On Sunday I moved to Navia, the small town on the northern coast of Spain (in Asturias) that I’m teaching in. Well, actually, I’ve temporarily moved into the house of my adviser and his family, while I look for a place to live. They live in a nearby village, not in Navia. So far, it’s been really nice staying with his family, but I’m hoping to find a place of my own (or an apartment to rent with other people) soon.
The area is beautiful. Very rural. And the people have so far been very friendly and helpful. I’m excited to start exploring around the area. There are beautiful paths along the cliffs that follow the ocean, and I’m hoping maybe this weekend or next to start trekking around on them. (Right now I’m trying to decide if I should go out for a run after I finish this, or stay in and start working on my TEFL certificate again… it’s so beautiful out, I think the run will probably win.)
I’ve gone into my school two days. Monday and today. Monday was mainly just a quick tour and a hasty introduction to many of the teachers. Today I met students, a few showed me around, and I helped out in a few classes. Nothing to specific, just introduced myself and they introduced themselves to me. So far, I’ve been really impressed with the level of English the students have; it’s quite amazing. In my high school in the U.S., no one was as proficient as many of them in Spanish or French or German (well, excluding those who were native speakers). It does help that it’s a bilingual school though, so half of their classes are in English, not just English class.
The students are wonderful. The three that showed me around the school were very friendly, and excited to share their world with me. It helps that I’m much closer to their age and I’m something(someone) new. What they don’t know (and I’m hoping they never find this page and read it) is that I actually speak Spanish. Or that I’ve been in Spain before… living. They are all under the impression that I don’t know even a single word in Spanish (okay, except maybe ‘hola’). I sorta feel bad lying to them when they ask me directly, “Do you speak Spanish?” or “Have you been to Spain before?” But it’s best they believe they HAVE to talk to me. I’m worried that I’ll give it away at some point though.
Yesterday there was an orientation for just the Auxiliares in Asturias. I spent the Monday night in Oviedo with a friend, so I didn’t have to catch a 6:50am bus to make it to the orientation on time. For the first part, we were in the government buildings trying to get paperwork done to get our student residency cards (we’re technically here in Spain as students who are “extending their education” by teaching English). There is still a little bit of work that has to be done to get the card, but for the most part I’ve gotten a lot of the paperwork done. The second part was an actual orientation where they gave us a bit more information about the program (finally) and gave us our vacation schedules and insurance cards. Supposedly they’d sent the schedules to us earlier, but I never received the e-mail (along with many others they’ve sent other people). After the orientation I came back to Navia with my adviser, we met up with his kids and wife and played in the park a bit and then came back home for dinner. I pretty much passed out as soon as we finished dinner.
I’m not sure if it’s just been lack of sleep or because my brain is overloaded (or both), but the last few days I’ve been exhausted. I’ve tried to hide it, especially in front of the students today. But… bah. I’ve no idea. I’m sure once I get into the routine of things, it will get easier.
Recently, I’ve been contacted by a tourism person in Gijon that works with cidermakers. We’re hoping to schedule a time we can meet up and I can meet local Asturian cidermakers. I’m really looking forward to that, but I’m also a little nervous. Interviewing people in Spanish, ooph. Wish me luck!
And… yes. That’s pretty much it. Oh! I officially have a Spanish bank account now. So once the program gets all the paperwork together, they can start paying me. Which, will be very helpful when I finally get an apartment. Not to say I don’t have a little money saved up, but… not enough to last me a year.