lunes, 21 de enero de 2008

Mi Vuelto a Sevilla

New Year's Resolution #1: To do more blog entries (atleast once a week)!!

Since my last entry I have only traveled to one place but logged quite a bit of plane hours. I traveled back to the good ol' U S of A for the holidays, namely Lawrence, Kansas. It was wonderful to see friends and family but I found myself missing my new "home", Sevilla... I missed seeing my favorite students, I missed my companeras del piso (roomies), I missed the beautiful paseos (walks) and sights of Sevilla and I missed speaking and hearing Andalucian spanish (vale, vale, vale ... ok, ok. ok).

I have fallen back into the swing of things after about two weeks of being here. The weather has been absolutely amazing and orange trees are sprouting up everywhere... it is nearly impossible to walk somewhere without being able to pick an orange off a nearby tree. I still walk down the streets sometimes and think to myself: I actually live here??!!

School is going well... it took me a few days at work to fully understand the students again. When they speak in their rapid Andalucian Spanish sometimes the only thing I pick up on is profe (short for profesora). My bilingual coordinator, Maria Jose has given the three of us (language assistants) a project: to create lessons plans & a book for a full year of 4th year science. Although it is a daunting task, and one I am not quite sure should be done by students fresh out of college, I am glad that we are going to be accomplishing something concrete that they will remember us by.

One of my favorite students is Lucia( I know, I know teachers aren't supposed to have favorites but I can't help it). She is a third grade student in my tercer ano clase de conocimiento de miedo ( third grade science class). She always greets me with a beso (kiss) on the cheek (customary in Spain), and a huge hug while saying "hello Lawrence" (she can't prounce my name correctly). Her dedication and enthusiasm for learning English make me so grateful for this opportunity. Another group of students from one of my classes in which I teach small groups who are at a lower level of English instill those same feelings in me about teaching English. They are so excited each week I come in to teach... Profe, I like oranges. Do you like oranges? Profe, do you like betis or sevilla (the two soccer teams of sevilla)? One boy actually kept giving me high fives and I told him that in the states we "pound it" or "blow it up". He proceeded in teaching me a minute long handshake which I learned and do with a number of kids in my class.

I am now giving six private tutoring lessons a week (three different students twice a week): a 6 year old boy, a 31 year old woman and a 7 year old girl. The little boy Carlos, is adorable and his 3 year old brother, Andres often sits in during classes. I really enjoy giving classes to him and it is also an opportunity to practice my Spanish because his family doesn't speak any English. As is custom in Spain, his mother always offers me a merienda (snack) and something to drink after class while we visit. It is wonderful to have met such a welcoming family (since I never lived with a senora my previous time in Spain) and I look forward to spending more time with them.

Hasta luego (until next time). Besos

sábado, 8 de diciembre de 2007

Our First Trip: Venizia!

Hola a todos. It has been a while since my last entry, alas, we still do not have our own internet. Therefore it has been difficult to publish entries. Although my previous entry said we were going to Milan and Florence, we instead decided to go Venice, the city of canals. We took a plane to Bergamo (which is about an hour bus ride from Milan) on Thursday, and hopped on a train to Venice. When we stepped off of the train, our jaws literally dropped. We found ourselves surrounded by canals filled with water taxis and gondolas located between romantic winding streets. After getting settled in our absolutely amazing apartment, we freshened up and went out to dinner. We decided to check out the nightlife in Venice and after walking for about an hour (it is very easy to get lost ambling down its' narrow windng streets) we found a cute little karoake bar (filled with Venetians singing Venetian and American songs and dogs as well!). I actually fell in love with a little pup (you know me and my love for dogs!!) who had wandered in and was enjoying the atmosphere

The next day we woke up early and went to St. Mark's Cathedral and plaza, at the very top was a wonderful view of Venice, the body of water that all the canals empty into. The plaza was FULL of pigeons, one of my roommate's boyfriend got an amazing picture of us right as a pigeon flew across the screen. We did a little (that is an understatement) shopping, Venice is very well known for their glass and leather. It was amazing because in one store we actually saw a man handmaking the glass jewelry and figurines! After our shopping excursion we decided to take a romantic gondola ride. Five of us girls jumped in a gondola with Gabrielle (our Venetian gondola driver). It was beautiful and muy muy romantica! I also learned how to row, I am now qualified to be a gondola driver (haha). All joking aside, Gabrielle said that it took over a year of training to become qualified.

That night at dinner we met a wonderful French couple (who were in their 70's and didn't speak any English) who decided to befriend us. They were absolutely hilarious and a little drunk (to say the least). We left with their address to visit them in France and 5 red roses (one for each of us girls from Andres- the husband). We set up a lunch date with them the next day (we were to leave at 6 the next day) but they skipped out on us!

At about 6ish we left the beautiful city of Venice and arrived to Milan by train where we saw the Cathedral of Milan and ate a nice little dinner in the center. We caught a bus to Bergamo and waited at the airport for about 5 hours until our flight (which was at 6 am). Not surprisingly, when we arrived to Sevilla Sunday morning we were exhausted but the trip was well worth it!

I will try to be better about writing entries... an entry about our Sevillana thanksgiving is soon to come!!

Besitos a todos,

lunes, 5 de noviembre de 2007

So you all will definitely have to forgive me for the length of time that has transpired between this entry and my last entry ( almost a month!). We have not yet set up internet at our piso so we "steal" internet from upstairs, which means we get internet at various random times throughout the week. Once we set up internet, I promise that entries will be more frequent.

