Tuesday, February 15, 2011

January in Spain

So I got back to Spain on January 10th.  I fought my suitcases, both 50 lbs (22k) and one full only of delicious goodies brought back from America, through the airport, metro, bus, and up the streets of my town to my home.  A few short hours of resting, and it was back to work on the 11th.  The first week back was pretty uneventful.  The kids were crazy and unhappy to be back, and so were most of the teachers.  The one notable thing is that my one class of teachers, the ones I am preparing for the PET exam, asked to be given more work and homework and to be made to move faster.  It's very unusual for such a thing to happen, I think!  I also finally got my NIE (Spanish green card), which was a huge relief.

That weekend was the celebration of Carissa's birthday, so I headed into Madrid for a botellon in Retiro Park.  After the police shooed us away at dusk (drinking in parks is technically illegal in Spain, but not really enforced) we continued to a few other places for dinner and some magic beer.  Seriously, if you ever come to Madrid, hit up Naturbier in Plaza Santa Ana.  Two and you're singing.

The second week of January was characterized by frantic writing in an attempt to finish everything needed for the second module of my master's program.  I managed to do so, with what I considered great results for my "teaching writing techniques" class: I created a literature-based question set at the C1 (upper university studies) and the C2 (graduate) level, in Spanish.  Since my most recent placement test put me at a C1.8, I can assure you that this was quite the challenge!  It would certainly be difficult to teach a language to people who speak it as well as or even better than I do.  The work for my other class, linguistics, I was less pleased with.  The professor wanted very detailed information on a very specific subject area, and it left little freedom for the project.  Plus, I just don't think I did that good of a job.  So we shall see about that.

That weekend my friends were lovely enough to come visit me in San Lorenzo.  Friday was a totally relaxed girls' night, watching movies and talking.  Saturday I cooked a huge pot of mole for dinner and we had a bit of a party, including descending upon the town's only disco.  It was a lot of fun and craziness and just so nice to be able to do so in my town without having to go to Madrid.  It was also a beautiful weekend, and we managed to walk around town and all over the parks in the sunshine.

The next week my flatmate was traveling for work, and the cat turned into a needy ball of meowing, kissing, and leg rubbing.  He even slept on my bed.  I feel as though we really (finally!) bonded.

The last weekend of January my friend Mate came to visit me from Hungary.  He greatly enjoyed Madrid's new non-smoking law (as do I... it is so nice to come home from grabbing a drink after class and not have to wash my hair and febreeze everything on me).  We spent Friday exploring La Latina and eating vegetarian food, Saturday exploring Madrid, and Sunday exploring my pueblo before he had to head back to BP.  We were blessed with some nice weather on Saturday and I got some good pictures.  It had snowed a lot the week before, and it was still there in my town, so we got to enjoy that as well.

Plaza de Espana 
Templo de Debod
The Royal Palace, which we went inside.  I hadn't been inside since 2005.  It continues to be ornate.
the front view of El Palacio Real
Catedral de la Almudena
Pope John Paul II behind the cathedral
snow on some shrubberies... ni!
San Lorenzo panorama with snow


Anonymous said...

Isn"t it amazing how time flies pictures are beautiful love and miss you glad you enjoyed your friends visit be careful in the bad weather. take care of yourself you sounded a little down today but you made me happy thanks for calling on my birthday love and kisses xoxo

LL's Mom said...

Yoichi is so cute. I cannot wait to meet him. I hope you are having a better day. Sure do love and miss you! Love, Mom o0xo0x