Friday, April 15, 2011

More Spring stuff

Hurray! Spring has sprung! The weather is super awesome and there hasn't been even the hint of rain in days. It's so sunny, I've been wearing face sunscreen and sunglasses just in case! (you can never be too prepared to start prevent obvious aging). Things have kind of settled down, one of my most difficult private classes had to cancel for the month of April because she got a job (unemployment here is super crazy, in my classes it is almost depressing seeing how many of them are jobless [I know it is a skewed statistics because if they are unemployed they are more likely to be enrolled in classes and attend them-either wanting to get an advantage for new jobs or simply because they have more time], it is really looking at all the scary statistics they talk about in the face), so she is hoping to restart private classes again in May. Meanwhile, I still get random calls asking about private lessons. I usually get them while I'm sleeping.

The school is getting kind of old. Because I switched levels at semester, February, I am repeating some of the same lessons but going slower since these are intermediate instead of advanced classes. This means I did the lesson about me again. That means I talked about me for 24 hours first semester, and something like 48 hours the second semester. On the bright side, I love talking about myself, haha, and I got really good at delivering jokes. It is like practice for being a stand-up comic! Except the subject matter isn't really universally appealing, I guess. Also we are talking about food, traveling, and now FINALLY something new: planning events. I chose weddings because then they can talk about the reception menu, the honeymoon (things relating to what we talked about in the previous classes) AND bachelor/bachelorette parties! There is nothing like talking about something borderline scandalous to get their creativity and enthusiasm going. I'm still hoping that we can watch some tv for the last weeks, but I have low expectations with the level of the students. In fun news, one guy gave a presentation about Houston! I was all like, been there! My sister goes to that school! NASA! Anyway, it was kind of difficult to understand (did I mention the level is lower?) but that is why powerpoint is such a useful tool.

Aside from school and private classes, I've still been going to the gym pretty consistently - minus things in the mornings and a few days where I fell a little under the weather and when I all of a sudden can feel that I have random muscles and they are sore and then I don't want to move any more than I have to. I'm getting all buddy-buddy with some people there, so it's nice to be able to meet new people. Speaking of people, I went to an Erasmus party a few weeks ago and it was kind of lame. I never really felt old here, but not being a University student - for awhile, even - made me feel a little out of place at a college study-abroad party. Not because we didn't have things in common, but because I would never seem them on campus, in classes, at UVIGO meetings, etc. Also, there were some weird people who must not have gotten the social awareness gene. Then the teachers and I have been having a good time! We went to one of the two mexican restaurants in the city. Disappointment. The enchilada was like swimming in salt. The quesadilla was like cheesy, but the cheese was salty. And the margaritas cost 9.90Euros!!! Also, there was a paella party. It was delish and fun and tiiiipical espaniiish.

In Vigo, after Carnaval, they did a reenactment about a battle with the French from like 1809 or something. It was packed. And they had French soldiers and old-timey costumes and people dancing and horses and allegedly some battle but we missed it because the crowds were all crazy. Then soon after, Manu and I took a brief trip to Gijon. Gijon is a city in Asturias, also the north of Spain, which is kind of isolated except for the capital city sort of nearby. Well, Asturias is kind of isolated. It is super mountainous and lakey/rivery, so that wasn't especially conducive to connective infrastructures. Anyway, there are lots of little villages on the sides and valleys of mountains and Gijon is one of the two large cities in the province. Anyway, it's a pretty cute town with a really nice boardwalk. The most famous thing about Asturias is the cider (and cheese but people always say cider first). The thing is that the bartender pouring it does so from over his head. I don't think I liked the cider that much, I thought it was kind of bitter. But then I found out it isn't for sipping but to drink all at once, so maybe I just tasted it wrong. We were only there for like two and a half days, a lot of the time was traveling on a bus, but that's ok because there isn't really a ton of stuff to do in the actual city.

Now we are coming up on Semana Santa. This is essentially Spring Break part 2. Only this year, it isn't planned out as well as it was last year. I have a few ideas of what to do, but with random schedules it makes it a little challenging. There's always the beaches!!

Well that about sums up what has been up the last few weeks. After semana santa I will fill you in on the crazy hijinks I get myself into - you know there's always something! haha. PS-if we are facebook friends, you can see the album from Carnaval, the Reconquista and when Manu and I went to Gijon. Blast in a glass!


Sunday, March 13, 2011


Ta da!! I have finally put an album of recent photos online. It's best to see them through facebook because there are a ton, so check it out! Hope you enjoy!


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Long Overdue

Big news!
I am finally updating my blog! Yay!! A lot has been going on, and adding that to my faulty internet and not having a powercord to plug my computer in to use the wonky internet has really made things difficult.

