Friday, October 30, 2009
Last night, over a cup of coffee with my friend Blanca, I was absolutely inspired. Blanca said, "Sarah, the world is your classroom! You want to learn spanish? You have a million teachers! Talk with your neighbor, ask your baker how his children are doing, say hello to the fruit-store man."
Yes, of course! What had I been waiting for?
Today, I went to the post-office to pick up the package my mom had sent me from the States (which made my whole week, by the way!), and instead of trying to conceal the fact that I was a foreigner, I struck up a conversation with the man behind me. As soon as he found out I was American, he wanted to tell me everything he could about Spain. I learned a new phrase southerners like to say about their beloved land, "Nunca al norte, Siempre al Sur" (never go north, always go south). It made the 45 minute line at the post office go by a lot quicker...yes 45 minutes...the place is a zoo!
With all these new-found teachers, I'll be bilingual in no time!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
I'll give you a few examples. Yesterday Paula, one of my first-graders, came up to me and told me "Yo puedo cantar una cancion en ingles!"... (I can sing a song in english!). She then proceeded to sing me a "Hannah Montana song": or so she said. The lyrics went something like this, "Bahfweojf a;lsdfjf dlfasdln adfalefji dlkcnhmmmm badeebadooo ballyshaaaakaeioefoif". I mean absolute and utter gibberish. I had to hold back my intense desire to laugh, especially when she asked me to translate what the song meant into spanish.
Today, another one of my first graders, Beatriz, told me (in spanish), "Sarah! Donovan went to sleep in his desk and was dreaming of hot girls!!!" I smiled and nodded.
Janire, perhaps the most talkative child I have ever come across yet also the most precious, looks as if she's about to explode if she thinks of something exciting she wants to share with you. She grasps her hands together and her eyes widen as big as saucers. Upon being asked what is so exciting, it's obviously the most exciting of news. Stuff like, "Sarah!!! MIS PRIMOS SE VAN A QUEDAR EN MI CASA ESTE FIN DE SEMANAAA" (Sarah!!! MY COUSIN'S ARE SPENDING THE NIGHT THIS WEEKEND!!!!)
Then there are the kids that don't have to say anything. Luis, for example, frequently likes to take off whatever article of clothing he finds unnecessary (a shirt for example), ties it on his head, and spins around in the back of the classroom as if his two teachers were blind to him.
I often spot Beatriz half dancing/half mouthing song lyrics to herself at her desk. She always ends it with some gesture of surprise, which suggests to me she doesn't truly realize what she's doing.
And then there are the moments that make every "I'm going to go insane moment" worth it. Today Nora would not let me leave without her giving me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. When I got to school this morning, one of my fourth graders Laura jumped out from out of nowhere and gave me a hug. Not to mention, my day is full of joyful shouts of "Hello Sarah!!!" in the hallways.
I love my job, craziness and all :) In fact, I'd say the craziness suits me.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Monday, October 5, 2009
Thank goodness I have that experience under my belt to know that this is “normal”. The emotions aren’t near as extreme as they were then, but I have definitely felt a bit of loneliness and “out-of-placeness”. The biggest difference between now and then is that now I have the complete assurance that this place is worth every embarrassing language mishap, feeling of awkwardness, and inability to express myself. How are we ever supposed to grow if we never face challenges like these? Every person has his or her challenge that they know they must face, as scary as it may be. But truly, are we meant to live our comfortable lives without ever taking a risk? That, to me, is a much scarier fate.
Have I felt out of place here? Yes. But then, I remind myself I have also been able to witness a completely different way of life, that I might otherwise never have had the chance to know.
Have I stumbled in many a Spanish conversation? Yes. But, had I not attempted, I would not have gotten the chance to know these beautiful people who don’t share my native language.
I hope I can impart this view of challenges to the children I am teaching this year. Who knows what they will have to teach me, as well. Life is beautiful in Spain, every challenge included. At the end of the day, I rest in the fact that I am never alone, even when it appears so: “Y os aseguro que estaré con vosotros siempre, hasta el fin del mundo”—Jesus.