WOOOOOOO-EEEEEEEEE. I shouldn’t go a week without writing in here because dayum, do I have a lot of stuff to catch you guys up on.
For starters, I’ll talk about the most recent happenings. Today was my second FIRST DAY OF HIGH SCHOOL! yahooooooo! I never thought I’d be able to go back to high school, but it happened 🙂 Initially I tried figuring out whether I would be taking a bus to school (and arriving a bit late) or carpooling with some of the teachers who work in Noia but live in Santiago (about 60-70% of the teachers at IES Campo de San Alberto live in Santiago — lucky me! Anyway, I’ve been talking to the previous auxiliar de conversación who worked in Noia at the same school as me last year and without telling me, he e-mailed one of the professors he knew and asked if she could get me a ride to school the first day. SO NICE OF HIM. I owe him big time. So, a woman named Mercedes (one of the teachers), arranged EVERYTHING to make sure I had no problem getting to school my first day. She found someone who lives right by me, so I only had to walk 5-10 minutes to get to our meeting spot. So, absolutely no estrés (stress) with carpooling my first day. Thank god.
I met up with Antón, a history teaher at our meeting place at 8 am and from there, we drove about 15 minutes to meet with a bunch of other teachers. THEN, there were more cars and all of the cars made their way to Noia, which was about 15 minutes further. Every single teacher I met in the car and at the school was so kind to me and it is so heartwarming to see them welcome me to their school with open arms and a kiss on each cheek. I wish everyone in the world was like that.
Once we got to school, I didn’t have a schedule yet… hopefully that will get figured out this week…. so I just tagged along with Eva, who teaches 12-14 year olds English. I didn’t really do much except tell them where I’m from, tell them I have a brother, and talk about where I went to school and what I studied. In one of those classes, the kids were SO ROWDY, and it just reminded me of why I was happy to be placed in a secondary school haha. I couldn’t deal with that all day, every day.
Afterwardssssss, there was a 20 minute break, so a lot of students and teachers went to this bar/café right by the school. If you are 16 years old, you can literally order a beer between classes which I think is hilarious. One of the teachers was so nice and bought me a café con leche (coffee with milk) which was delish 🙂 And another let me have two little churros. I LOVE that if you order anything to drink, they automatically give you food to nibble on. They should do that in every country.
After that, I finally met the guy who is basically my supervisor (?)/head of the English department, Vicente. He’s completely fluent in English. He actually even has a British accent which I was surprised by. I went to his class with him — the kids were mostly 15 years old (so they’d be in their sophomore year of high school in the states). And the class was basically just a getting-to-know-you class. I found out Vicente is a fan of the Celtics, especially when Larry Bird was playing. But, all the kids like the LA Lakers (BOOOOOOO) because there is one guy from Spain on that team haha. All the kids were really respectful and it was cute watching kids from every grade try to learn/speak English 🙂
After that, ANOTHER teacher, Matías (THE MAN. Seriously. He’s the shit), took me on a tour of the town of Noia/Noya, which was so great of him. He grew up there, so he knows it really well. He pointed out a ría (body of water that connects a river to the ocean). OH, forgot to mention that for the first time in a week it was SUNNY. Absolutely beautiful out. And while I was surprised to see any palm trees in Santiago, I was astounded to see the number of palm trees in Noia. It was like I was in Jamaica, or something! So, given the nice weather, we went alllllll around the city. We stopped at a panadería and Matías bought me a dobladito, which is a small pastry filled with this orange/yellowish cream. SO YUMMYYYYY. I’m going to get so fat off all of the bread/pastries in Spain. Every time I walk past a panadería, I just want to eat the whole place up!
Matías also showed me the old part of Noia, and pointed out places that date back to the 14th century! So, I saw parts of walls that had been preserved for centuries and were attached to buildings and saw a few churches. This is something I love about Spain/Europe: there is so much history here! He also brought me to a cemetary (Santa María a Nova), which one would think would be an odd thing to take the new girl to her first day, but it was beautiful and so interesting. There were graves from hundreds of years ago, and apparently the cemetery is famous in Europe because of how beautiful and plentiful the tombstones are. I got to see a lot of old tombstones that had shapes engraved in them to show the occupation of the person who had died. For example, there were anchors engraved into the stone for marineros (sailors), scissors (tijeras) for tailors (sastres), and a stonemason’s hammer for … take a guess… stonemasons!
