Monday, December 3, 2012

The Ups & Downs

DECEMBER???  Time, what gives?  Where do you go and why do you go so quickly?!

I was pretty negligent to my little blogosphere this month, but that was probably okay.  It has been a bit of a rough past few weeks.  The honeymoon at school is over, I had my first ever, very serious homesickness (for which there is no Walgreens immunization shot), and then some computer problems.  Truly it was probably better that I've waited until now to write something, otherwise it would just be a big ugly pity fest all over this pretty teal page.

I have no reasons to be shocked and I really shouldn't complain because I've known that I don't like teaching from the beginning. I didn't choose Education in college for a reason, afterall.  That said, I'm seriously passionate about education and my biggest challenge has been trying not to play the comparison game. If there's one thing I hate, it's people who constantly compare their culture to their new one in a way that says "Well, so, mine is better".  I've been trying very, very hard to accept the Spanish education system, roll with the punches, and just keep on smiling.'s been next to impossible not to compare and not to get frustrated. 
It's not all bad, though. I do still love working with the preschoolers.  They are the sunshine in my life -- at least when they aren't peeing themselves, or running around the room in circles (me chasing them) to avoid putting toys away, or punching each other in the face and crying.... Yeah other than that they are just adorable!  And they are still innocent and sweet and not nasty and mean like the other kids I have to work with (aka ESO).  Last week I felt a little more appreciated by my middle schoolers again and saw a glimpse of why it was that I liked them so much in the first week.  I even consoled 2 crying boys with some much needed hugs that they wouldn't have received from my co-teacher (who actually caused one of the boys to start crying in the first place and then just stood there awkwardly as the poor kid sat at his desk in tears while 22 classmates stared at him in silence).

Maybe it's because December is a short month with the preparation for Christmas concerts taking up a lot of time and the holiday break coming up, but after November I've decided that I need to just take a deep breath and go against my nature and take on a new mantra.  This battle I am not going to win. I cannot fix the Spanish education system by complaining about it incessantly, nor could I make any significant change in 9 months at one school.  But I can help the kids that want help, try to help the ones who would otherwise be ignored, love those darling little 3, 4, and 5 year olds, and not take it all too seriously.  Laugh more, frown less...Be more like the guy in this music video maybe?

'Murican Things
 As I should have guessed, my homesickness came on Thanksgiving.  As much fun as most of our American holidays are (July 4, Halloween...St. Patty's...Cinco de Mayo...and all the rest that we stole from some other country so that we could have another party) there's just nothing like Thanksgiving.  Even though I never gave two flying F's about the Macy's Day Parade before, I found myself getting teary-eyed as I played the 2011 intro to 4 classes on Thanksgiving Day.  Matt Lauer hasn't looked so appealing to me since the 90's when he copy-catted that sly fox Carmen with his 'Where in the World is..Matt Lauer?' stint on the Today show for the first time.  Anyway, let's just sum it up and say that I shed a lot of tears that weekend and ate a lot of chocolate...oh and yeah my lady gift didn't do me any favors that weekend either.
On the bright side of it though, a few friends came to my apartment on that Friday for a Thanksgiving dinner international style.  It was just the remedy I needed after Thursday and everything turned out so fabulous.  Even though we didn't have turkey, chicken was just as good. And wine, wine, wine.
Then on Sunday, I had my first visitor! My friend Tia's friend is traveling Europe and she stopped in Madrid just for a day/night.  It was a really nice dose of home at a time when I really needed it.
I truly have no complaints about how I celebrated the holiday here, I just got a little too caught up thinking about where I could have been, which is no way to spend one's time abroad.

On another note, I've been so happy to keep following The Pack even though no one cares about the NFL here.  There's an Irish pub that shows the games on Sundays, except they don't always have the Packers.  Between that place and my mom's excellent maneuvering of the coffee table, I've watched more games than I expected I would.  And without a state full of Cheeseheads around me, I've converted a Spanish friend and now have someone to watch with.  Just need to replace his Miami Dolphins memorabilia with some Green and Gold and then it will be official.

Computer :(
I managed to somehow erase my entire iPhoto library last week.  Like actually, delete and recycle trash, poof, goodbye 5.5 years of memories via photos.  I wish that I didn't care so much about my pictures, but I just can't help it.  I love to look back at old photos and remember something that I had forgotten about, or tell a good story, or let the picture tell the story itself. Pictures are so powerful.  As sad as it is, I didn't allow myself to get that upset because thanks to my Facebook addiction, the majority of them are saved there.  Only lost are all those embarrassing pictures of me and friends doing unmentionables on Water Street or thereabouts that only an idiot would post to Facebook....It wouldn't be so bad that they're gone now if we knew what had happened most of those nights in the first place. #College

I seriously need to blog more. I hate doing massive updates. I can't even be bothered to read any of this so I don't imagine anyone else will be either!  BUT in some exciting upcoming events - I have my 2nd guest visiting this weekend!  Andrea, a friend who studied abroad at EC from Mexico, is coming to Madrid from the north of Spain.  I love being a host and I can't wait to show off this city. 
AND I'm going to Berlin for New Years! I'll be seeing from friends from college who either live there now or who are just visiting.  I'm so excited to have my first trip out of Spain and my first New Years outside the US.
Plus, expect an update on the school Christmas concerts in the next few weeks!  It's sure to be a cute-fest.

Tata for Now!