One of the first immediate comments that I have to make is the fact that a change of life in a different country eventually becomes ‘normal.’ Let me expand that. No, of course it’s never completely normal. You can’t as thoroughly express yourself as you would in your native language, there are lots of cultural norms and modes of thinking that continue to escape you, and just turning on the news and hearing the conversations of the streets tells you loud and clear that things are not the same. I remember I used to get all sorts of giddy sensations in my first months here. So many funny details that appear to have no explanation (but of course do), seeing the slightly different road layouts, the way people walk, the use of eye contact, the general assumptions of the average person, it was just unbelievable. Jokes…the tone of voice, the rhythm of the language, what is valued, what goes unvalued, what excels compared to the USA, what lacks compared to the USA…

     It will take me a good while longer, more conversations, historical perspective, and further integration into the country to ‘get it,’ but at the least I would say that the shock, the confusion, the bewilderment has just about passed. Without a necessarily deliberate intention, you take in these daily differences and place them as a part of your own living experience. For me it begs the question of what you are inheriting with these types of experiences. To what extent ought someone integrate and move with the flow of the culture and to what extent should differences be examined and maintained – not because either way is better or worse but because your differences are part of your human construction. Just things swirling around in my mind. Conclusion though: I feel like I am growing into the society more and more here and I feel I fit. It’s cool!

     This first phase of Spanish living really is winding down. The school is wrapping up its school year (just about two weeks remaining) and the same can be said for the house here. We had an end of the year celebration at the school. All of the grades marched out to a big field, carrying flags and banners and accompanied by classical music…the effect was nice. Awards were presented for children with high achievements in academics, character, and English. After that was the students did a demonstration for the upcoming Olympics…very elaborate and cool. Then…English Show! The second grade did “The Wheels on the Bus, the third grade did two dialogues, the fourth grade did an Andel School News & Weather Report, the 6th grade did two presentations, and the 5th grade closed out with Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer.” It was great. The kids loved it, the parents had a lot of fun, and it was a great demonstration of just how much the students can do in English with help and guidance.

     We also had a nice grand BBQ/party at our house over the weekend. We started at about 2 pm and bed time was at around 6 am or so?? Incredible. We had a nice mix of people – majority Spanish, but also an English teaching crew which was cool, a French ex-patriot, and an English lady as well. It was a fitting last hoorah for the gorgeous house we’ve been blessed with. I will miss it very much.

     Not much more to say except that I will most likely be phasing out this blog as well. It’s original intention was to stay with me through the course of the school year and this all initial narrative in Spain seems to fit just perfectly within that time window. Then it’s Galicia, a bit of a stay in the USA, and then back to the USA. So the purpose of this blog will be needless as I will have physical contact with enough of you!


About conorjbyrne3

I have started up this blog in anticipation of my upcoming year-long teaching position in Spain. I want to be able to record the highlights of the experience so that I can share with everyone back home!

2 responses »

  1. This blog has become a part of our lives in Rockaway. Enjoyable and inspiring. We will miss the musings. But then again, you will be sharing your muse and thoughts back here in Rockaway this summer with us. And, of course, I think I recently shared a wee bit of history about who this famous Daniel O’Connell character is — aside from being the Irish Catholic liberator, his family in Kerry were regarded as the last of the great Irish traders with Spain — some called them “smugglers” but that description depends on what side of history you belong.

    See you soon Conor
    — and God Bless


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