web dependent.

6 Oct

If you know me at all, you know I am obsessed with a lot of things: text messaging, Modern Family, Jersey Shore, India Pale Ale,…the list goes on and on. If you REALLY know me, however, you’ll know I have an intense physical dependency on two things – caffeine and internet access. This whole transition to life as a Madrileña has left me with serious symptoms of withdrawal since my ability to get my (more than) daily hit of the World Wide Web has been severely limited. While some might say that this detox might be a “good thing” for me, I am hoping they know something I don’t. I am eagerly counting the days until Telefonica gets its act together and hooks up our wifi in our apartment. The way they pronounce it “wee-fee” was cute at first, but when you don’t have it, the mere utterance of the word is painful.

I am trying to find the silver lining in this mess – I have been reading a lot more (shameless “I love my Kindle” plug here). What am I reading? Really nerdy things, duh. I just finished a book about how language affects the way we think called “Through the Language Glass.” It was very factual but up my alley. I’m now reading Allegra Goodman’s “The Cookbook Collector.” The plot is convoluted and interesting, and it’s cool that part of it is set in Berkeley. Overall, however, it’s not doing much to make me change over to the fiction category more permanently.

Things in Spain have been otherwise excellent – work is fun (but a little on the exhausting side). I wake up before 7:30 and start work at 9 – the commute is just under an hour to the town I work in, but you can’t beat the metro and I can read almost the whole way. I am the language assistant in three morning classes, Monday through Thursday at Colegio Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo, and I have kindergarten, first, and second-graders in English and science classes. I switch classes every hour, so I am exposed to a lot of different personality types every day. On my second day of work, one second grader asked me “como se dice ‘culo’ en ingles?” (How do you say ‘ass’ in English?” My response? “Bottom.” You’re welcome, mom. I also get a 30 minute break where there is a continental-style breakfast available for teachers – fruit, pastries, coffee, bread, juice (in boxes of course).

So far, it’s hard to draw comparisons between the US and Spanish elementary schools, but the teachers have a harder time controlling the classes here than I remember. It sort of feels like they just make it up as they go along, which now that I come to think of it, was probably what happened at Red Oak every day.

Next week, I will begin at least two private courses for students to supplement my income. While the stipend from the government is sufficient to live off of, I want to be able to travel while I’m here, and private tutoring will allow me to do that. Also on the agenda for the week are opening a bank account, joining a gym, writing my personal statement for law school…and of course exploring more of the city’s sights and nightlife offerings.

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