I'm keeping an account of all of my experiences while here in Spain. Scroll down to start reading, or click here to read about me and some background info on my trip. Contact me here.
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I didn’t sleep in nearly as much as I wanted to; I woke up at 9, which is one hour later than I usually wake up. I did relax though, caught up on some TV shows and read material for my two online classes. At around 6:30, Jorge came and picked me up and took me out on the town. I didn’t really see anything new, but it was still nice being out and around Salamanca.
We then went to the mall in Santa Marta, El Tormes and saw a movie called Luces Rojas (Red Lights). It was with Cillian Murphy and Robert DeNiro and of course, in Spanish. I followed along pretty well, and the parts I got lost in, I would have probably have gotten lost even if the movie was in English.
Overall, I had a pretty good night. I’m glad I’m finally making more friends here in Salamanca, even if I only have a month left.
Silvia is incredibly talented. Not only has she played the oboe for 10 (i think) years, but she is an amazing artist. Here is some of her artwork.
IT’S FRIDAY! I feel so exhausted, and I haven’t gotten to sleep in late in well over a month. I’m so happy that I don’t have any early plans tomorrow morning, and I don’t plan on getting out of bed until about 2 PM.
I had a very relaxed day at school, only two English classes and one science. Today I went outside for the first time during recess, and played with the kids. I don’t know why I hadn’t sooner, it was really great interacting and playing with them outside of class.
After school, I met up with Gaby in Salamanca, but not before missing my bus stop and having to walk 20 minutes to our meeting point. She took me to this pretty cool museum that I really enjoyed (pictures in a separate post). We left to go get tapas, and I had the spanish tortilla (it has really grown on me). Gaby and I had a beautiful discussion about how there should be no other purpose in life but to eat and sleep. I think I might have found my soulmate guys! We then bought a whole bunch of churros that we couldn’t finish but were still delicious. Afterwards we went to an arcade sort of place, where I learned that I am terrible at pool, and Gaby is even worse at DDR. The whole night was a nice break from school and life, and I really hope that I get to hang out with her more before I leave.
Today I had English with 5th grade, then P.E. with 4th, 2nd, and 1st grades. The 5th grade English teacher is named Isabel, and it’s a shame that I only teach one class with her, because she is extremely fun to be around. Also, have I mentioned how much I like teaching English? I think its because I get to focus more time on working on the differences between English and Spanish sentence structure, and pronunciation. When I teach science, I only have time to teach the science material, and I can’t really take my time helping the students construct their sentences, so they end up repeating mistakes.
After school Jorge and I went back to the school to work on the Cha Cha Slide with Elena. They both got it pretty quickly, so I hope the students do as well. It was pretty funny how Elena couldn’t really understand what was being said in the song until I put the lyrics on the screen. She kept saying: “Why does he say again like ‘AGIIIIN’” I realized I have to pronounce my words completely, or the way it might appear to a foreigner on paper for them to understand sometimes.
My Brazilian friend Gaby and I have plans for tomorrow, Jorge and I are going out on Saturday, and I am having dinner with a teacher’s family Sunday. I can’t wait til the weekend!
Today was back to school. I had English class with grades 1, 2, and 6. I have to admit that the second graders are my favorites. Not only do they have that right amount of kid-cuteness, but they are my most eager learners. My sixth graders are at that stage where a lot of them feel like they are above learning what I am teaching, and prefer to spend class chatting and causing a ruckus. What can you do.
During recess, I sat with the P.E. teacher Elena, and we started planning an event for the last day of classes before spring break. We’re doing a field day type of event, complete with relay races, tug of war, egg races, etc. I’m really excited, I think it will be a great way to spend my last day with all of my kids. I am also teaching them all the Cha Cha Slide so… should be fun!
After school Ana, Jesus, Pablo and I took a trip to Valladolid to go to….. Ikea. Yep, the furniture store. It was the typical Ikea trip, a few hours in the showrooms, and a few more downstairs trying to decide which cheap of furniture is more necessary than the other. We then had dinner in the Ikea restaurant with Ana’s friends who live in Valladolid. It was overall a pretty good time.
I stayed home from school today because I wasn’t feeling well. This was my day: I basically slept, ate, slept some more, and played a little guitar. I know, extremely boring. Tomorrow will be better, I promise.
I can’t believe so much time has gone by. My trip is almost two thirds over, but I still don’t feel like I’ve been away that long. I’ve started to get pretty homesick though, so I am kind of excited that soon I’ll be on my way home to see my mother, family, friends, and yes, Miami and Orlando. (Isn’t it crazy that I’m in such a beautiful country and I still miss the streets of Miami??)
