with only socks on your feet? (I am fully clothed, including two jumpers and two pairs of socks but she wasn't to know.)
Me: Well yeah, but I don't have... anything else! (lacking the word for slippers.)
Her: You don't have slippers?! (astounded.)
Me: In Scotland, yes lots, but here no. I'm waiting for payday to buy some!
(This was said half-jokingly, I'd forgotten jokes in bad Spanish are a bad idea.)

What followed was a protracted polite argument about who was buying my slippers; she wanted to lend me money to get some, and when I said no, buy me them as a late birthday present.

Her: Go and find some you like and we'll (including our other unsuspecting flatmates in this) give you them as a present.
Me: But Jesus made me a cake already, no more presents, I am going to buy them myself! I promise!

Haha she just came into my room under the pretense of lending me an old pair until I have my own, then sneakily looked on my shoes to see my size!!

I reckon it was the longest conversation we've ever had, now I think about it.

And if there wasn't a law in Madrid that says you can't turn on the heating until the 1st of November, it would never have happened. I think I'd rather have the heating, it's blooming cold. Those big single-glazed windows that let in so much lovely sunlight also let in a fair bit of air. Brrr.


Sunday, October 23, 2011

No time for tapas

'Busy' I said. Ha.
Somehow the hours have jumped so I'm now working in 5 schools, 6 days out of 7, and it's exhausting me! So much that I haven't written anything on here and I'm not going to just now, because I need to go to bed. And before I can get into bed I have to move the heaps of folders and bits of paper off it- the ones I was meant to be turning into organised piles and lesson plans. Instead I went shopping. I felt guilty, as I do even when buying milk or tomatoes, about spending money I haven't been paid yet, but also, it's cold. I need socks. And a scarf. I got socks and tights but no scarf; all I have are two wimpy flimsy ones I tie around my head or neck when I'm feeling whimsical. That has been fine up till now; the beginning of Cold. Now, it's forecast to Rain. There were Clouds in the sky today. I feel like I'm learning these words at the same time as my 4 year olds, because in the 7 weeks since I arrived, there have been 3 cloudy days and only one faint shower of rain. Oh bother, I didn't buy an umbrella.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Busy teacher makes time for tapas in Madrid

I have 3 jobs. I started the new one yesterday and that brings me up to 17 and a half hours a week. I feel so busy!

It was a bit disconcerting to have been given this job for the reason I'm 'so enthusiatic about teaching' (I wrote my CV while I was an au pair- of course I was excited about doing anything else.)
Then more worrying to be immediately emailed various notices about Rules and Discipline. Apparently the other teachers have been having Problems.
I went to collect copies of my teaching books and lesson plans the day before, as I am a New teacher who likes to be Prepared, and got less than I'd hoped for; a cd that doesn't seem to match the books and some glorified colouring-in sheets. So yesterday morning I was a bit anxious. I dislike being unprepared!

But I've realised, it's Spain. It's just like that here.

I was thinking 'oh how awful I'm going to look really stupid and the evil 8 year olds will throw things at me' but actually, it was fine. We did lots of "point at... the pegs!/computer!/table! and when I told my boss we didn't exactly stick to the plan she just said, 'that's fine, I'm glad you're here!'. Apparently she was desperate. And then I had a class of 4 year olds, who were fun.

Do all kids like to have their fingers bitten by puppets, or is it a Spanish thing? They absolutely love it.

So then after that I nipped home for some lunch, then back out to the other Tuesday job teaching 'art' to some nice but mental kids. One of them shouts everything. He just can't remember to talk at a normal volume, I'd remind him and he's say 'ok, yes ok' and then do it again. We made octopus monsters.

