After the past few weeks living in Spain, I have realized how different I spend my time. In Spain, people work for about 9 am until 2pm. After working for the morning, siesta begins. In a typical Spain household, everyone comes home for “la comida” (lunch, meal). They eat, talk, and watch “las noticias” (the news) with their family. And yes, as you guess, everyone rests or takes a nice afternoon nap.
When I studied in Sevilla, I experienced this type of siesta with my precious Spanish family. Now living with my 2 fabulous roommates in Spain, it is not much different. Depending on the day I stop working around noon or 2pm, I head home, prepare lunch, and wait for the girls to get home so we can chat it up about our days.
During siesta, I definitely take that nap. If you know me, I love my naps! I take one pretty much every day, even in the States. I pop in my desired movie to fall asleep to and I enjoy my lovely siesta. Oh how I love Spanish culture!
My “fin de semanas” (weekends) are a pretty chill so far. Our first weekend in the “piso,” we went out both nights. On Friday night, we went out with one of my sweet Spain friend, Encarni, who I work with in my school. She showed us the strip where people go out in town, and we caught a Flamenco Concert. Then, we ended our evening at a bar off the beach. Loving the beach!
On Sábado (Saturday), we got ready and spent some time with another Spain friend, Nazareth. We began the evening her “piso”, which lead to going to the “botellon” and the “discoteca” (club). We hung out with her sister, Zaida, who was so sweet to us as well and introduced us to some fun people in town.
I know, I know…what the hell is a “batayon”?! It is a lot by a boat dock where people park their cars and play music loud, dance, and pregame before the “discoteca” and bars open around 2 or 3am. It is pretty insane, but I really liked “botellon”!
After enjoying life until 6 or 7am, we came home and slepppttt forever! Sundays are our lazy, house days. We clean, organize, read, watch movies, lay out on the balcony, or really whatever we feel like since every store is closed. The bars and cafes open around 3 or 4pm, so we go for a walk on the “paseo” (walkway in between the beach and the cafes/bars).
It is a sweet feeling to hear the little kids say “Francis, Francis!” when I’m walking with my roommates on the “paseo.” Most of the families are on the “paseo” as well. The parents are drinking coffee or tea with friends and family, and the kids are playing with their friends. They ride their tricycles, bikes, rollerblade, or play “fútbol” (soccer) in the “paseo.”
This week was my first week at my school, and I loved it! There were some ups and downs with my program and all my paperwork, but God got me through it.
There was another girl placed at my school, and there is only one person from the program at a single school. So if she showed up that first day as well, they were going to have to move me. Why me? Well, apparently they didn’t receive any of my paperwork after accepting the job. So they gave my school position to another person. Basically, it was like a horrible nightmare, and I was awake through all of it.
Here I am, a million miles away from my home, my country, my family, and my friends…and I didn’t technically have a school to work in. After talking to the head of the program, we realized it was miscommunication-I wasn’t getting their emails and they didn’t get my paperwork. Julia, my coordinator at “my school”, was a great support through that first day. She didn’t think the other girl was going to show up, and she wanted me to stay calm and asked me the question that I think made my day… “Do you pray?”
She told me she was going to pray for me. I told her, “of course, I do!” So a million miles away from my home, my family, everything…my sweet God was holding me. It was such an encouraging moment for me…I don’t think I can express how much it meant to me in words.
So, the next day was my orientation for the program. It was a huge day for me. I holding in a million feelings and emotions, but I knew no matter what happened…there was and is a distinct reason the Lord has placed me here, in Spain, in this town, at this specific moment in my life. Knowing that was my constant comfort, and I was ready to get through that day.
The orientation was in another town, Jerez de la Frontera, which was 3.5 hours away. So 6am bus right to Cádiz and a train to Jerez was what we did to get our butts to that meeting. During our coffee break, I talked to 4 different people to solve my situation. The other girl didn’t show up the day before at the school, so as promised I get to stay at the school! I just needed to sign a new contract and send it in the mail back to them. Hopefully, this time it will all arrive since I’m in the same countryJ
During the orientation, we were informed about many things. We learned we needed to get more paperwork together for a NIE card, since we are foreigners and our visas expire in 3 months. We need to get our NIE paperwork in ASAP, because it can take up to 2 months to receive. It is recommended to get it in the first month you are in the new country. Also, we learned some ideas on how to teach English through diverse activities, resources, and tools.
Thankfully, they provided “la comida.” After all the traveling, Haley and I were happy campers about that on the itinerary. We sat with another girl from Texas, and a girl from Ireland! Super exciting to meet some interesting new people! I hope we can travel together in the future, and visit each other!
After the meeting, we journeyed back to our small town. To say the least, we were exhausted!
The next day, Wednesday, I arrived to school to hear about a new situation with me and my program. Julia had received a super early email from the program about how they also wanted me to work 4 additional hours at another school in town. So, at this point, my schedule may change to accommodate both schools and their English schedules. In addition, to my work schedule, I accepted the invitation to tutor students 2 afternoons a week (separate pay-Extra money!).
My last day of work last week was Thursday. I worked from 10am-12noon. Then, I began preparing for my trip to Cádiz to turn in my NIE paperwork.
So we went to Cádiz this weekend, but of course it was a Saint’s Feast day so the office was closed. I check the office hours online, the feast day was not on it ha. But I couldnt think of anything else, but we are in Cádiz…let’s see the town! So we did, and we loved it! We are off work this upcoming Friday and we will try again, oh and it will not be a Feast day...but Wednesday isJ
I have had a pretty busy week, I know! I try to think about the joys in my week though…learning about my students, learning/observing what they need to work on to help them learn easier, building relationships with my coworkers at school, but simply enjoying my time with my students.
Maybe that’s why I’m here, in Spain, in this town, at this specific moment in my life…for that distinct reasonJ