November 27th. Can you believe it?
I certainly find it hard to believe that I have been here nearly 3 months! Somedays it feels like I have been here for years and other days I feel like I just got here... strange, right? The last two weeks have been blissfully quiet, and low-key, and relatively cheap! :-) Right after I blogged last time, I went with Antonio to a Barcelona versus Villareal game at the Nou Camp and it was AMAZING. Seeing as I don't really follow la liga, I can't personally vouch for this but we were told it was one of the best games, and certainly I thought it was action-packed. For all those who don't like football because lack of goals (Mark Henjum-i'm looking at you.... :-) the score was 3-1 for Barcelona with Messi getting a brace. Great time. We just went down for the day, leaving at 1:15 from here for the game at 22 hours and then spent the night at a hostel before returning to the Great Principality the next evening.
I spent good chunks of time that weekend and the following working on grades which was... uninspiring to say the least but, it had to be done! In my 3rd years, I have 16 kids failing, and 16 kids who are squeaking by with 50s, but there are only a few who are also failing participation so that's good. My fourth years are doing well though, for the most part, I think it's because their quiz was a lot easier. I know this may sound cruel but I got a lot of satisfaction from giving my troublemaker kids because it sobered them up a lot. A number of them, I think, thought my joke was a complete joke, they didn't think it would really count and therefore were just screwing around but now they realize it means something, they were fairly good last week. Oh, also since my last post I had my first/second outbreak as a teacher. One of my classes is particularly whiny and they were complaining about everything including my class, teachers etc. so I just laid out on them and told them the truth: that they are SUPER lucky cause their school conditions are baller, and I didn't let them talk at all while I was talking. That also seemed to sober them up. Lector Marco getting worked up wasn't something they had really seen and I don't think they were big fans, haha. The last two weeks in general have seemed to be going well. I have a few kids who have told me that they are enjoying class, a few who have been pretty bad seem to be MAYBE starting to turn the corner and be less irritating, and a few who probably will always be thorns for whatever reason but I think slowly but surely I am getting better and dealing with those situations. I am confident that I have a ton more mistakes to make and will continue to have issues but it feels good to have a few good times. Last Monday, our school went to a domestic violence awareness theatre thing and let me just tell you, field trips with jr./sr. high kids SOUND a lot more relaxing than they actually are... whewww... but, we only had one kid manage to escape and he ended up being fine, he just went home. Let's just say that 50 teenagers on a bus is a dangerous for the general public.... Good thing about it though, didn't have to teach my two toughest kids AND got out 1/2 early. Suhweet! :-)
Last weekend I was also lucky enough to get some free skis, poles, and boots from a lady at the protestant church that is held once a month. Her name is Clare and she has been very friendly and helpful since the first time I met her. Still waiting to hear about her and her husbands' drive from Singapore to London... Epic sounding, right? Or, her journey across Ireland with the family in a horse-drawn wagon... yah, that's right. Anyway, it was super generous, cause it turns out that my feet are the exact same size so they fit, are nice and old and beaten up minimizing the damage I'll do to them... Also, Antonio, kinda Thongdam, and I all watched Get him to the Greek which is really quite a funny movie and we also went to Pas de la Casa, just to do it. random fact, you have to go through France to get to Pas de la Casa... funny, eh? Oh, one other thing, learned via Antonio, how to save youtube songs onto my computer. nice! :-)
This weekend so far has been nice and chill. Football practice was really excellent yesterday despite it being -3/-4, I finally felt like I played well, probably only the 2nd time that I've actually played well. I found out that one of the centerbacks on our team was on the Porto kids team when he was young before leaving Portugal. Sweet, eh? which explains why he is probs. the best player on our team. anyway, I was happy. Also, after practice I went with Dani, Piedro, and the younger guy whose name I always forget... oops! and went to the normal portuguese "perv" bar-yah, that's what they're called and met up with Dani's wife, the younger guy's gf/wife, and another dude and played cards. I learned a game they call subir y bajar or rise and fall. it is really strange, and has funky rules but actually really fun too. I got home round 2ish-the other dudes work at 7 am, crazy, right? and then talked to Jez on g-phone for 45 minutes or so which was excellent. Oh yah, yesterday afternoon I did the vitally important task of selecting my best sunset/sunrise photos from the past (since I got a digital camera and a couple that I scanned) and making a folder for them. I've been meaning to update that since 2007, but just have never done it. Next on that list, I want to make one for my pictures of crosses.... stay tuned! haha.
