Where is the time going? It’s already the weekend again? Let’s recap my last week, because it was a particularly good one, (although let me apologize in advance, I can already tell this entry is going to have too many words and not enough pictures): Friday night I somehow managed to stay out until 530. I’m actually starting to think that this is normal, and that coming home before the metros open at 6 is calling it an early one. On Saturday my American friends and I cooked a big belated Thanksgiving dinner for a group of our Spanish friends, and I think it was a hit. Some of them had never eaten turkey before, most of them had never heard of cranberry sauce, and they kept wanting to call the gravy “Thanksgiving salsa.” In keeping with tradition, we ate too much, and everyone lazed around afterward feeling fat and full and it was almost just like a Thanksgiving back home. Almost. To adapt to Spain we had to serve the food at 10, since the idea of eating at the normal earlyafternoon o’clock totally put everyone waaay too far outside of their comfort zone. Additionally, I had to run out last minute to buy a loaf of bread to serve with dinner, since apparently Spaniards are incapable of eating a meal without a piece of bread to accompany it (who knew?).
Monday morning walking outside was like being slapped in the face, it was by far the coldest it’s been yet. Reading the paper on the way to work, this was the weather forcast: El tiempo en madrid, hoy: han activado la alerta en la region. Se esperan nevadas, tambien en la capital. Continua el frio polar. Snow? De verdad? It sure felt cold enough, but much like the horoscopes, the weather reports had consistently been incorrect. I decided I’d believe it when I saw it.
Normally when I walk into class on Monday’s the kids are pretty excited to tell me what they did over the weekend. However, this past Monday the first question I was asked by a group of 4th grade girls wearing Hannah Montana t-shirts was “Teacher, conoces a Justin Bieber?” I had to tell them to ask me again in English, so the second time it came out more like “Teecher Alisha, do you uhh aknow uhh who is aJustin Bieber?” When I told them yes, they all excitedly told me (in Spanish of course) that he was IN MADRID today, signing autographs at 4pm. Hold. the. phone. It was actually all I heard about in every class the rest of the day, and because I’m from California all the kids assumed that actually I knew him, and that we hung out on the regular. Can’t say I corrected them, either.
We have a break for ‘recreo’ from 12- 1230 every day, and while most of the teachers spend their time chatting and nibbling on apples or a piece of bread, my coworkers and I are all business. We spend our time watching the clock in order to maximize our capacity to eat/steal as much free food as possible. This week instead of the normal bread and fruit we had an extra good spread, including bacon and grilled cheese sandwiches, tortilla francesa, toast with real cream cheese and salami, tiramisu, yum. After the break, I always do the date and weather with my favorite 3rd grade class. It’s extremely repetitive, and so I was surprised and quickly corrected one of the chiclets when he told me it was snowing…. but then I looked out the window to see big, white, fluffy flakes of snow twirling down from the sky…! I was like a little kid the rest of the day, probably less mature than any of my students. On the trip home my co-worker from Idaho couldn’t understand why I made him stand outside our metro stop so I could attempt to eat it. I don’t think I’ve ever been in such a good mood on a Monday. Plus, snow is far superior to this rain business we get back home, if it’s snowing I don’t even feel angry about how cold my feet/ face/ hands/ all of me is.
That night was the first El Clasico of the season, Real Madrid vs Barca. It was a big upset, 0-5 Barca, and since that’s who I was rooting for, it was really fun to watch. The next day all the kids had stayed up late to watch the game, so they were tired and as a result, better behaved than usual. Most of them are already die-hard Real Madrid fans, except this one kid, Alberto, who came decked out in all Barcelona gear the next day. He took a lot of flak for it, but I never saw him do anything except smile and repeat the score. When I gave him a high five and told him that was my team as well, there was nearly a mutiny. One little boy who speaks pretty well and usually likes to chat with me immediately slammed his book shut and with a look of disgust told me in all seriousness “I no talk to you today.” He was not joking, the rest of the day when we would make eye contact he would just sadly shake his head. The following day I figured it would have blown over, but no, all I got out of him the entire day was an eye roll. Let me tell you, it’s pretty humbling being put in your place by a nine year old.
The rest of the week at school was spent listening to Christmas carols and putting up decorations. I’m loving being able to experience the holidays the way I used to when I was a kid. Also, I think these little squirts are making me more tolerant of human kind in general. There is not a single one that I do not genuinely like and think is cute, and so, when I was on my hunt for a new apartment, and leaving yet another place where the owner had lied and posted fake photos online, I simply had to remind myself that person was also once 8 years old, and wanted nothing more than to giggle and dance to the skeleton song. Speaking of which, Wednesday I finally moved into my new piso. I now have a bigger room, no bed bugs (hopefully), and three lovely Spanish roomies, Luis, Humberto and Valerio. They could not be nicer or more welcoming, although I haven’t had a chance to talk with them as much as I would have liked yet. I’m still a little intimidated by the idea of speaking Spanish all the time, but that’s what I came here to do, learn and improve, so I just have to suck it up and do it. Our week long holiday started today, so on Tuesday I’ll be jetting off to Toulouse to visit my gal Cristella, who is in France doing the same thing I am. I’m excited to leave Spain for a bit, and I plan on bringing an extra bag so I can fill it with croissants and baguettes.