After being here for 6 weeks, I am definitely getting into a routine but I absolutely cannot wait to start seriously traveling. This past weekend Jenny, Samara and I went to a beautiful city on the coast called Cadiz for two days. Upon arrival we initially thought that maybe Cadiz wasn't going to be a beach trip but after waking up to a beautiful warm and sunny day on Saturday, we realized that we were wrong. We spent about 4 hours on a beautiful beach called Playa Victoria, enjoyed montaditos (tiny sandwiches) at a restaurant called Cien Montaditos and returned back to Sevilla Saturday night. This Thursday, Jenny, Samara, Maryanne, John (Maryanne's boyfriend), Liz, Katie and I are traveling to Milan and Venice for an Italian weekend. I can't wait to see the beautiful sights of Milan and Venice, eat some delicious food and hopefully get some good shopping in!

With each day I spend at my school, I am falling more in love with the children. When I arrive at school I am typically greeted by my students and sometimes by students who I don't teach but have heard about me. I have been taking more initiative with the teachers and have had a few opportunities to teach class by myself. On Halloween I carved a pumpkin (which any other pumpkins in the states would put to shame) and taught 5 classes of 4th and 5th graders. I taught them some vocabulary, and while listening to "Monster Mash", we played Bingo (Ghost) or they drew their own Jack'o' Lanterns (or in England, pumpkin lanterns). When I asked some students what I should be for Halloween, they replied "debe ser modela" (you should be a model). I laughed to myself because I knew it was because of my pelo rubio(blond hair). Instead of being a model for the night, I decided to be a 70's mod girl.... above is a picture of Samara, Maryanne and I on Halloween night!

I feel as if I am going to learn the most Spanish from my students because they are constantly approaching me in the courtyard after school ends to talk.... one day I got approached by four of my girl students and we ended up listening to Britney Spears on my ipod for about 15 minutes! And one of my students even lives across the street from me!

I am also falling more and more in love with Sevilla everyday. Alcazar (a palace with Christian, Muslim and Jewish architecture and art) is even more beautiful than I remembered and our neighborhood in the center is wonderfully Spanish. The nightlife is great as well, on my favorite night so far we encountered a traditional "traveling" band called "La Tuna". It is a band comprised of medical students who travel weekly from town to town bar hopping and playing music for those who are at the bars. They originally were created as a means of paying for tuition to med school but now they just do it for fun.

Well I am off to find some materials for class this week but I will update later with some pictures from Milan and Venice. I miss you all mucho and would love to hear from you.

Besitos a todos,


domingo, 7 de octubre de 2007

La vida sevillana

After being here for about 2 weeks, I am finally starting to feel a little less like a guest and more like a Sevillano (citizen of Sevilla). Although my hair is a stark indicator of my foreignness, the population of Sevilla has definitely diversified and maybe (someday) people will actually think I am Sevillano. I think a definite part of that process is getting to know the people of Sevilla. The other night I met a couple who have a little baby who are interested in learning English... I have their number so hopefully my first private tutorial will begin this Thursday. I would absolutely love to get to know a Spanish family... and their baby is que mono (very cute)!

This past friday night Samara, Jenny, Maryanne and I (the roommates) went out for tapas, a traditional Sevillan dinner at a cute little restaurant about 10 minutes from our apartment. Because Sevillans eat huge lunches, they eat tapas, or snacks for dinner. Jenny, my roommate, and I split espinacas (spinach), papas ali oli (potato salad) and pollo al bechamel (chicken in sauce). It was absolutely delicious, we only paid 5 euro each and we made friends with our waiter (Luis).... we all decided that we are definitely going to be regulars at that restaurant!

I will post pictures of our apartment, as soon as we get everything together and it actually looks like a home! Our neighborhood is so Spanish, we are literally the only foreigners and yesterday it was a religious holiday and we watched a paso (parade) pass by from our balcony, which was pretty reminiscient of Semana Santa.

I miss you all greatly girlfriends and I hope you are enjoying reading my blog!

miércoles, 3 de octubre de 2007

Mi Primer Entrada!

Hi Everyone! This is pretty exciting, it is my first entry as a blogger, ever, so it might take me a few entries to get fully accustomed to this. I have been in Sevilla for about a week and a half and am already settled in an apartment with 3 other American girls, 2 of them studied in Sevilla the same semester that I studied (Spring 2006). It is a two bedroom apartment, completely furnished. There seem to be an incredible amount of geckos here, I have already had an incident (my roommate and I cut off a gecko's tail, possibly paralyzed it, and released it back into the wild), and as many of you know I am not the best with little creepy crawlers.

It is soo wonderful to be back in Sevilla, most everything has stayed the same except for the number of tourists have increased exponentially, a new rail system is about to start running and mis chicas de Calle Redes aren't here =(.

Today was my first day at the school where I am teaching, CEIP Sor Angela de la Cruz, escuela primaria. I will be teaching 3-5 year olds (infantil) Tuesdays & Fridays from 9-2 with my bilingual coordinator (my boss) and Wednesdays from 9-11:45 (7-10 year olds). The 7-10 year olds were not very well behaved but were entranced by a rubia extranjera (blond foreigner). I can't wait to make learning English fun and begin this cultural exchange of languages.... I will be learning English as well because British English is taught in the Spanish schools. For example, dodgems is an English word for bumper cars (ahem Tyler, Katrina?).

I haven't met too many Sevillanos (citizens of Sevilla), a few possible intercambios, but we are living in an all Spanish neighborhood so we can't wait to get to know our neighbors. I will keep you updated on my adventures and pictures will come soon.

hasta luego, besitos a todos,