Wednesday, 12 October 2011

La Vida Española

I love Spain. I'm not even two weeks into my new job yet and I'm enjoying my first public holiday. It's a beautiful day and I'm currently sitting in a park under a tree, recovering from a Rioja-induced hangover!

Teaching is going well so far, I've done 3 classes about Scotland and the kids were mostly well behaved, except for a group of rowdy boys in my first class who kept asking me if I worked in a nightclub or knew the Queen! Yesterday, I had lots of fun with a group of 12 year olds who had an abundance of questions to ask me about myself, like 'what's your favourite singer/ band/ CD/ football team/ colour/ number/ food/place/ Rihanna song?'*  Looking out at their eager little faces and raised hands made me feel like a proper teacher for the day!

Since my school is relatively small and is in a little town, I expected that I'd be the only assistant working there, but it turns out there are four of us. Two of them are American and live in Logroño like me, so they have introduced me to all the other people on their programme. Last night, we went out for pinchos** and drinks and I am seriously concerned that I might end up becoming an overweight alcoholic by the end of the year. The food is so delicious that I can't help but order something with every drink and the wine goes down faaaar too easily. It's also incredibly cheap - we bought a bottle of Rioja (Joven, but still Rioja) in the supermarket yesterday for 79 cents and a bottle of something really nice like Campo Viejo will only set you back about 4 quid. Result.

I've also been hanging out in lots of cafes and restaurants because I still haven't moved into my flat and don't have a kitchen to use, which hasn't exactly helped. The other day, I thought I'd treat myself to the 'Menu Del Dia' in a restaurant and by the end of it, I could barely move. I polished off a big plate of patatas con chorizo, some beautifully marinated cod, a whole basket of bread and a dessert called leche frita, which was a bit weird, but still pretty tasty. The menu detailed that you could get wine or water with your lunch as part of a 10 Euro deal, so naturally, I told the waiter I'd take the wine. I expected him to bring me a small glass, but he soon appeared with a WHOLE BOTTLE and plonked it down on the table. Whilst I was pretty delighted that I was getting this and my lunch for less than a tenner, I was also a bit worried about what I must look like, sitting alone on a terrace nursing all that alcohol. Luckily, my fears were soon allayed when, as if by magic, one of the few people I actually know in this city spotted me and came to help me drink it. It was great, I felt like Julia Roberts in 'Eat, Pray, Love' (just without the praying and loving part.)

I'm heading to Madrid tomorrow afternoon as I have to go to an induction meeting at the Ministerio de Cultura on Friday. I think I like the sound of it – it's only 3 and a half hours long and the programme informs me that it will start with a coffee and end with a cocktail! Even better, the British Council gives me 200 Euros to attend it, so I can stay for a long weekend! It's really is a hard knock life being a language assistant...

*    All of these are things that I was actually asked!
**  If you're wondering what this is as opposed to 'tapas' (as I did), it's pretty much the same thing, but of the  Basque variety.  'Pincho' in Spanish means 'spike' and this refers to the little toothpicks that are used in the North of Spain to hold the food together.  (Thank you, Wikipedia.)


AbbyWilson575 said...

I hope you told them "Oh na na what's my name..." :) sounds like your having a great time! xx

Claire said...

Oh, the whole of Spain will know my name by the time I'm done here haha!! They seem to be having a a bit of a problem pronouncing it at the moment though - my estate agent has taken to calling me 'Clar-ee' lol!
You also sound like you're having a great time in your new job, am totally loving your blog! I feel inadequate now though, I'm writing about getting drunk and teaching a few kids and you're trying to reform an entire education system!

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