Thursday, March 22, 2012

Soooo Riojano

Insert normal comment about how I’ve neglected my blog. So much time has passed that I’m just going to list and explain all the highlights. Since returning from Paris, I can honestly say I’ve had a rewarding month. I was able to do a few things that many will never be able to do. Here in Logroño, they may seem normal…but to me, they’re extraordinary.
  • ·      THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO: Towards the beginning of the month, a group of friends and I decided to walk a portion of the Camino de Santiago. For those who don’t know, the Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage that can take over a month to complete (if you’re walking) the Camino goes through Northern Spain; one side of the country to the other and at the end, pilgrims reach Santiago de Compostela or St. James’ Cathedral. My friends and I did a half-day walk in the opposite direction and left La Rioja and entered Navarra. Although in reality Navarra is not far from Logroño, maybe less than 10 minutes by car, it still felt really cool to walk into another Spanish region. After entering Navarra, we went off the beaten path and had a picnic. It was such a lovely day and a very memorable experience. We finished it up by going to our friend’s rugby game, to which I understood none of the rules and was confused throughout the entire match.

  • ·      LA GRAJERA: The following weekend, my friends and I went to La Grajera. La Grajera is a park slightly removed from the city. The Camino de Santiago runs through this park. It was a nice escape from the city; there is a lake and a play area for children. Just as we did the week before, we had a picnic together. It was a very relaxing day. In fact, this coming Friday my schools will be taking a fieldtrip to La Grajera, so it’ll be my second opportunity to go!

  • ·     LOGROÑES-MIRANDES: A large group of us went to a fútbol match. (A soccer game) Logroño vs. Miranda de Ebro and let me tell you, people take their soccer seriously here. We had to get dressed up in Logroño’s colors, pre-game in the single bar in Miranda de Ebro that was reserved for Logroño fans, and sing chants the ENTIRE day. I’m not lying. From the time we entered the bar until the very end when Logroño lost, we were singing chants. NO EXAGGERATION. They lost and STILL fans were cheering/singing/chanting as though they had won. We foreigners didn’t actually chant since we didn’t know what they were saying in each chant, so basically as an enormous Rioja flag was being passed above our heads and around the fan section, we hummed along to the tunes. Although they lost, it was definitely an experience!

Those mini trips were the highlights of my month, but of course I have school stories! In Arrúbal, a new student has arrived and every time I go into that classroom I feel sad for her. She is 5 years old; she is from Morocco and has two cousins that also attend the school in Arrúbal. However, unlike her cousins, she speaks absolutely no Spanish.  The first day, she would sporadically cry. Let’s be honest, I would be crying the entire day if I were her. A new school where you don’t speak the language?? Preschool was tough enough as it was. I think about her often and I’m hoping the transition will start to be a little easier. It helps she has family in Arrúbal.

Also very important is the arrival of the new English teacher, Maria. She is currently Juana’s sub. She arrived early to mid February and had I kept up with my blog, I would have divulged this information weeks ago. Maria is a fantastic asset to the school, and thus far I’ve loved working with her. She’s very committed to English, she acknowledges that she needs to fine-tune it and as a result we more or less only speak English to one another outside of class. She always wants me to correct her because it is her goal as an English teacher to become fluent in English. As I said, very dedicated. I’m thrilled to be working with her; she is a terrific teacher.

Recently, we had another faculty dinner. Like always, it was extremely fun. We had Italian, which besides Mexican food, is my favorite food! This time however, another school also joined us: C.R.A. Entre Viñas. Apparently, our school always does at least one dinner with this school. A friend of mine works as an Auxiliar there, but she was in Valencia during the dinner. The following day was St. Patrick’s Day and that meant temporarily ignoring the fact I was in Spain and acknowledging my Irish roots. Of course, American celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day aren’t an accurate portrayal of the Irish, BUT nonetheless I wore green and drank Guinness. We even found an Irish pub in Logroño. Despite the fact that we celebrated in a non-English speaking country, we had a great time.

I think I’ve covered everything more or less; I must try to be better at keeping up with my blog, because the end of the year is not too far away. We have Easter break coming up and guess where I’m going…THAT’S RIGHT…MALLORCA!!! I can’t wait to go back and see my Spanish family. Hopefully, I’ll have an update before Mallorca!!