Today I had three P.E. classes and three preschool classes. The preschoolers were unbearable as usual, but its really hard to get upset at children that cute. It does take a lot of patience to be a preschool teacher though, so they all have my utmost respect. A new intern/practice teacher person like myself started at our school today, and I was immediately territorial. I’M supposed to be the only guest teacher, no one else should be stealing my shine. (Haha just kidding) But anyway his name was Jorge, and he’s a student at the University of Salamanca studying to become a P.E. teacher. He was pretty nice, and of course Elena (the regular P.E. teacher) immediately made plans for us to go out one weekend. I hope we get to, I have yet to experience Salamanca’s famous partying scene that lasts until 8 the next morning. Til next time…
Starting tomorrow, I will be back to daily blogging. I was trying to find time to catch up write about all of the places I’ve been visiting (Zamora, Rome, Naples, Leon), but apparently I’m never going to have time. If you want to know anything about the past couple of weeks, feel free to ask me.
In other news, I’ve started to plan my mini Eurotrip for myy last week in Spain. It will be during Holy Week, and is like Spain’s spring break. So far I’m thinking Barcelona-Paris-Brussels-Amsterdam-Luxembourg, or Paris-London-Amsterdam-Berlin. I only have four weeks to plan, so I kind of have to decide pretty quickly.
I spent most of Sunday exploring Rome, seeing the ruins and other important monuments. Ill write about them in a separate post.
After such a wonderful day, I was ready to go home, get freshened up and take it easy. I was walking down the sidewalk, minding my own business, when an Italian man just strolled up right next to me and started a conversation. He introduced himself as Antonio, and he was a journalist. He asked what I was doing, where I was going, how I liked Rome so far. He spoke near perfect English and had such and Italian charm that I couldn’t help but enjoy his presence, as random as it was. (He was also very handsome, so that didn’t hurt.) I told him I was headed home, when he offered to give me a mini tour. He took me to the Spanish steps, one of the sights I had not yet seen, and then less visited sites like designer Valentino’s first office, and a beautiful hidden garden. The entire time we talked about our lives, our interests, places we wanted to see and things we wanted to do. We ended up spending several hours together, and it honestly became one of the highlights of my trip.
Around 7:30, Antonio walked me back to the Termini, the bus and train station near my hotel, and asked me out to dinner. For reasons that I will never understand, I said no. Then, he asked to meet me back the next day at 5 PM, to continue our tour and possibly go out to dinner. I wanted to say yes so badly, but I started to tell him I had plans to.spend the day at the Vatican. I think he thought I just trying to get rid of him, because he looked resigned and said what is probably the saddest goodbye I have and probably ever will hear.
"So Dominique, is this Ciao forever?"
I said I think so.
"Ok then, Ciao bella."
He walked away and I was left holding pieces of my heart. I know that sounds a bit dramatic, but I really was heartbroken. I wanted to say “Wait! This doesn’t have to be Ciao forever”, but since this isn’t a movie, that never happened. In the end, I’m glad we went our separate ways when we did, I think it will make a beautiful story to tell my children.
Today is Saturday, February 18th and I am in Rome, Italy! Six of the other girls in Spain and I decided to come visit since we have a four day weekend, and I am so excited to see all the ancient architecture and the Vatican and other things Ive only ever read about. We arrive in Rome at about noon, and all go out to eat lunch. Of course, we all order either pasta or pizza. I had a calzone that was about the side of my head, but I ate the entire thing, it was so delicious. After, I broke off from the rest of the group to see the National Roman Museum.
I don’t like modern art much, so seeing all of the ancient sculptures and mosaics in the National museum really blew me away. There were huge sculptures and tiny sculptures, simple and really intricate mosaics, and all of them were equally impressive. I must have taken a picture of every piece in that museum. Later, I visited a few historical churches, where I got to see works of art by legendary artists like Bernini. I’m still in awe that I was able to see and touch pieces I’ve read about in art history classes. I went home to rest for a few minutes, showered and headed right back out.
On my second mini tour around, I decided to leave the map at home and see what treasures I would stumble upon. I saw the Piazza Navona, a beautiful plaza just minutes from where I was staying, the Fountain of Tritone, and the amazing Trevi Fountain. These are all places I would have seen anyway, but stumbling upon them accidentally made it so much more rewarding. I cant even described how I felt when I turned a corner and found myself standing in front of the Trevi Fountain. I had to stop and catch by breath, because it was that beautiful.
So all in all I had a great first day in Rome and I was so ready to plan out my Tuesday. Several observations - there are a TON of black people in Rome, way more than Ive seen anywhere in Spain. I was a bit surprised because Spain is right above Africa, whereas Italy is further away. And also, apparently Italian men love me. I got more “Ciao bella!s” then I could count walking around, and more than once, people driving pulled over their cars to introduce themselves and talk. One man even said “All my life I’ve waited for a beautiful black woman like you.” All the attention was a little strange, but they all came off more genuine than stalker-like, and I was glad for any opportunity to talk to natives.
The beauuuutiful Trevi Fountain
Fontana de Tritone, by Bernini
My charger to my laptop is broken, so I havent been able to get on and post whats been going on, which sucks because I have so much I want to share! Im going to try and order one soon, but for now, just now that I am still alive and loving Spain.