Just ended my first full week here in Spain. Making a lot of progress in making a life here, but more to do as always.
JOBS: I have 2 institute job offers, that seem to be willing to work around my visa issues and find a loophole so I can get paid. Woohoo!! And I’m getting more responses about doing private classes. I hope those continue to come in! I have one official student so far. Arturo, retired and 58, hasn’t spoken english in about 15 years and picked up conversation with me immediately. I guess he still remembers enough! I also find it interesting how self-conscious people are about their language skills. Repeatedly wanting to be corrected, even when it’s really not necessary. But I guess that’s with me. People want to be perfect in how they speak so they don’t feel as foreign speaking the language. I love doing conversation classes because I like to lead the conversation into topics that I’ll gain something from too. We have 2 hours a week scheduled at around 10 euro per hour. Not much, but then again, I just have to listen, correct, and talk. I think sometimes people can charge more but I’m too nice and desperate for work at this point.
LANGUAGE: As for attempts to speak perfectly, I know how they feel too. While I am much more accepting and encouraging of confidence to people with low-levels of english, I am the same way with spanish. I want people to think – wow she’s a natural! and not have to work to understand me. There are a lot of people that are encouraging to me as well, telling me I speak well, which I will never grow old of hearing. I do need to do some more grammar and pronunciation study but I think practice is what helps me the most. The more I hear it, the more I hear how the words should be coming out of my own mouth. One thing I will always HATE though is when people tell me I sound funny or like a gringo. No thanks, you can keep those thoughts to yourself. However, if you tell me I sound Chilean, I will be beaming with pride!
SOCIAL LIFE: I met a few people from Couchsurfing this weekend which has made me feel a lot more comfortable that I’ll have friends here. The connecter – Nicolas, a french canadian who has lived here for about 2 years I think? Knows a million people… the two times I have hung out with him, he’s run into a ton of people he knows. Super friendly and knows Vitoria well… always a plus! Also met another Nick, who’s from the Boston area and lived here last year through a teaching program but now lives in another city. AND I met a girl who I seem to be following the life of! Katie is from Wisconsin (!!!!!), also spent time in Chile studying abroad, and has only been in Vitoria for 2 weeks. So we bonded immediately, and it’s nice to have someone else who is as new to this place as I am. She already found a bar that is called GREEN BAY AMERICAN BAR. So we’ll be heading there sometime soon of course.
Besides job-hunting, I’ve been trying to explore Vitoria little by little. And I’m moving slow enough, but I don’t really mind. I wandered more this weekend because there’s a Medieval fair this weekend with artesan and old school crafts and food all over the place. There’s an ice skating rink that I just learned about, so I will try to do some of that sometime this fall or winter. It’s already starting to get cold here! And the unfortunate part is that it’s a rainy type of cold too. I miss the desert!!!
Centro Civico provides me with free books and movies… I’ve already read through 2 books that everyone else seems to have read and I figured it was about time to do so. The Picture of Dorian Gray and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Hoping to continue a lot of reading. Cooking more too!!! Recipes and book recommendations are welcome please! And then I might pick up some other hobbies once I have a work schedule and money to invest. That’s the best part of having a routine…. figuring out what to do with the rest of your free time and using it well.