Here are some of the big things as of late:
Kansas Day! This is always one of my favorite holidays, I'm pretty sure it's because I always liked the frosting on graham crackers but now that I'm not in Kansas it's some fun Kansas pride day. Last year we did it pretty big in Ourense, free shots for the Kansan!, and this year we moved the party to Santiago. Last year I was the only Kansan (plus Manu, honorable mention). This year it was insane. There were like 8 or 9 Kansans! That is a crazy number of Kansans in Galicia. So we started the party with the other teachers from Vigo, then the night diverged to Kansans then Americans. Mega fun.

Then a few weeks later, I went to Salamanca. The plan was to go with both the other teachers who went to Kansas day, but it ended up being just me and Luc the French-Canadian. We were there for like 3ish days, the logistics were very poorly planned. We thought we would be able to maximize our time there by 'leaving on the midnight train to' Salamanca, but really we just got there really tired - we were stuck in Zamora for awhile waiting for the bus to Salamanca - and when we got to the hostel just crashed for a few hours. The rest of the day we wandered around aimlessly, trying to get a feel for the place without trying to look too out of place. The next day we met up with Manu's friend from Pontevedra and he gave us a quick tour and pointed out all the quirky things there, so it was really cool. We went out-ish with his friends then the next day we finished up going to the museums and stuff (let me just say, the Flour Musuem is just as fascinating as it sounds xD) and then tried to kill time until the bus to Vigo leaves at midnight. This was definitely one of those needing a vacation after the vacation vacations with all the crazy transport schedules.

Then the next weekend Manu and I went to London! It was totally awesome! We were there for like four days and saw all the big things: the aquarium, we all know how much of a fan I am (shout out to KC and their new future aquarium!), the non-art museums, the big building things (btw, Big Ben was seriously shorter than I thought) and walking around a lot. We did not go to Madame Tussauds, totally kind of freaks me out. The weather was much nicer than I had feared, hurray!, so it only rained one evening but kind of drizzled a little some afternoons. The hostel we stayed at was really central, so we were able to walk to all te big places and not have to take the subway - it is like 4 GBP each ride! All in all it was a very pleasant and enjoyable trip.

In fun and exciting news, the other teachers and I have been going to trivia nights and being totally awesome. We won the first time and were runners up the second time by one point (I am blissfully skimming over the part where my correct answer was changed haha). I also joined a gym because I have been feeling lazy and Vigo is not really conducive to running - it is super hilly, there is a lot of traffic on the streets and sidewalks, and that makes it kind of polluted stinky and not so safe.

This week is Carnaval. I went to Pontevedra to watch the parade, it was kind of cute with all the people wearing miniature Rio outfits and the marching bands and stuff, and they are still all about Spain winning the World Cup. This is totally Halloween. Except EVERYONE dresses up. We went out on the town and I was able to see my ex-roommate from Ourense! The rest of the days there are things in the small villages (although they are frustratingly not as easy to get to relying on trains and buses) and here in Vigo there will be something about burning 'the king and queen' of Carnaval and then they will be burying a sardine. I know. You can't make things like that up. Awesomely, this is vacation for me! I have some private classes but classes at the school are out until Thursday. Yay! I feel like I can catch up on sleeping in since I have been missing out on it the last week or so.

Ok, I think that about sums it up. I hope that one of these days I can link to a photo album so everyone can visual my not-so-hot descriptions of recent events. Hope everything is fabo wherever you are!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I realize that last post sounded a little melodramatic, so I thought I would write about some of the nice things about being back.

When I step out of the shower, I don´t have to lather myself in lotion.
The school unblocked fb so I can do whatever I want on the internet in between classes, if things aren´t working at my apartment.
Manu thoughtfully is contributing to my continued indulgence of Reese´s peanut butter cups, even though I don´t know how/where he got them.
I can go outside with just a light jacket, not all bundled up.
The party don´t start till I walk in, and it don´t stop until 7am. Which equals a lot of fun party times.

OK, that is a brief list. When I get the fb album finished, I´ll link it up here!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Back to school

Hola amigos!
I officially am a horrible blogger. I forget I have this so I don't bother to update and adding pictures when my internet is so sucky (but free, so I can only complain so much, right?) that it frustrates me and I am anti-frustration.

Anyway, let me divulge the fascinating events that have transpired lately. Winter in Spain: winter in Galicia = rain. Fortunately while I was back in KS I missed the bulk of it, yay! Then we get to the Christmas season, which is decorated pretty similar to American-style. Lights on the streets and Santa Clauses everywhere. Since the faculty is muuuuch larger than in Monforte, we didn't have a special faculty Christmas dinner and I seemed to miss the class' Christmas dinner with the students.

Then I went back home. It was awesome. I lounged around WITH WORKING INTERNET AND TV WITH MORE THAN TWENTY CHANNELS and enjoyed CONVERSING WITH PEOPLE I LIVE WITH and was able to have fancy drinks when I went out. And drive. All really important things.