Today, was a relaxing day with the main day-time activity being going to English mass in Ordino which was nice. Me and 80+ year olds plus a random American 40-50 year old I'd guess but didn't get a chance to talk to her. Quote of the day, "the Democratic State of Congo, I remember when I motored through it in... oh, let me see, 1949". yes, awesomeness for old British people who have done AMAZING things. I hope I have half as many cool things to talk about when I'm their age! coolio. Then, came back home, watched Arsenal pull out a nervy win over a spirited Aston Villa. Then, at 4 pm, Antonio and I headed out to Canillo to watch the Chinese Imperial Circus perform-on ice. It was pretty sweet, and albeit expensive, it was probably worth it. My highlight. four dudes doing synchronized worms over a giant jump rope held by two other dudes. yah, awesome. another highlight: in one "scene" there were these huge hula hoop kinda things being swung by two dudes and four girls were getting swung by their necks... crazy, right? simultaneous to the hula hoop thingies were three dudes in a giant hamster ball looking dealio. I realize that these descriptions mean nothing to you but... believe me when I say it was cool. Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera so no proof.
Tomorrow, I should go back out to Ordino to help the English community that is helping/putting on a fair and they need volunteers. I think I'll try to go out around 10:30 for a couple hours until 1:00 or so cause Clare told me that's when they need the most people. Then, I am going to try to get lesson planning done both for tutoring but also for the week of December 5th or so because next week on Wednesday we are hosting 3 fulbrighters from Madrid which will be awesome but since they'll be here for a week, I know more than to expect myself to get much work done. Those are my main goals, and yes, I do have a simple life... I know! My aim is also to shake whatever has been dogging me the last couple days, I am not sick I don't really think but I am not completely well either, I don't know what it is but something is keeping me from feeling fully healthy.
Thanksgiving-only really a big holiday in the US and Canada although I have discovered a few other places do celebrate it a bit. Ergo, I had to work Thanksgiving along with everyone else in europe. I did get chocolates for the teachers though in order to celebrate it in some way and when you throw After 10 mints, everyone loves American-only holidays! haha. To celebrate we had Pizza Hut pizza, fancy, right? haha Monday though, is our actual, big party and it should be good. We are having cocktails, dinner, some speeches and drinks etc. The US ambassador from Spain is coming and along with various government people here, it should be a good time. Unfortunately it runs into the "El Classico" game which is Barcelona vs. Madrid so that is kind of unfortunate but... it is one of the costs.
Okay, I think that's all I really have to report from the Principality. I am currently trapped here because my passport is in Spain theoretically getting itself an Indian visa for X-mas so I'm just waiting for that to come back but I don't expect to really go anywhere big before X-mas although I MAY go to Barcelona next to see my cousins who are coming into Barcelona for just over 24 hours on a cruise. it'll probs. depend on whether I get my passport back in time, I'm supposed to but... you can never be totally sure. Oh, before I forget, another thing I did yesterday is load any videos that could possibly be of any interest to anyone, and plenty that won't be to anyone... haha, to my youtube channel I started two years ago and never have done anything with. my channel address is: http://www.youtube.com/user/CKWF#p/u . or you can type google congokidandorra youtube. Anyway, there really isn't much that is interesting there but, I will try to get better at updating it with videos of places I go but probs. will keep people limited just for privacy sake. I hope everyone is doing splendidly and if any of you find yourselves 'motoring' through Andorra, please stop by... hehe.
Peace and Love from the Principality!