Manana niebla; tarde paseo.

by theadventuresofbeka

This is what my host mother told me this foggy and dreary morning as we drove to school (the first time we have taken the car since they borrowed a bike for me). Today was yet another busy day at school. I am not yet adjusted to my schedule and I can’t seem to remember which teacher is associated with which class (and where that class is in the school). The children are wonderful. Every time I walk by a group of kids, they say in an adorably British/Spanish accent “Alllooooo Rebeca”.

Today’s classes went well. This was my first time planning PE for Level 1 and I was worried that they weren’t going to understand and enjoy the game I had prepared. They got it and loved it. The trees were the safe haven for the cats which were chased by the dog.

Some days are successful and others aren’t. Yesterday I read a book to a group of kids and they definitely did not enjoy it. Not that they would tell me that but you can tell when most of your students are gazing off into the distance or rolling around on the floor.

I got an exclamation of “que bonita!” for the Chinese dragon mask that we made in Level 2 art. The students laughed when we had the masks assembled and they could wear them. Level 6 hadn’t met me before so I simply gave my intro presentation. As always there were squeals of delight for my dog, laughter for my brothers and gasps of shock for the wolf spider and alligator. Tomorrow I am going to talk about the space shuttle program. I’m hoping they will enjoy it and that it won’t be too much new vocabulary.

I am learning to SLOW down. I naturally speed up my speech when I am nervously presenting but that ruins it here. It is never a good thing but here I just lose the understanding of my students. It is hard enough for them because this is their second language AND I’m not British. I am learning to say some of our science vocab words with a British accent. Cookies are now biscuits. Trash is rubbish. The bathroom is the toilet.

As predicted this morning by my host mother, this afternoon when we left our flat the weather was beautiful. My host mother had a doctor’s appointment in Santander which is about an hour from Aguilar in Cantabria.

In case you didn’t know (I didn’t until I started reading about Spain), there are 17 autonomous communities which function somewhat like the states in the US. Cantabria is a very small autonomous community with only one province (I am in the autonomous community Castilla y Leon in province Palencia).

My host mother decided that the best thing to do would be to drop me off at the Magdelene Peninsula so that I could explore the artificial beaches and the Palacio de la Magdalena. The Palacio de la Magdalena was previously used as a summer house for the royalty of Spain.

The weather was much better in Santander (not that it hasn’t been good in Aguilar) and I was able to wander in comfort without a jacket on. I explored the paths, chuckled at their “beaches” and admired the palace. All the pictures loaded with this post are from the Palacio de la Magdalena and the area around it.

As my host mother explained, the artificial beach is called la playa bikini because after being used for kings’ vacations, the palace was used as a summer school for a famous international university. The foreigners who came to Spain to go to the university wore bikinis on the beach which was unique to Spain at the time. Spaniards are NOT Hispanics. They are not the sexy Latina women that we think of as Spanish (not that they aren’t pretty). I haven’t seen cleavage since being here (even when jackets are off). Overall, dress and behavior is very conservative. More so than in the United States.

While exploring, a man asked me if I wanted a picture of myself. I said yes and after he took the picture he commented, “eres muy guapa”. From what I have experienced, men here are complimentary but also respectful. I repeat, Spanish culture is NOT Latino culture.

When my host mother was done with her appointment, she called me and then we met up. NOTE: this phone conversation was in Spanish except for one sentence. We spent the next half hour searching for parking. Once we finally found a spot, we explored the center of Santander. Mind you, this spot was so small, I had to get out of the car before she parked.

Right now in Spain, almost everything in all clothing stores is on sale. This is called “Rebajas” and it is over a month long nationwide sale. I tried on beautiful leather boots but they didn’t have my size in the color I wanted. 138euro boots for 55euros. Real leather. My host mother said that the store we were in is also in Burgos and Palencia (which we will be visiting in the future, before the rebajas are over).

It was so interesting to me because the streets had more people than cars. So different than Orlando or Sarasota. Also, fur and leather are much more common (and more reasonably priced) than they are in the US. Around 8 we headed back to the car because all the stores were closing. Because of my cold, both the drive there and back were uncomfortable because I could feel the pressure change in my head and ears (Aguilar is much higher than Santander).