So I went back to Vigo on the 9th, just before the huge storm that closed or delayed the airports or flights. Phew. Especially since it is such a long journey anyway, I don't need any extra delays. BUT WAIT! I still got there late and had to wait forever in the Madrid airport - but this time I didn't get pickpocketed, yay! - and then the flight to Vigo was delayed which means that I would miss the bus that goes to the city. Super. Anyway, I put on my social face and started talking to the group of people waiting and complaining about the plane being delayed and got to talking and met an old couple and they invited me to share a cab with them instead of getting one by myself. Yay! Then I showered and went to sleep because the next day I had class.

Speaking of class, this is the penultimate round of classes with advanced students before I am moved to intermediate level. This essentially means that I can repeat all the lectures I've done so far, yay for no more 'lesson plans'! This weekend there was a British birthday party (the birthday part was just convenient I think for the day, no one actually knows whose birthday it was) and it was like a UN conference: Greeks, Germans, Iranians, Afghanis, Austrians, Brasilians, every kind of Brit, and me and Luc rounded out the North American continent. Oh and someone from Spain, just for variety's sake. Next next weekend we are planning a Kansas day celebration since it is the sesquicentennial of Kansas, and there are a lot of us here in Galicia and Spain!, so it should be really fun to meet the other Kansans and catch up with those I already know.

That's about it. Just trying to readjust to being back here. After an incident involving spices TRAGICALLY falling into my ravioli and something else involving pants, I miss home and how pleasantly spoiled I am there. OK, I think that is enough of an update. I think once I get photos on facebook, I will set up a link and that way I won't stress out and you can see more than 10 photos at a time. Win win!


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

I thought I would take some time out today -- EVEN THOUGH I AM WORKING, SPAIN, WHY DO YOU NOT RECOGNIZE THIS AMERICAN HOLIDAY, TOO -- to update my blog!

I am thankful for having internet even if it doesn't work super super awesomely because now they have blocked facebook at the school. And I am thankful for the friends I've made in Vigo because my roommates are kind of lame. And I'm thankful for Manu and his sister so it's kind of like family on Thanksgiving day. I am also thankful that the weather here is still pretty good. I'm mega thankful that there is a grocery store literally across the street and I can get my chips, yogurt, cookies and juice there for super cheap. And I'm thankful that EVEN THOUGH I HAVE TO WORK TODAY that I really only 'work' for like barely any part of the week. Also I'm thankful that although each time I update and say that I will include photos and then I end up not, no one has tried to find me with torches and pitchforks to 'inspire' me to add photos.

I'm thankful for other stuff, too, but sometimes it isn't as funny or interesting as aforementioned things: like my family, getting my stuff done for grad school, the new harry potter movie, etc. etc.

In other news, a few weekends ago I went to Santiago to see the Pope. It was mega lame. Everything was gated off so you couldn't GO anywhere and it was so crowded I couldn't SEE anything. But there was a protest and tv screens so I could see the Popemobile and the bazillions of people there.

I hope everyone is having a fantastic Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving break and I look forwarding to seeing everyone Dec 15!


Monday, November 1, 2010

And back!

Sorry I have not written sooner. I know my legion of loyal fans have been anticipating the day when I would update this xD but, what can I say. I'm almost busy and still adjusting to my new city and job, well 'job'. And I don't have internet in my apartment so it's been kind of annoying getting online if I'm not at the school and it's closed on the weekends.

Anyway, I thought I would do a quick compare-and-contrast about last year and so far this year! See, the simplification of English process has taken root and I make little diagrams to explain things. It's an epidemic!!

Things that were more awesome in Monforte/Ourense:
I had internet in my apartment
I had awesome roommates
The teachers gave me photocopies of activities to do in class so I didn't have to plan anything

Things that are more awesome in Vigo:
My apt is walking distance from the school, and super super close to the train and bus station
When I prepare a lesson, I use the same thing for two weeks, so I only have to do some preparation once every two weeks!
My roommates are barely there so it's not like we are fighting for space (except for how I don't have any space to put food in the freezer)
I made quick friends with the French teacher (who speaks English) so if my brain needs a break from all the Spanish I just go hang out with Luc.

Most of what I've been doing if I haven't been in school talking about myself for 24 classes has been going out at night. I'm getting pretty hip on the cool places to go, there are a few 'going out zones' so you sort of have to figure out how all of it works. But it's tons of fun! And I'm meeting lots of new people.

The craziest thing that has happened relating to Kansas: one of my students studied at Bishop Miege high school for a year about 12 years ago!! That is nutty. One of the teachers went to KU and married a guy from Wichita, but that isn't so strange since KU-Santiago have an exchange program, but Bishop Miege?! What a small world!!

Ok, well I will try to update later. I want to show everyone some pictures of Vigo and all the crazy statues that are here, which are fun to see everywhere, so it will be like a taste of my reality. But that will have to wait until I get a better internet connection, haha.

Until next time!