Monthly Archives: January 2012

More post to follow soon…

Standard

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma  which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

If only I could insert an Amy Winehouse song title to kick this off…

Standard

…I simply can’t. But I can say that I have been listening to her like crazy. I’m a total post-humus Amy fan, which gives me a lot of shame at times, but I guess better late than never. I watched a documentary about a visit of hers to Ireland after her ‘Back to Black’ release and she just came across as one of the most charming, adorable, soulful, real humans you could have ever met. Can’t say I have the whole story, but dang is it a shame to lose her. Anyway, she, Adele, and Bruce (cheers for future albums! tears for the lack of Clarence), stand as my music representatives here in Spain outside of the Spanish music I’m trying to consume.

Week 2 was fine! Slightly big changes as my role in the school has evolved a bit. I now exist in Andel to be full-time assistance in the classrooms. This is a change from last year. Although I had cooperated in developing activities with other teachers, my English Assistantship was usually utilized in isolation –  a special event for the students in the assembly room every few weeks. I will now be in the actual classrooms every day to develop English activities with teachers during the reinforcement period. I am happy to hear this as I feel it provides further opportunity for me to develop my professional capacities. Furthermore, how fun! And additional integration into the school! I’ll keep you posted on it.

Madrid hosted its annual ‘Fitur’ these past few days. I was fortunate enough to attend due to free tickets courtesy of my flatmate’s brother – three cheers for connections! The event is a promotion of tourism across the globe. Literally hundreds of countries send representatives to this event, exhibiting food, music, drinks, giveaways, to spark interest in visiting the country. I got a kick out of visiting the United States and Ireland to say, ‘hey, I’m one of your bretheren!’, haha, but a lot of my most memorable visits were in the Middle East. I was able to speak with citizens of Iran and that was just absolutely fascinating…plenty of topics were off the table, but hey what an opportunity to gather and expand perspective. Israel had a really fun upbeat music display and the man leading the band got the crowd involved a lot, drawing in children to play instruments – really funny. Fitur was awesome.

Other than that, I am spending my time to concoct my short-term and long-term life plans. Oh how I love it here in Spain, I just need a somewhat strong reason to stay…(like love).

And…we’re back.

Standard

I have returned to Spain with a good deal of healthy illusion. My battery is recharged so to speak and I am ready to take on the world. The three weeks in America helped me to ground my identity, my roots, and understand how to bridge these two so very different worlds of mine.

I had thought that the first week back was going to be a difficult adjustment, but it was just the opposite…so very different from September. There was no culture shock, returning to Spanish wasn’t particularly stressful or embarrassing (though it does take quite the mental effort sometimes), and it was satisfying and comforting to return to a work schedule. The break was beyond words excellent, especially to spend time with the most important people that are in my life, but one tends to become a little lethargic and lazy after a while, eh? The routine I have here keeps  me moving and doing and I like that a lot. The kids seemed happy and excited to see me return and it’s a great feeling to be around their energy. I love them! The teachers have been so, so friendly and my relationships with them are definitely crescendoing — we speak in Spanish now which has removed any discomfort they may have had in talking to me before and interactions are growing more natural. We all laugh a lot at Andel. I am very blessed. This week I will start up my private classes again and I am slightly nervous about this, only as they stretch my working hours out quite a lot. I start at 9 AM and between walking to different houses and using the public transportation I will often not return home until 9 PM! I am considering taking one week a month off from the private classes to keep me sane and charged up with energy. We’ll see. The advantage of having those classes, from a teaching perspective, is that I have total creative control and that’s a really excellent and fun feeling.

In general I feel that I returned to a home. My heart is in Rockaway with my family, but I can’t say that Arroyomolinos is strange to me. I discovered the value of community only a few years back, possibly as a result from my first trip to Spain, and it’s importance has never left me. My first few months in Spain were about observing what community meant to this country and culture and now that I have a better idea of what that is, it’s my objective to immerse myself and be a member of the community as much as possible. It’s excellent for the person (why be isolated?) and I feel that it is an obligation that we all owe one another.

I am called ‘Carlos’ here in Arroyomolinos. Conor is very difficult to pronounce interestingly enough, so some of the locals have opted to call me by that name. I like it very much, A) because it’s funny and B) because I receive that gesture as an indication of my welcome into the community. It’s almost like a second identity or a ticket into just being one of the people here without having to carry the gift and burden of being the foreigner 24/7.

We’re taking things as they come, day by day, but I feel empowered to take on 2012 in Spain. That’s all for now, you’ll hear from me in a week folks! Feliz Año Nuevo!