Monday, October 11, 2010

Estonians, people hailing from London, a bloody irishman, and american mutts....

Well, life in the Principality continues to pop along quite nicely and excitingly. Changing trees, low-lying clouds, ridiculous children, wonderful visits, and a visitor-induced run! :-) That is the sparknotes but if you only read that you would probably fail my quizzes. My experience so far as a teacher is that students fail quizzes even when they are open note and are about #s when they are in the 3rd or 4th year of English... anyway, that's another story.

 Allison, Dave and I at the llac.

Last Monday, with my little hellions, went a lot better than expected and were actually pretty darn good. They were in way better behavior mode than the week before and so we got through it. We learned music and theatre vocab, listened to music and botched a bit of critical reading. So, unfortunately for my 4th year C class-about 10th grade, they are my first class, Monday morning. A) Monday mornings inevitably suck and weekend hangover is rough. B) they are my first guinea pigs for my new lesson. Let me remind you that this is my first year teaching so... things don't always happen like I imagine them going to. Anyway, so, that poor kids kinda get a rough deal but luckily for me they are overall great kids who mostly want to learn English so that makes my life easier. Tuesday through Friday happened. Really, not all that much to report here but... it was aight.... Wednesday afternoon the school informed me that I had to be there for an hour I didn't expect. In the end, I actually didn't really have to be there and really it was mostly a waste of time and a stress inducer because I was supposed to meet two girls for tutoring at 5 pm before another kid at 6:30. In the end, I was late to just about everything meaning I refused to charge the one lady my full price cause I was 45 minutes late... beh, any it was mostly just frustrating cause it was unexpected. Oh, Tuesday I was told that I needed to be ready for a new class on Wednesday with the english students. Luckily I knew about this already but just had no idea when it started. We only had 1 kid come last week because most didn't know it was happening yet but... whatever, it worked out great. The kid who did come is a great kid so that worked out well. After the bewildering late feeling day, I then had to go back to encamp (it's about 1 hour from where I tutor to where I teach in Encamp...) for parent-teacher conference. Thank God that as a student, I was convinced (and may have been right there) that my teachers knew me personally so well. I'm just going to say that with 130+ students, I only know both english and catalan plus last names for a few and they are either the best-behaved or the very worst behaved! haha... so, anyway, it went overall fairly well. Thursday night was excellent fun because I went to a new choir which I think I mentioned I was joining. It felt really good to be in an adult choir with people who really know what they are doing again... refreshing.
Okay, Friday was good because, it's Friday... what could possibly be bad??? 4 realz though... it was a solid day, did a bunch of shopping stuff, did not eat at school because it was rice with seafood stuff and I decided that a baguette would do just fine by me.... I managed to tick off a bunch of errands overall last week including finally becoming a legal resident (thank you uncle Dave for all that funkiness), and then pursuing to start a little savings account here so that I can try to make sure I don't just spend money considering however slim the salary here is, it is significantly larger than anything I have ever had on a long-term basis! Friday night was a potluck dinner at a teacher's house with all the other fulbrighters too. After about 1/2 an hour of trying to be my normal outgoing self, I retreated after much failure. Luckily, once more alcohol flowed and food occured, people were friendlier and we all had a great time. This is for you Matt Steen and co.-the man who "can sell a ketchup Popsicle to an old lady" failed totally and completely with the teacher get-together....
Saturday Allison and her friend (and now my new friend! :-) came at around 2:30. I slept late and even got to talk to my dear sister before they got here! :-). What a true blessing to have my 2nd round of visitors here.... how super cool is that?! We had lunch together at the apt. before heading out for a walk through the town, crowned by coffee (stressful, I know). then we went hiking up to llac (no, that is really how lake is spelled-french people should recognize that) Engolasters which is part of a UNESCO world heritage site here in Andorra. It wasn't a long hike but I won't lie, I was huffing and puffing pretty darn good! We hitchhiked our way back to town (the dude dropped us almost right at our door!) and then got Portuguese chicken. If I haven't told you already about Portuguese chicken, I apologize. This is probably-wait, no, definitely-the best chicken I have ever had in my entire life and probably just about the cheapest food you can get in andorra. An entire chicken costs 9 euors. In fact though, no matter what when I have left there, I have paid 8 euros with a beer, fries and rice included with that cost and full! me... full!?!?!?!?! it's awesome! :-) So, we had deliciousness then went out dancing at the one club that we have ventured to in Andorra-latin club so lots of salsa and other cool dances that I just fake to have fun.
Sunday was another excellent day albeit a short night's sleep beforehand. Allison kindly accompanied me to church that happens once a month and it was FANTASTIC. Allison made all sorts of random coincidence connections with this one family there which is awesome cause it shows you how small this world is. The rest of the day revolved around eating-leftovers with Robert, a neighbor from across the street and actually an ex-fulbrighter-and his boyfriend. Then, we went to a cafe to plot dinner-an extravaganza that was delicious beyond all means. Then we went to the store to get all the foods, things necessary for our dinner. We had breakfast for dinner. :-) For 12 or so people! :-) We had hashbrowns-yes, detail is needed-with green pepper, red pepper, onions and enough butter to fill my arteries until I'm 50. then we had scrambled eggs with many of the same ingredients that were fabulous. That's it... JUST KIDDING!, we also had pancakes... what kind of pancakes do you ask? oh, pancake choices with apples, mulberries, strawberries, whipped cream, chocolate chip pancakes, banana-filled pancakes, simple maple syrup with butter or I guess, you could of just ahd them plain! It was a scrumptious feast. This is where the Estonians come in. Our friend Will-the bloody Irishman as I normally call him-is a proud member of couchsurfing and had 4 estonians staying with him this weekend so they came along. so there were the 4 of us who live here, ALlison and dave, the 4 estonians, Robert, and the bloody irishman which I believe makes 12. Unfortunately the 5th current fulbrighter couldn't make it due to previous dinner engagement. It was overall a pretty nuts time filled with food, tea, estonians drinking absynth like it was coke, and a lot of laughs. They proved to be wonderful guests and although cleaning up all the dishes and general kitchen mess sucked it was TOTALLY worth it. At one point in the dinner, I looked around and thought how cool it was that a dear friend from college of mine, one of her best friends, 3 new fulbright friends, 4 random estonians, a kid from Arkansas, and a bloody irishman were all able to connect so well over food, and fellowship. pretty darn cool, eh? Pretty lucky lives we get to leave!
Today, the show started again, but Monday and Tuesday are half days because half of Spain invades to shop because it's a holiday over there-thank you Spain.
This week is theoretically going to be "normal" and with a "normal" weekend. Also, I was proud of myself, I managed to resist getting involved with a 3rd choir! :-) I was so proud of myself....
Peace and Love from the Principality
PS-for those who believe understandably that I never exercise unless it's a sport. I ran-because my visitors wnated to and therefore I had reason to go (to talk) and we ran for 30 minutes. Thank goodness I got that over with for the next couple months... I proved my legs can still move for that long so now it's time to vegetate until I have to prove myself again. One day I will fail this test... then I have no idea how I'll react!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Mark! what an adventure! I will live vicariously through your journey. Thanks for sharing and may blessings abound for you.

    Cousin Lindsay