Madrid is beautiful

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first week of school

This week has been really great! I’ve gotten a lot done and I’m having a great time at school! My private classes are going great, and I couldn’t ask for better students!

In one of my classes we had a special guest…. Nino the hampster!

(note: the Barbie doll in the background is named after me!!)

This same class was full of laughs! My student was writing questions and she forgot some question marks at the end. I asked her “What goes at the end of a question?” This is what she wrote.

“It’s crying!” And then I starting crying… from laughing so hard! She is soooo cute.

I’ve been working with 2nd, 5th, and 6th graders so far. It’s a big difference in ages, but it works. With the 2nd graders I am singing and goofing around with them a lot, and with the older kids I can actually have some decent conversations. Having both keeps me sane I think!

Once I clean up the aftermath of my IKEA trip (cardboard boxes and an old dresser are hanging out in my living area), I will give you guys a tour of my apartment. It’s really cozy and I’ve really enjoyed living here. My neighbor is really cool and my landlord is awesome! So far it’s been perfect!

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Bruges, part two! more photos

We went on a boat ride!! That is one of my favorite shots from the 30 minutes of bliss. I love the brick with the red door!

The red and green ivy is gorgeous! I’ve taken a bajillion photos of it so far. Not ashamed!

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Bruges

Today I arrived in Bruges. The city is beautiful!! Getting here is usually pretty easy, but of course I had some issues.

First, we flew into Brussels. From Brussels you must take a train to Bruges. My dad got the tickets and said that our train would leave in 5 minutes so we hurried to the platform. We get to the train after hearing a whistle and I get on the train first. That seems pretty easy, right? WRONG. I get on the train and the doors close immediately after me and my dad and step-mom are left on the platform… with my ticket. Sooo I was on a train, in Brussels, without my train ticket, and also without my parents (duh). So I did what any smart girl would do… hope that the nice-looking mom and daughter next to me spoke English. I’m lucky because they did! They helped me out and they were actually going to Bruges as well. I didn’t know where to meet my parents as we went through many train stations, so I decided to meet them in Bruges. Good thing I had my Spanish SIM with me, because otherwise I wouldn’t have had a way to call my dad.

It all went alright, but it was a bit stressful at first! This city is gorgeous! Check out some photos!

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This is quite possibly one of the best blog posts that I have ever read. It’s about the author’s hilarious experiences in a German class. Teachers and students alike will enjoy this one! 🙂 I can really see myself (and some of my students) in this… creativity is a must when learning a new language. Enjoy!

“Unfortunately, Pants”

ready for a nice laugh?

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what is a classroom?

 

This Kaplan University commercial made me think! This idea is very similar to my philosophy on teaching. I try my hardest to “trick” my students into learning without even knowing it. We play with Barbies, we bake cakes, we talk about famous teen stars… anything! I do everything in my power to make them use English and have fun with it! If they can tell you that Barbie is mad at you for going on a date with Ken, they are using the language as well as having a good laugh (among other things of course). You don’t just learn in the classroom.

What do you think about this video? Does it inspire you to be more creative, or is it cliche?

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12 days to go!

In 12 days I leave the States to go back to Europe and in 15 I’ll be back in my lovely apartment in Madrid. I’ve been enjoying my time with my family and friends here, but I’m also feeling really antsy. I’m ready to work again and to have a real schedule. I’m ready to organize my new apartment and be more independent. I’m ready to live alone, although that seems a bit scary as well as exciting. I’ve never lived alone before! I’m hoping that I’ll have plenty of time to reflect on my experiences and maybe 1) read more 2) WRITE MORE BLOG ENTRIES (haha) and 3) have more “me” time to do whatever else I need to do.
Any tips for someone who is living along for the first time?

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georgia on my mind, pecans, peaches, pine trees… more georgia clichés

The long-awaited “I’m back in the states” post… dun dun dun!

So I’ve been visiting the motherland for the past month, and I must say that I am enjoying it! I’ve missed my family and speaking English in my natural habitat! I’ve been driving all over the place, eating tons of foods that I crave while in Spain (photo examples to follow), and just relaxing WITH A/C! What a life! I’ve been spending tons of time in my old university town because this trip has made me realize that I don’t really know anyone near my parents’ houses… sad thought! Everyone is moving away, still studying, or just M.I.A.! I still know quite a few people in Athens, GA (where I studied), so I can’t stay away!

And now the anticipated food section. What foods did I miss the most? Check them out!

Steak… that looks just like this! Not “al punto,” not “vuelta y vuelta,” but in the middle! I fight  a lot about meat temperatures in Madrid, but I can never get it just right! Medium-rare just doesn’t exist there.

Big Zak Snack… mmmm… this is no ordinary chicken, people! It’s delicious. The fry seasoning is really what does it for me… I used to ask for little containers of it and I put it on EVERYTHING for a few months. It was totally worth it.

Southern sweet tea (Although I do a half-and-half mixture of sweet and unsweet tea)!! If you haven’t had it, you are missing out! I could make it in Madrid, but it’s just not the same! I am bringing Lipton tea bags with me when I return… we’ll see how it ends up!

Last but not least, Chick Fil-A waffle fries. Need I say more? They are perfect. And awesome. Perfectly awesome. 🙂

And those, my friends, are the main things that I HAD to eat/drink when I came home. Did I make anyone hungry? What would you miss if you lived abroad?

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catch up post

Sooo remember when I told you that it was getting hot in Madrid? Yeah… it’s bad. I’m finding it really hard to sleep at night, but I’m getting a routine. First, my window stays open 24/7. During the day I lower my persianas (awesome blinds) so that the sun doesn’t get in but some air can still get in.

(imagine these blinds but with holes in them… they look like metal like mine, but I’m not sure)

In the afternoon I lift them and “enjoy” the cooler night temperatures (which is still way to hot to sleep in). Another key element to this recipe is the POOL! I’ve been going to the pool more than I have ever gone in my life! I’m not such a tan person, but I think I’m probably the darkest that I ever remember myself being. I’m so freckly!!

Another thing that I’ve done to beat the heat is go to the beach! I went to Valencia and Lisbon (again) in the past month or so. Here are some pictures!

(beach in Valencia with my friend Nikki)

(Cascais – just outside of Lisbon)

For the last week I’ve been working at a camp outside of Madrid. It’s really tough! I had two five-year-olds, one four-year-old, and a three-year-old. When the kids are so young you have to be creative to keep them interested. Also, when one acts up you have to stop the others from following their lead! I’ll continue the camp for the next two weeks and then I have two weeks off to pack and get ready to go back to the states for a bit! I’m hoping that my mom and step-dad can come visit during that time. I can’t wait to show them my city!

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reflections on the weather

It’s getting hot in Madrid. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, as it gets really hot in Georgia as well. What makes this spring/summer different for me is definitely worrying about professionalism during the hotter months. I work with kids… what should I wear to school that will keep me cool and also keep me in “teacher” mode? Also, I walk a lot… this will definitely be a problem. Luckily for me I have a while to think about it, as it’s still only in the high 70s here. Maybe I will need a teacher makeover.

I don’t have A/C, which is rather sad. What does this mean? I keep my window open 24/7. What else does that mean? I get to know my neighbors that much better. My window looks directly into someone’s bedroom, and the kitchen window looks directly into their kitchen… awkward. Said neighbors also blast interesting music throughout the day. The other day I was sure that I heard them playing old Italian music from the 60s/70s, and the day before I heard a man playing guitar and singing rather loudly. I should clap next time I think…

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