Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Everything a Girl Needs...

I feel like I blogged yesterday about how I started off 2012, but now it’s the end of February!! Time flies when you are loving life that is for sure. This month I have continued my private lessons, celebrated Valentine’s Day with my third graders, gotten close to my “vecinos” (neighbors), I have experienced Carnaval in Spain, and had a few health issues.
I love holidays, big or small, I just love celebrating life with people I share it with daily. I feel  that things deserve to be celebrated and shown some appreciation every once and a while. This month, of course, was Valentine’s Day. To be honest, I knew most people think it’s a commercial holiday, but I truly think those people may be thinking about it differently. Yes, there are lots of gifts, chocolate, cards, flowers, dinners etc. Yes, people may be obligated to do these things, and that is exactly why those people think its commercial. It is not an obligation to show love and appreciation to your loved ones. This act of love and kindness should and needs to be done regularly, and when I say regularly I mean daily. No one should just know on their birthday or a holiday that they are loved, but life is about enjoying everything even the days that surprisingly bring people closer. Valentine’s Day is one of those days, if you want to look at it in a more positive way.
Growing up, Valentine’s Day has always been a positive day in my life. It is a day full of sweet little bags stuffed with friendly valentine cards and candies to class parties and fun gifts and love from family and friends. So, on Valentine’s Day, I presented a little powerpoint on the importance of Saint Valentine’s Day in different parts of the world. Sadly, Spain does not really celebrate Valentine’s Day. After the powerpoint, I played a love song that definitely stirred up the classroom and we played the “Yarn Game.”
This “yarn game” is just a little something I learned from Raider Sisters for Christ (Christian sorority at Texas Tech University). As much as I do miss Tech and my sisters, I love how I have learned so much from them that I use it now in my daily life. To play, we passed the yarn around to all our friends and said why we appreciated them. So the kids said things like, “you are nice” or “you are kind” or “you are pretty/handsome” etc. At the end, we were all connected and wrapped up in “love” for Valentine’s Day! (of course, Encarni and I were in on it too!)

Also, I made some “mariposas” (butterflies) for my 25 valentines! Here is how they turned out! In Spain, the kids love Chupa Chupas, especially my students! I sure do miss a good baby lollipop that you can have in every fruit flavor and especially when you go to Visible ChangesJ

Carnaval (Carnival) rolled around as well this month. Our “amigos espanoles” (Spanish friends) are in a “charigota” (similar to a small male choir that sings “carnaval” songs”). So, we have been to a few “ensayos” (practices) and their street shows to watch them sing during this festive time. This year they dressed up as Tortugas to go along with their songs about Tortugas and being under the sea. Carnaval songs are made up songs based on a specific theme, and the every Charigota sings about some completely different.  The Charigotas sing in streets and in competitions as well. While they are singing, the audience is probably drinking as they listen. It’s a huge party! Also, people dress up for Carnaval, and by dress up they make their own costumes. They are very creative at that!! It is all very different, interesting, and fun at the same time. I was definitely very cultural this month, which is always a good thing.
Check out some interesting costumes in Cadiz for Carnaval that we got to see!
Friends at Carnaval in Cadiz!

We were geishas!

Also, I celebrated Carnaval in my school. The young students in the 3 year old, 4 year old, and 5 year old classes all dressed up as ladybugs to march in the Town Parade! The moms even joined in, which was so cute! The morning of the parade, I dressed up as a cheetah and headed down to my “vecinos” to paint the kids’ faces like a ladybugJ Their faces weren’t perfect, but those kids were stinking cute for sure! Then, on the way to school, we stopped at the kiosk called the Diario and I helped paint a few more sweet babies’ faces! Please look at how precious my students are and how much fun they had marched in the parade for Carnaval! Every Primary school participated in the town parade, and the 1st-4th grade students got to watch the parade on the sidewalks! I was helping Encarni with supervising the 3rd graders on the sidewalk.
Sweet ladybug

Let's roll!

Some of the girls in 3rd grade

My sweet 1st grade/private lesson boys

Waiting for the parade!
It was a blast and something new for me! The schools really get creative for this parade! It was great to see so much school and town spiritJ
So yes, this month has been busy with festivals and teaching. You would think how else would I really have time for anything else. Well, I actually had another unique experience this month. Through all of Carnaval and teaching, I had a cyst erupt in my ovary. It was quite painful, and I am happy to say that after almost a month of it occuring… my ovary is back to normal and inflammation and liquid free!! Also, this month the doctor think I have a kidney stone. With both of these medical issues, you really just have to wait it out and take lots of pain medicine and drink a lot of water. I went through lots of pain pills and 4 rounds of injections for the pain. Basically, I went through a lot of new experiences this month-good and unfortunate.  Life always is going to throw you anything and everything, but life is not about the good and the bad. Life is about how you handle the good and the bad, and that shows the type of person you are.
Through this month and now as I think back on it all, I still can see how God worked through it all- in small ways and in big ways. I’m very blessed to have a loving mom and dad, true friends, my landlords here,  my sweet nieghbors, and my school. They all gave me what I needed when I needed it, whether it was talking to me, driving me to an appointment in another town, giving me time off, cooking for me after school, lots of hugs for my kids, and sweet encouraging messages.
As of now, I just got back from visiting Kristin ( a friend from Tech who is teaching in Spain as well) in JAEN!! This week is a long break due to some Spanish holidays and some province holidays as well. So, especially since I haven’t been feeling my best and I have been waiting for a long break to go visit her- This girl needed a nice relaxing, fun girls trip!
In Jaen, we walked the town and been to some great places! The girls took me to some great local bars and tapa restaurants. Some of these tapa places have been there since the 20s!! It was so neat to be in some historical places that were still running!! The food has been great and so rich! Something new that I learned was that Jaen grows olive trees, so they are very well known for olive oil and olives. It was fun to have some girl nights on the town, lay around at the park, eat at some great authentic places, and see some great historical sites (like the Cathedral, the Castillo de Santa Catalina, the famous lizard fountain, and the Arab baths). Also, we went to a couple of neighboring towns, Baeza and Ubeda, to do more sightseeing!

I have really enjoyed the trip, and can’t wait to see more great towns with fabulous character!
Until next month, adios!

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