Staying for More Punishment

Okay, so I haven’t exactly kept true to my goal of “one post a week.” However, I just NOW uploaded the remainder of my Semana Santa photos to Facebook so you can see what kind of time-lag I’m working with. I’ll (hopefully) be posting about Italy, Barcelona, Zaragoza etc within the next few weeks.

But first…

drum roll please….

 

I am renewing with the BEDA Program for next year. I’ll be working in the same school, but they are hiring another assistant to cover more hours. This means they are dropping my hours from 24 this year to 18 next year. Ugh. Also, I’ll only be working with children who are 12 years old and older. Maybe this will give me more time to prepare activities or even pick up more private lessons, but I’m a bit sad I won’t be working in infantil anymore.

Now I’m in the process of getting together all the materials to renew my NIE. Friday, I have my appointment to get my empadronamiento. This is basically just a way to register where you live and it may be necessary for the renewal. If I ever need to verify how long I’ve lived in Spain, it will also help. I will try to write a post with all the steps for the renewal after I’m finished.

It’s Been a While

Hello everyone!

Bad, bad, BAD me for not writing a post in months. My procrastination turned into a cycle of sorts. “If I write a post now I need lots of time to cover everything that I’ve done.” eventually led to “There is no way I can write about everything that has happened since September!” Here it goes, dear friends; a brief summary.

It seems I’ve eventually settled into an everyday routine. I live in an apartment with 7 other people so sometimes it is the furthest thing from normal, but it’s going well. I’m teaching 28 classes (24 hours) a week in the school and 5 private classes a week. The students in the school range from 3-5 years and from 12-18 years old. One of the first questions people ask is which age group I like the most. I can’t choose because each age level has reasons why I love them. The younger children are very loving and energetic although they can be rowdy. When they see me on the street they stop and wave. This weekend I saw one of my 5 year old students walking with her mother. When she saw me she started waving and tugging at her mother to show her that I am her teacher. Sometimes I even get besos on the cheek or a “Te quiero mucho!” They are most challenging to prepare classes for since they have a short attention span. The older children can be really fun to talk to, but sometimes it’s difficult to converse with them. It’s also frustrating when they don’t prepare the assigned topic. Some days are fun though. Last week in the 12 year-old classes we talked about extreme sports, I showed them a video of me skydiving, then we made origami hearts.

542771_10100279001266173_575779458_n

The teachers in the school are very kind and have made an effort to make me feel included during and outside school hours. I feel very lucky.

In addition to the school classes, I give 5 private lessons a week. The ages range from 5 to 37. For the younger students I normally charge 22 euros a class and for older students 18 euros. Even with all of this the money situation is tight. At the end of every month I find myself scraping money together and playing “let’s see how long this loaf of bread can last.” I don’t regret my decision to come to Spain. Far from it. I’ve decided to renew my contract here for next year! Bring on the vida española!

I’ve made some amazing friends here so far. I’ve been lucky enough to travel with several and even found myself in a recording studio with my violin! Okay, so I didn’t play very long, but it’s a start, right?

I’ve started cooking a lot more. This includes cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for my roommates (substituting chickens for turkey), and various weekend breakfasts.

french toast last weekend, for example.

Travels

I’ve returned to Sevilla. Oh, what a marvelous city!

Plaza de España

Took a trip to Toledo.

Made it to Valencia

Morocco was spectacular and also the most terrifying driving experience! I was able to add camel to my “weird things eaten” list. Luckily, one of my roommates is from Casablanca and we traveled with him and another friend from Tangier. Having Moroccan friends with us really made things easier. We even met the mother of one friend and the father of the other.

Breakfast in Tangier

The amazing blue city of Chefchaouen

Tannery in Fez

Casablanca

For the future

I signed up for the Madrid half-marathon so I’m in the process of shaping up and training. I’m also looking to get back into bellydance and I’ve been searching for classes here.

That’s all for tonight, but I’ll do my best to post more regularly.

BEDA Classes

Hello everyone!

I’ve received my BEDA Group assignment and I’m in Group 6. Who else is with me!? Don’t be shy now.

Also, I received the contact info for the coordinator at the school where I’ll be teaching. I sent her an email to introduce myself and to ask about the age range of my future students. It turns out I’ll be teaching 12 through 17 year-olds! Now, I’ll be honest here. I am pretty nervous about this. I’m much more comfortable teaching people around my age or much older. That’s what I’ve been doing for several years and in a few different places. I’ve always been the young girl with all of the older friends. Or the youngest girl in the office. That sort of thing is natural for me. Understanding children is not, but I am excited about discovering how.

Now, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Children kind of freak me out. Please don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I don’t like children. I just get all super awkward whenever it’s time to interact with them. I’ve always felt a bit of jealousy for the people who can just go right up any child and attach and engage themselves with them. It seems to be a gift. It’s a good thing a bit of nervousness is healthy! Please pay no attention to any future kid-phobia freakout manifestations. I know I can do it. I might just have to work at it harder than most. This will definitely help push me out of my comfort zone; teaching children, a new country, a new language, a new life.

Something funny happened today. I received another Auxiliares de Conversación email today which informed me I was still “admitida.” However, I was asked not to be discouraged since they were making placements from the wait-list which began around application number 1404. The reason I found this a bit humorous is because when I applied I’m pretty sure my application number was 5,000 something. Yep, don’t worry. I won’t be discouraged. I’m super happy BEDA worked out!

If anyone has any tips, tricks, or suggestions on what to expect in this 12 to 17 age group PLEASE feel free to add your input! I’m kind of starting at square one here.

Now, I Wait

This morning I made the couple hour trip down to Washington, DC to finish up my visa application. Luckily, things went without any problems and they told me I should receive my shiny new student visa within 5 weeks!

First, I had to find the Department of State Office of Authentications which, in all honesty, was completely different from what I was expecting. The office was a small location very similar to a mini MVA setup. You walked in, stood in line for a number, and then waited for your documents to be completed. There is a form necessary for each authentication order which I already printed at home. There were several computers set up there for this purpose. I ended up chatting with the girl in line behind me about our mutual visa methods and experiences. She was getting everything together to apply for her visa to work in the UAE. I would recommend getting there EARLY. I arrived shortly after the office opened at 7:30am, but the room was already filling up.

Call me Bond, James Bond.

 

After my FBI letter received the Apostille, I took it to the convenience shop right next to the office. They made copies of the newly Apostilled document for me. I already made copies of everything else at home.

Next, I walked back toward the Foggy Bottom metro to the Spanish Embassy and Consulate. I was lucky everything was so close. The walk was only about 10 minutes. I was a bit early so I waited in the waiting room until the Consulate opened at 9am. I was the first one to enter the visa application line and in 15 minutes was informed I would receive my visa within 5 weeks! Apparently, I take my medical and criminal background check letter to a police station when I get to Madrid. There, they will give me my real student visa. The one issued here is only good for 90 days. Oh, and if you make friends with the guard it seems he will let you use the bathroom on the Embassy side! 🙂