It’s been one month since I hopped off the bus in Vitoria- Gasteiz and began painting a new canvas in my life. Can you believe it?
It’s all a little surreal. It feels like I’ve been here for months in some respects and others as if I’ve just arrived.
It’s amazing how much has changed in just one month. I know almost all the Language assistants (auxiliars, as we’re called) in Vitoria. We’ve created some semi- routines-there’s trivia on Wednesday night and on Thursday night is pintxo pote– where many bars offer 1 Euro beers or wine with a small bite to eat to accompany your drink. It’s a great excuse to go out and hang out with all the other young folk in this town. Fridays and Saturday nights are typically nights we go out too.
My Spanish classes are going well. And I‘m speaking Spanish on the daily. I’m realizing how much I learned last year and I’m starting to grasp/remember more verb tenses but I still have more ground to cover. And Spanish, like most things in life, the more you learn, the more you feel like you don’t know. But poco a poco. It’s all about acknowledging the little things. I almost forgot the trouble I had to endure to take this class. And be able to check it off my Goals list.
My students are keeping me on my toes because their level of English is really low. I’m going to have to speak more in Spanish so they can understand basic questions like ” How was your weekend?” meanwhile their is pressure to to keep going in their workbook because they have exams in a few weeks. The truth is my students should be in lower levels but that’s not going to happen, the system seems set up for them to fail because they are not in the right level and for what ever reason they can’t switch their classes. So the teachers and I will do the best we can knowing the system may just be against us. And I’m reminded of the same issues plaguing Education in California/USA- teaching to tests rather than teaching for comprehension hat’s another story. Let’s just say, I’m going to learn even more patience and to simplify even more.
This year instead of having conversation classes of 8 and creating my own material, I plan with 5 different English teachers and teach from the various workbooks assigned to each class. The teachers sit amongst the students and I lead the class. So far, I’m enjoying the experience and having a different opportunity from last year. I’ve now have seen almost all my students twice, between huelgas, strikes and fiestas, holidays I haven’t worked a whole lot. My schedule will remain at 9 hours a week and sometimes less with fiestas and such. They say they don’t want to give me more hours because it’s with lower level English classes and now, I understand what they mean when they say a low level of English.
I’m enjoying the company of my flat mates and having folks to talk to in the evenings. Some times we have impromptu meals and always fun and interesting conversations. And I SPEAK IN SPANISH. For better or worse, my spanish is improving. I really enjoyed living alone last year and having the unexpected opportunity to have a piso, apartment to myself but I know living with flat mates this year is good choice for me (and it’s nearly impossible to have the same flat I had last year in Vitoria- heck I pay the same amount for a room this year as I did for a2 bedroom flat last year). I love how my English flat mate is often game for exploring the city or cooking together. Aside from eating and roaming the city, I already experienced another perk, a spontaneous road trip with my Mexican flat mate, Sergio. We spent the weekend in Toulouse and checking out a medieval city an hour away by day and partying by night to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I can get used to spontaneous trips.
I look forward to what tomorrow brings.
I’m happy for all that’s happened in the last month and I look forward to what next month brings. As curious as I am to know…. because I just want to jump ahead in my book of life, I’m enjoying the experience.