After that, I went to meet someone who I've met once before when I first arrived; another Scot teaching English here. We decided to go and watch Scotland get beat by Spain in the football, and bumped into another Scot teaching English here who I'd also met once before, at the last match, that we actually won. So we joined him and ended up in a large group of English teachers drinking 2 euro pints and comparing our jobs, which was fantastic. Except that I hadn't eaten yet, and as I'm on my cash only budget, I couldn't afford any. Luckily I wasn't joining in the shot-per-goal deal, but still by the end I was in need of some sustenance.

El Tigre to the rescue! 


For the price of another cheap caña, you get to scoff off a large plate of fried things. The croquettas are my favourite, and the barmen know me from repeated visits last summer and this.
I caught the eye of one of them through the crush at the bar and shouted him our order 'dos cañas!' For which a Spanish girl next to us started taking the piss, saying 'dos cañas' in what I assume was a bad Spanish accent. Not in the mood for being made fun of by more Spaniards (we had just lost the football) I replied, 'y que?' (And wot? I should be in N-dubz.) She was a bit taken aback; I think she was just jealous at my speedy delivery of beers and tapas.


El Tigre is a legend in Madrid, the amount of food they dish out to you is phenomenal. The number of times I've been there in a relatively short time is also meritable. It's also the reason I'll struggle this weekend when family are visiting and wanting me to take them nice places. Guidebook at the ready.




So after yesterday's business, today's a holiday! And my birthday too it seems, because I got a card and presents in the post. (Thank you.) I'm off now to do my lesson planning/procrastinating in the park, squeezing the last of the sun onto my legs while the rest of Madrid sweats in jeans and scarves. Yes, I do know it's October. I am also Scottish.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Some stuff I've done, giraffes, glitter glue...

In the last two weeks I've done a lot of sitting in my room, so I'm not entirely sure why I haven't managed to get anything up on here yet. Not much has been going on really, nothing to write home about! I've applied for hunners of jobs, later realising that they're  a) too far away, b) really badly paid, or c) a bit dodgy. Dodgy ones are the places where interviews are more like, 'Ok so here's the contract, you sign here and it's till June, she asked for an American native speaker with experience teaching for exams, but it doesn't matter, you start tomorrow!' ...I've cancelled a few interviews, had a few promising ones and, finally, things seem to be starting to fit. As of tomorrow, providing all goes well I'll have 4 jobs! (And they say there's a crisis, as my flatmate says.) 4 jobs that add up to just under 20 hours mind you, but still, not too shabby seeing as a lot of them are really fun.

I missed my first real art class at the one place I work, let's call it the Gooseberry Bush Club, because I got a sicky bug, which was miserable timing as it was also the weekend I was meant to be celebrating my birthday! But at my second job I did some wonderful giraffe collages which were very well received by parents. I had been told 'do something that looks nice for the first couple of classes so more people will sign their kids up'... as easy as you'd think with a bunch of 3-6 year olds with a penchant for scribbling. After that, I'll be going for abstract expressionist inspired pieces, with added glitter glue.

 What else?

I got one of those generic wiggly mirrors, my boss very kindly got me it on a trip to Ikea, and a lightshade which is not blue, so my room no longer feels like a spaceship, which is nice. Still have to somehow make the black and white curtains make friends with the orange and green floral sofa, but we're getting there. I've been watching Doctor Who, which I'd forgotten about, I love having a whole series to catch up on. And as from now on I'll be adding a few hours to my schedule each week, I'd better use my time wisely and get watching. Actually now I think about it, everything's been a bit sci-fi recently, lots of alien drawing, and "3 Little Men in a Flying Saucer (flew round the world one day)" has been on on repeat in my head. And I was very excited about 'teaching' a Star Wars in English class this evening, which basically would have involved playing with Star Wars toys with Spanish kids, but last minute I got changed onto a real teaching class, bummer.

I know this is a fairly boring list of things, but as soon as something exciting happens, I'll let you know. It was my one month aniversary with Madrid yesterday; feels like I've been here forever. Except that I don't know any really nice places, speak like a five year old, and still have few friends. Poco a poco, as people keep saying to me. But I'm feeling impatient, I want it all now!