Adventures in babysitting

So, I like to think of my job as glorified babysitting. I have kids as young as 11 who have no concept of discipline. They’re a bit like monkeys sometimes. Because most of the kids aren’t encouraged by their parents, most don’t want to learn and prefer to talk or sleep. Despite this, I’ve had some really good discussions (like about Physician Assisted Suicide) or kids who are really interested in what they’re learning.

**After I showed kids pictures of Chicago, one of my younger students went out and bought a Chicago Bulls backpack. I smile everytime I see him toting it through the hall.

**We planted trees in one of my classes, and the students invited me along. I got to be the pne who held the tree in the ground as two other students covered it in dirt, and the tree will apparently have my name associated with it. That’s pretty kick ass.

**On Valentine’s Day, I was talking about conversation hearts and the kids had to come up with their own in English. On the board, I wrote “xoxo” meaning hugs and kisses. Apparently that shorthand means “pus$y” Well done.

Hard to believe they let me be alone with young minds, eh?

Reflections halfway through Teaching

I hate the feeling I get when something is ending. It’s a rushed, frantic, neurotic feeling like I have to do EVERYTHING all at once. The only problem is that I’ve got 3.5 months. And most likely the summer (my parents are very pro-don’t-work-this-summer-and-we’ll-help-you-out-if-you-need-it), and all of next year. But it’s strange how I’ve really been getting the ganas to travel and get out of Sevilla. Even if it’s just for a day trip (the Monteros ruined my plans for a quick jaunt to Jerez to go to some bodegas and castles). I’m planning to get up to Salamanca and Valladolid with Kike to visit his former town and mine, then I’ll be in Germany for a few days to visit Eva, and I’ve got plans with Kate and Christine to go to Galicia in May for three days. But, I’ve been a crazy person dicking around on travel sites trying to figure out how to get to Amsterdam, Switzerland, Prague, Vienna and up to London to visit my cousin. I’m on country #18 of 25, and I’ve still got 2 1/2 years!

I read a friend’s  blog, which had a recent update on Americanism. I have to admit, I feel really Spanish. I would choose shrimp and carne a la brasa over chicken fingers any day here. I relish in my midday siesta, and I stay as far away from Calle Betis as I can. It’s not that I don’t like other Americans. I just feel that I need to use this time to experience Spain. My whole weekend, I was with Spaniards – not to mention pretty much the only chick, which was actually fun. It gives me the chance to practice my Spanish and go to really great bars that aren’t in guidebooks. When I studied in Vdoid, I felt immersed in the culture because I lived with a family and Vdoid isn’t exactly a tourist draw. But being in Sevilla and having Spanish friends and looking forward to doing Spanish things has made me really love everything about the culture and the people and the language and the food. I went to McDonalds once with Eva, and Fridays once upon Kike’s request. I’m trying really hard to get into Spanish tv, like the dance program Fama. I’ve got my traje de flamenco and complementos. More importantly, I’ve got Spanish friends, which erases some qualms I had about living here next year. Which I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing.

So, America, you can’t have me back until June of 2009. Sorry.

Is it Feria yet?

A few weeks ago, I was telling Kike that I wanted to buy a traditional gypsy flamenco dress for the Feria de Abril. But, given my body type and budget constraints, I didn’t know where to find one. He enlisted his friend Susana to help me, and she assured me that I’d have no trouble at all finding something.
Last night, she picked me up at 6pm and we drove just outside the city to a huge factory specializing in flamenco dresses. The wide space was crammed with dresses in every color, style, length, pattern and material imaginable, from traditional trajes, or one piece, to skirt and corset sets. Susana and I spent 20 minutes scouring the racks, not knowing my size. Like a good shopper, I picked out anything that I might remotely be interested in (thank you, Nancy Gaa) and soon both of our arms were piled with flamenco dresses. All of them were for me. I picked out a pink one-piece dress with white polka dots. Very traditional, yet stunning. For the first time ever in my life, something fit me so amazingly that I didn’t want to take it off. Nothing has to be done to the dress – it needn’t be taken in or out nor lengthened. I gasped when she zipped it up and I turned around.
Despite having a lot of body in many places, the dresses was snug around my butt, around my hips and around my chest. It actually made me look really thin and curvy. I was just about decided when she encouraged me to try on other skirts and dresses, but nothing fit me like the pink lunar (pink with white polka dots). The price tag, at 99E, was much more favorable to the 500E trajes I’ve seen elsewhere. Susana told them woman helping us to get me complementos to try on – big white hoop earrings, a white shawl, a pink and white flower for my hair. All together, I have to say I looked Spanish. And all Susana could say was, “Kike va a flipar cuando te vea” – Kike is going to go crazy when he sees you. He asked later about whether or not the trip was successful. I said yes, but you’ll have to wait until Feria to see me dressed up like a Sevillana. For now, I’m off to Cadiz for the Carnaval - a full week of drinking, singing, partying in the streets and fireworks.
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