Slightly earlier than I promised, hola from Logroño, where I am currently curled up with a proper cuppa of Yorkshire tea!
I’ve been back in said beautiful ‘Shire this weekend with the lovely company of my family and friends to make up for the awful weather. Refuelled by a pub lunch and my mum’s cooking, I’ve definitely made up for any meals I missed during my loss of appetite! I had a lovely weekend, and whilst I did get a bit upset at the prospect of coming back, since I got here I’ve been feeling really up-beat. Maybe this sudden boost in morale has come from seeing people I love, maybe from breaking up my time here, or maybe from being sent back with all my favourite foods… with spice… and sauce!…
Christmas came early for me…
I had to repack this not-so-little lot at the boarding gate to get the case to squeeze into the size-limit cage, and the flight attendant struggled to suppress a smile (the other passengers didn’t even bother trying to hide theirs – and the old man who was to be sat next to me later told me he “likes a girl who likes her food” …oo-er)! It definitely wasn’t a “comfortable fit” but I was let off with it. Thank you, Easyjet, for your cheap flights and reason!
On the topic of food, I went out for my first staff meal on Thursday. The occasion: the anniversary of the school getting moodle (a “Virtual Learning Environment” aka internet forum). Since birthdays and the arrival of new staff are celebrated with wine and pinchos in the staff room very regularly, it’s unsurprising that excuses must be getting a bit thin on the ground! Fuenmayor, the village in which I work, has a population of 3, 200 so new faces are noticed! The restaurant was the sort of quiet place which only attracts locals (nobody else has any reason to visit the village!) and Spanish people don’t seem to find it rude to stare like the Brits do, so I felt quite uncomfortable! They put two and two together and worked out that I must be the new lectora their kids had been talking about, so I could hear my name being whispered by the other customers… creepy!
Although it’s improved lots in the month I’ve been here, my Spanish is still very much a work in progress. The restaurant didn’t have written menus; rather, the waitress came and reeled off a load of different dishes from memory. I struggled to work out which words were part of which meal, let alone what they meant, and after asking her to repeat twice (and there were 5 courses for this painful process to be played out) I just had to hope for the best and ask for “The first one!” It could have gone very badly but in the end I was really lucky, ending up with a delicious salad, fish stew and nutty cake, rather than a disgusting looking blood sausage with boiled eggs and a rabbit dish, all of which I hate. It wouldn’t really have mattered had I got my “Food hell”, since the whole meal, including wine and service, came to 10 euros.
I also struggled with the conversation, as everybody speaks very loudly, quickly and over each other. All of the teachers are really kind and patient but every time I understood a few words and tried to add something, hush would fall and everyone would look and smile at me encouragingly as I struggled, very deliberately and slowly, to put together an awful sentence of Spanish! Afterwards, smiles broadened and some nodded enthusiastically, falling just short of giving me a round of applause! It’s nice they’re so interested and encouraging, but also quite embarrassing! I mightn’t have talked much if it wasn’t for the constant supply of red wine…
Tomorrow could be an interesting day at work, as the students are going on strike… really!
Excuse the terrible photo, I took it on my phone whilst dashing to a class. They will be joined by the teachers on the following day; the strike is against the government’s proposed education reforms, which will cut and change funding eligibility for prospective university students. It’s not very well covered in English news, so I’ve only managed to find quite poor and biased articles, but here’s one in case your interested! http://www.thinkspain.com/news-spain/23434/spains-schools-on-strike-over-education-reform
I still have to go to classes, and think of activities which can easily be modified to suit large or small groups of children, as I have no idea how many will turn up! I also have some more private classes on Wednesday evenings starting this week, so “Blogday” will be moving permanently to Tuesday!