Two months of Madrid madness have now passed me and we are staring the start of March in the face. WTF. Can someone please tell me where the time is going? Anyone? In brief, here’s the story so far:
My biggest fear while sitting on that flight, Madrid bound, was that my housemates would absolutely not be up for living with an English girl that could barely speak a word of Spanish. After a bus from the airport and a cab from the centre, I took the lift up to the fourth floor and tentatively knocked on the door. Rafa answered, not that I knew it was him – I wasn’t sure who I was looking for, and out poured from my mouth a pile of inaudible mumbled Spanglish that resembled neither Spanish nor English. Turned out I was in the right place, and my room was ready and waiting for me. A bloody annoying guy, resembling that off of the YouTube “Gap Yar” videos, once told me “when living with the nomads in the Sahara desert I found out you don’t need language to communicate with people.” I guess this situation proved this to be true. I found myself sitting in my room, staring at my case, thinking ‘this is going to be a disaster.’
Turns out that throwing myself in at the deep end hasn’t been too bad at all JAfter going out for nachos with my housemates the evening I arrived all my fears subsided. Despite worrying, they speak English and help me out with my Spanish with a ton of patience- that’s when I actually get the chance to see them. We work on pretty different time schedules with them leaving at 7am and me not returning until 9.30pm, we can go days without our paths crossing.
Before I knew it January had passed. It was a month filled with continual map reading, phrase searching in my mini-dictionary which has been glued to my side and combinations of blank stares and looks of desperation accompanying the majority of my attempts to speak Spanish. To be completely honest, not much has changed. I set up a bank account and have FINALLY sorted out a Spanish sim card- the latter turned out to be quite an achievement after many failed attempts online to sign up to Simyo. Whilst their online deals were really quite attractive they seem to have an invisible forcefield surrounding them that repels anyone that is not Spanish. I even had my Spanish friend speak to them on the phone and after processing everything and saying the sim was in the post my request was yet again rejected 5 days later. Orange it was to be.
I have embraced tapas with open arms and now expect nothing less that my beer to be accompanied with some olives. I consider myself to be a connoisseur of Spanish omelette and find it difficult to look at a menu without ordering croquettes. The Spanish have got it RIGHT when it comes to food. A late breakfast, massiveee 2-3 course lunch and a late little something at about 10pm- the ideal. However putting this timetable into action is proving a little bit more difficult than it looks on paper –after 21 years of having a reasonably small lunch and dinner at around 6pm it seems pretty tricky to alter my body clock. Nevertheless I’m sure I’ll soon pick it up. I don’t finish work until 9pm every night, so unless I want to eat a massive dinner right before I go to sleep and put on 5stone I’ll be adapting to this way of life as soon as possible. Another reason for me currently eating the best I have ever done in my life is due to Ramsey also being in Madrid and being a rather good little chef. My lacking ability in the kitchen has caused me to find myself at his dinner table more times than I would like to count in the last two months. Thanks Ramsey- you are the best.
And now the important part- the part that is enabling me to survive in this country, funding my fine dining habits, my lingo learning and my humble abode. I absolutely love my job. So the planning can sometimes be a bit long and tedious, and it took me a few weeks to find my feet and get to know the level of my students and their abilities and interests. But being in the classroom is fantastic. The length of time I spend preparing is always quickly forgotten and always seems to be worth it. Banter with my students can leave a smile on my face and the interest the younger ones show in knowing about me is rather flattering! I’m not saying it has all been plain sailing. I am continually learning about the English language with all its grammar rules and structures that we don’t ever think twice about with a native language. I’ve also had my fair share of problems regarding students’ expectations and abilities. But regardless- I am always learning, every day is different, my students never fail to make me laugh at least once a lesson and I get to lie-in the mornings- what is there not to like?
Now, let’s keep this blog Up To Date so I am not playing catch up all the time!