My friends from my Master’s program and I have been talking about June all year. It was to be the best month of the program: warm weather for outings, no classes or theses, half-days of work, and time to do everything we wanted. I personally thought it wouldn’t live up to all the hype.
I was wrong.
The past few weeks have been filled with very little work (but just enough to make me FEEL productive) and a lot of fun! It’s been one of the best months I can remember.
Here are some good things from June so far, organized by category:
With my new June schedule, I spend less time with each class and I’m usually there with the class’s teacher as well. So I don’t really need to plan any lessons nor do I have to discipline any children. When I do actually have class, that is, because June is filled with tons of special events and field trips! It seems I have been spending as much time in the cafe down the street from the school as I have in the actual school building these days.
But I also like to include myself in the special events when possible. It’s fun to just hang out with the kids sometimes or see them do funny things. For example, the three-year-olds put on a little dance show about seasons:
Here are the raindrops getting ready to perform, and my infantil sidekick, Ana. Ana teaches the little kids English with me. She is one of the kindest, most helpful, most generous people around and I am so lucky I got to work with her this year. Next to her, with the short, black hair, is my little Paloma (Paloma means dove, or pigeon). I fell in love with her on the first day of school when she told me her name was Ricardo (turns out that’s her brother’s name) and on the second day when I asked her how she was and she told me she’d had potatoes for lunch.
The snow and the rain (sleet.)
This class had autumn and winter. But other classes had different seasons.
Like this one, which had spring. Feria is in spring which meant Flamenco costumes!
These kids were not actually the best dancers, but their costumes were so darn cute that I almost didn’t notice!
I also begged the director to let me go on the infantil BONANZA field trip. It was a field trip to celebrate the end of the year. And there was supposed to be nothing but good times, good food, animals, and swimming!
After two straight weeks of 90+ degree weather, I was more than ready to bring my swimsuit along and swim with the niños, but surely enough the nice weather went away and it was windy and rainy during our trip.
The kids had a good time anyway, I think. I didn’t see much of them, actually.
The teachers headed straight to the bar (there’s always a bar) and we pretty much camped out there for the rest of the day.
Evidently, the director of the school and the director of infantil and primary had threatened to come over and check on the field trip that day. I guess they heard a rumor that the teachers don’t actually spend time with the kids on field trips and that they just sit and eat the free food the entire time.
I have no idea where they got that idea.
But in all reality, it was pretty rainy and we did stay inside for most of the time to avoid getting muddy and wet! I would have liked to go see what the kids were up to, but I had no idea how to navigate around BONANZA.
We didn’t get to swim in the pool with the little kids, but the five-year-olds got to swim in the indoor pool, and they had a good time.
The weather did clear up later in the afternoon. Just in time for the teachers to come out of the bar in a food coma.
We had a morning snack of coffee (or beer, or both) and toast, muffins, and cookies.
Then for lunch we had:
- Morcilla (blood sausage)
- Revuelto del abuelo (eggs, potatoes, and something else all fried together)
- Ham croquettes
Since the weather was finally nice, the kids were out on the lawn playing some games. The three-year-olds had gotten their faces painted. Here is my little Paloma:
This group of four-year-olds told me they were dragons and that they would be flying home instead of taking the bus:
It wasn’t everything I had expected, but it was fun. I got to eat a lot of free food and hang out with the kids a little without trying to make them speak English. I also noticed how much easier it has gotten for me to stay focused on group conversations in Spanish. It used to require all my concentration to stay focused on conversations between lots of people (and then I’d start concentrating so much on concentrating that I’d lose track of what they were saying anyway) but now it just comes naturally. Speaking is much easier too, and I feel like I can say what I actually want to say now instead of a simplified version.
The very next day at school, the first graders through the sixth graders went out on the patio (playground) to perform a dance that they’d all been rehearsing for WEEKS. It was to a song that David Bisbal sings for a Coca-Cola commercial. It’s so catchy!
I’m not exactly sure why they did it…I think to celebrate the World Cup. Also, they were hoping to get on the news.
Everyone wore red or yellow (to look like the Spanish flag). It was meant to be seen from above. This picture was taken from one of the infantil classrooms, one floor above. But the school goes up to six floors, so the people up high got a pretty good view!
We dressed up the infantil kids and brought them out to watch even though they had no idea what was happening (as usual.) Here’s a photo of me (in my red!) with my favorite three-year-old class.
And here’s some photos from the dancing of it all!
I had seen them practicing the dance every now and then but never actually learned it myself. Did that stop me from dancing? Heck no! I danced my little heart out even though I messed up a bunch. It was SUCH a fun morning! We did the dance three times, although I would have been happy with more.
Oh, and I spent one hour teaching that day with a half-hour break in the cafe in-between.
Ok, now you’re sick of kids. I get it.
Since all of May was spent (by some) finishing up their thesis last-minute, all birthday celebrations were postponed until June. Then, when June came, we had even more birthdays to celebrate, and also we obviously had to celebrate finishing our Master’s. So that is what we did (and are still doing).
With dinner at a Cuban restaurant.
One Euro mini-sandwiches and giant drinks outside in Plaza Santa Ana.
Followed by drunken dancing when a random mariachi band started playing in the plaza!
Pic-nicking and sunbathing in Retiro!
And, this weekend, we loaded up a shit-ton of food and headed into the mountains to do some “camping”.
Again, the weather took a turn for the worst after it had been so hot, but we had fun anyway! We slept in tiny little bungalows that slept four people and had little mini-kitchens and bathrooms.
We did get out hiking a little:
But since it was kinda rainy, our main focus was eating.
This was our lunch/dinner of BLTs and grilled cheese sandwiches. We had TONS of bacon, so some of the grilled cheeses had bacon in them.
Here’s Stefanie cooking the bacon and grilled cheese. Later, we found out that she thought bacon had to be fried in butter. And, after she cooked the bacon, she cooked some of the grilled cheeses in the bacon grease! Later, some people dipped those directly into artichoke dip. To me it seemed like something that should go on http://www.thisiswhyyourefat.com.
Anyway, I won’t get into detail about how much we actually ate (it did include s’mores…kinda) but later we went on a walk to watch the sunset over the river.
This sunset was at approximately 10:00p.m., just so you know. Then we went back to our cabin and ate two cakes.
As I said, I’m all finished except I don’t know my grades on my thesis or from my last two classes yet. It doesn’t really matter (as long as I pass) but it will be interesting to see what grades they give us on the theses since I’m willing to bet 98093208323 Euros that they won’t even read them.
This is my last real week in Madrid. It’s my last week of teaching and having an (ab)normal schedule. Next Sunday my sister comes, then graduation, then off traveling for a while. I hope to update when I can, but who knows.
I’m still looking for jobs in Colorado (not as a teacher) and it seems to be going OK. I’m so happy to be where I am; done with school, almost done with work, and with so much to look forward to!
I’m sad to be saying good-bye to my kids and to all the friends I’ve made this year, but I’m so excited to do some traveling, and really excited to be home. More on that this week, I think!