A Little More Sleep?

I have a confession to make: I’m horrible at keeping a blog.

You’re surprised? I have never been good about keeping any sort of journal…. Except for two different times: the six months I studied in Japan, and the year I studied in Oviedo. For some amazing reason I was able to keep a (mostly) daily account of my life during those two periods, but all the rest of the time… it’s been more of a sporadic, every-so-often sort of thing. My excuse is that now that I write as a journalist I have less of a desire to write daily things. But I think the real reason is that I’m just lazy and choose to do other things with my time. Like sleep.

My one major vice in life is sleep. I love to sleep. I love to be in my nice warm bed and have only dreams and random non-sense run through my head. Of course as a teacher, journalist and young person I don’t often get that much sleep. So when I do–like say this next weekend when both of my roommates will be gone and I will probably spend most of the two days in my bed–it’s heaven.

Don’t get me wrong I love to be active, too. I do my best to go running at least twice a week (the goal is three times)… Well, the goal the last few weeks has been twice, and it’s only made it to once a week, but I have a good reason for it! I’ve been very, very busy. And when I’m not busy, it’s dark and rainy and not good conditions for running.

Okay so, why so busy?

  • I had everyday classes that I have to prepare (i.e. making up some way to MAKE my students talk–in English–and get them interested in the material). That takes up… a good 8-10 hours, plus the 12 hours that I teach those lesson plans.*
  • And then there were the many hours of preparing HardCider International for the feature launch (which was on Friday, the 20th) for January.
  • I was also asked by La Sidra (an Asturian cider magazine) to write something for their 100th magazine issue. Very honored to have been asked to write something. Anyway that was due on Friday as well.
  • And last but definitely not least (considering I will–very shortly I hope–be getting paid for doing it) I gave a class to other teachers in Asturias about how to coordinate well with Language Conversation Assistants (i.e. people like me doing the Auxiliares de Conversación program). Also sorta cool that I was asked to do it. Still don’t really know why me, but I’m not complaining. It was a very interesting and educational experience. Not to mention a little bit of extra cash flow into the bank account is never a bad thing.

Anyway. Yes. Very busy. This week not so much. Although, I need to get back to some things that I slacked on the last several couple weeks… like studying. So as of the end of November I am officially certified to Teach English as a Foreign Language. I even received the diploma/certificate/thing in December. But now that I’ve finished that I am now on to a course that helps me specialize in teaching English for business purposes (in other words: Business English).

I had the option of choosing a free course specializing in teaching English for kids or for business. I figured I have actual experience with teaching for kids, so for a resumé it would look good that I am certified for business English. Eh, who knows.

Speaking of resumes. I am going to start sending resumes out to practically every academy and school that has a summer program that needs an English (natives are always better, right?) teacher. I need a summer job. And preferably I’d like to find one in Avilés, Oviedo or Gijón. We’ll see. I’m sure something will come up!

Over winter break I went back to the U.S. Originally I had planned to stay in Spain and go to Barcelona to spend time with old friends. But, due to familial circumstances I decided it was important to go back. I’m glad I did. It was good to see my family and friends. It’s funny but I sort of forget how nice it is being with family when I’m living in a different place. But when I get home I always remember better of why I love my family so much.

But I gotta say, it was really nice coming back to Spain–Asturias–as well. At least for now, this is my home. And once my roommates were back and we started work again I honestly couldn’t be happier. I know that sounds silly, but I love what I do and most days teaching really boosts my energy levels. There are always some days, when the students are all brats and don’t want to work on anything and it’s like pulling teeth to get them to say ANYTHING that it’s a little more draining. But in general, most days are wonderful.

Granted, most days by the end of the day I fall into bed and don’t move the entire night. I wake up and my covers have barely shifted. But that’s a good sleep. And as stated earlier, I like to sleep. Especially when I wake up satisfied that I slept well.**

[I would just like to say, that I can tell I haven’t been speaking much English lately… I’ve been making the weirdest and stupidest mistakes writing this. Forgive me if there are glaring–and not so glaring–mistakes throughout this.]

*I truly think I should have at least 16 hours being employed by the school. MINIMUM. At least 2 hours for coordination with teachers every week. Actual coordination. Where you know, we talk about what would be good, spend time talking about what the students are working on in class, work together to make up ideas for me that I can use to make up lesson plans. Most classes I’ve very little idea of what the students are actually doing in class, so having time to talk to the teachers and work with them would be good–not just two hours before class “hey, we’re doing this today, prepare something. GO!” or I show up at the class and they give me a powerpoint they were using on say “teach.” Um… right. Really good thing I had a very good education and that I’m quick on my feet. That’s all I’ve got to say.

And then 4 hours of conversation with the teachers. I know they all technically have their “bilingual” teaching status, but, a language doesn’t get better without practice. It usually doesn’t even stay the same. It gets worse. It’s not just the students who need to work on their English. Just like me, if I don’t speak Spanish, I forget things. (Or better example is my Japanese…)

**Last night I had an very frustrating experience where a mosquito bit me. IT IS JANUARY! MOSQUITOES HAVE NO RIGHT TO LIVE IN THE MONTH OF JANUARY! At least… not in my room!!!

Rome is for Eating, Walking and Seeing the Sights


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walking in Rome

Walking in Rome

Where to start. Well. First off, my classes are going well, my students are a delight and I really do feel like I’ve noticed improvement in their English. Maybe it’s just because they’re now not as timid to speak (well, most of them) or because I actually have taught them something. But either way, it’s wonderful. It’s an amazing thing when you can teach students something one day, and then a week later ask them a question and they answer using what you taught them–and without questioning it! I love it. I love knowing that what I’m doing actually has an effect on someone. That I’m helping them in some ways. Continue reading

A Long Weekend of Relaxation


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A mayar manzanasI seem to have trouble keeping this blog up-to-date. It’s funny too, because almost every day I think of something that I want to write in here, but once I finally get time to write, I decide there are other things that need to be done.

My long weekend ended up going pretty much as I expected: with nothing much to do, but I slept a lot and relaxed. On Sunday one of my colleagues at the school, he teaches History and Geography, was back in town so we met up for a drink. But really, other than that I did nothing but go running almost every day. Continue reading

Running Along the Coast

My run to the coast and back.

I did indeed go running yesterday. The sun was shinning, still warm at 5pm, when I left the house in the direction of the Mar Cantábrico (Bay of Biscay). The streets lined with plant debris from corn the farmers are starting to cut down. Cows, corn, fabadas (a type of giant white bean they use in many typical dishes around here) and sporadic colorful houses were my companions as my feet rhythmically hit the ground at a steady pace. My iPod Shuffle (the small little green thing clipped to my shirt) smartly plays popular dance music to help me keep going even when my legs and lungs tire. Continue reading