Recently I have been accused (by my friend Ian) of: 1) ether having nothing to blog about….or 2) Having so many things to blog about that I don’t have time to blog. Fortunately for me I would have to agree with choice number 2. For example, over this weekend I was visited by Hannah Singer—my friend from Brown and one of the coolest people I know.
Hannah arrived in Palma—from Ireland where she is studying this semester—on Thursday night at 1am. Feeling pressure to show her the highlights of Palma in two days, we were sure not to waste any time on stupid things like sleep or sitting down to eat at a restaurant. Instead we took advantage of Palma’s amazing cafes and had various combinations of coffee, pastries, chocolate, and ice cream. I also introduced Hannah to Spain’s large selection of 1-2 euro bottles of wine, and tapas with cheese, bread and tomato…Hannah loved this so much that upon one bite of pa amb oli she exclaimed to my friends “Me amo queso!” This slight error to what should have been “Yo amo queso!” or “I love cheese” sounded more like “Me llamo queso!” or “My name is cheese!”, which resulted in Hannah being called “cheese” for the rest of the night (mostly by me! lol, I love you Hannah!). But even despite the occasional teasing, Hannah was a great sport and was up for doing practically anything that people “typically” do during the weekend here in Palma. Needless to say my friends and I took Hannah to a party on Friday night until 4am and then the next night we left the clubs at 5:30am and sent her straight to the airport to make her 7am flight.
Below are some pictures from a picnic that Hannah and I had on the beach!
Friday, October 9, 2009
I just finished my first week of work! (Yes I actually do have other responsibilities besides going to the beach) I’m teaching at two schools in Mallorca, which are both extremely different. One school, Santa Maria, is located in Palma (about 25 mins away from my house by bus) and it has all ages (infantile through secondary school students) but I’m only working with the 12-13 and 15-16 year olds. I will be working at Santa Maria on Mondays and Tuesdays teaching four English classes and assisting in one technology class. One Wednesdays and Thursdays I’m teaching at Urbanitzacions de Llucmajor, a school an hour outside of Palma in a beautiful area on the water called Badia Gran. At this school all of my students are between the ages of 4-7…and they are so so so cute! The school has a blog and they already posted pictures of me introducing myself to the students during an art class (http://cpurbanitzacionsllucmajor.blogspot.com/). Ps the whole website is in Catalan, but it basically says that I just arrived from New York and I will be working in the school as a language assistant.
Although I’m positive I’m going to love teaching, it’s very different than I imagined. To my surprise I found out (about 5 minutes before class started) that rather than “assisting” the teacher in the classroom I will actually be running the classes by myself and creating my own lesson plans and activities for the students. I’m actually really excited about having this freedom, but learning that I would have to run 3 hour long classes by myself just a couple of minutes before class started was…interesting...Since I didn’t have anything planned I just introduced myself and then allowed the students to ask me any questions that came to mind. Here are some of the questions the 12 and 13 year olds asked me:
1. “Do you have a boyfriend??” Of course this was the first question the girls had for me!
2. “Have you ever met a celebrity?”
3. “Do you have a pet”?
4. “What did I study in school?” Note-to-self: never answer this question truthfully…I’ve found out that telling Spaniards that I studied Ethnic Studies is like saying I studied the history of blue cheese…people really don’t understand ethnic studies, even when I explain it and say it focuses on learning about human rights and social justice issues they still look at me like I’m the craziest extranjero they’ve ever met.
5. And my all time favorite question of the day…”Are there squirrels in Central Park?” I almost didn’t believe I heard the word “squirrels” when the student first said it because I didn’t think it was even a part of their vocabulary, but when I asked him to repeat the question his friend decided to chime in and explained “you know the little animal with a big tail”… And then yesterday when I was at the other school I had a 6 year old ask me about squirrels! I really don’t understand the fascination, but when I find out more about the squirrel-Spain connection I’ll be sure to elaborate.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Now I can say with confidence that the Mallorca shown in the tourist guides actually does exist! On Sunday I went to Cala Figuera, which is one of the Island's many beaches. First we walked through a little boating town on the water (where I am determined to buy a house sometime in my life), and then we went to the beach area.
My future house (the one with the green doors of course)!!! If you look really close you can see an old man painting on the second balcony...I really can't think of a better way to spend retirement than that.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
This weekend I took a trip to Valldemosa--one of the island's most beautiful towns. This village on a hill is the place where Mallorcan tourism began. In 1838 the composer Frédéric Chopin and his girlfriend spent a winter in the town and from that experience Chopin wrote a book called "A Winter in Mallorca"...original huh? The book was actually about how much Mallorca sucks. Since Chopin and his girlfriend were one of the island's first tourists they were shunned by the locals. Fastforward to 171 years later when I went and it had more German tourists than I saw when I had my 6 hour layover in Dusseldorf. The town was still beautiful though and the views from the top of the mountain were way worth the walk and drive up the mountain.
And below is just a building that I thought was really pretty. The picture doesn't do it justice because the colors at the top are actually bright blues and greens.