What elseeeeeee? That’s about it for school today. The teachers were equally as concerned with getting me home, no problem, so I was very grateful for that. OH, and I forgot that every sign in the school is in Gallego, and I can usually guess what something means because it’s a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish, but in the carride home, the teachers were speaking in Gallego, so I kind of gave up trying to understand them. But, I’m sure in the next 8 months I’ll pick up some useful vocab in Gallego!
Other stuff from before:
I already talked about moving in to my new place, but now it’s time to talk about the fun stuff! On Thursday night, two of my roommates had over one of their Italian friends and also a guy from Madrid who walked part of the Camino de Santiago until he arrived in Santiago, and so he’ll be here for like 3 more weeks. Maria (my German roommate) and Noemi (the Italian girl) made pizza for everyone which was awesome and we all listened to music and sat down to dinner together. Then we went out to the old part of town which is HOPPIN’ (just kidding. I don’t say “hoppin'”), but yeah, la zona vieja (old zone) is a really fun place to go to at night because there are so many university students out and about. So, we went to a few bars and had a good time. On Friday night, Maria and Marion (my French roommate) had already left for Porto, Portugal for hte weekend, so I went out with some other people and met a bunch of Italian ERASMUS students (basically European students who decide to spend a semester or year at a university in another European country). I’ve also met a few Mexican ERASMUS students, as well as girls from Poland, and probably other places I’m forgetting. Don’t really know how those Mexican students and a Bolivian guy and Moroccan girl and guy managed to be ERASMUS students since they aren’t European, but I probably just need to research the program more to figure out what it’s all about. I’m lazy though 🙂 Maybe I’ll do it sometime this week. ANYWAY, so Friday night, I met some of them and we went out to a couple of bars. It was POURINGGGGGGG that night and silly me was wearing flip flops, so walking home was a NIGHTMARE with all the puddle and the stones on the ground being so slippery. But, I made it home without falling on my butt, so I’d call the night a success.
Other boring stuff: I applied for my NIE (ID number for foreigners) yesterday, which sometimes can take hours with you just sitting in the Comisaría de Policía for 3 hours, waiting for them to actually call on you. But, we got word that we should show up even before the place opened, so I was #8 to be called 🙂 So, I got my visa, I got a flat, I have groceries, I’m in Spain, I’ve started working, and I have my temporary NIE paper which I can use until the actual card comes in 40 days (I know… does it really take 40 days to print a friggin card?). All I have left to do is open a bank account and then I’m golden! yayyyyyyy
Last thing. I think. I went out yesterday to grab a coffee with a friend/person I just met and call a friend and we went to this really pretty sitting place behind a hotel. It looks like the Garden of Eden! Then, we walked around a bit and ended up at a café/bar and he ordered this liquor called “crema de orujo” which is most famously made in Galicia. It’s basically one of those coffee-type liquors except it’s white. I guess you have it after you have a coffee? I dont know. My Spanish isn’t perfect and this guy was from Madrid and spoke quickly, so I gathered what I could from the conversation 🙂
OKAY I THINK THAT’S ALL FOR NOW. I’ll add pictures later!
P.S. Forgot to mention that the students are not supposed to know that I speak Spanish until the END OF THE YEAR. I didn’t realize I’d have to hide the fact that I can speak Spanish. And it’s super awkward because I’ll talk to the teachers in Spanish (and some of them don’t know very much English, so it’s kind of necessary to speak in Spanish), but if a student all of a sudden approaches, I have to quickly switch back to English. Ahhhhh. My brain has to work extra hard because I’m constantly wondering which language I should be speaking in and I don’t want to make my supervisor mad if a kid hears me speaking Spanish. Sometimes, my face is just like this…………