The Lost Week: Nov. 28- Dec.4

7 Dec

Okay, you’ve got me. I am posting a disgusting amount of posts at the same time. I imagine that this is highly frowned upon in the world of blogging. For the record, I do write the posts every week, but I always put off posting them as I agonize over the pictures that I chose, the stories that I am telling, and whether or not I am being entertaining enough for the masses. But, that stops now. From here on out, I will write from the heart and with my charming sense of humor, and hope that it is good enough for you. But for now, enjoy scrolling through what has been my life for the past month and a half. It’s been a riot. If nothing else, I hope that I am offering you a decently entertaining way to procrastinate for finals/projects/papers. After all, that’s what I’m here for.

And, it is also the end of the semester at IE University, which means that suddenly I have become a very popular person. Like most American college students, my students didn’t think to much about my existence for the last few months, but now, everyone wants to spend time with me. I’m pretty sure that my time will never be more coveted than it is now. (At least until next semester when the number of writing courses increases dramatically). Anyway, my week was swamped with student meetings. On Thursday alone, I met with 10 students in 5 hours. I managed to squeeze in a few bites of lunch between two of the students, and that was my break for the day.

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My feelings on Thursday

While I love reading and giving feedback on writing, it is definitely more challenging to do so for students who are writing in their second language. In addition to helping them understand where they can improve their writing, I also have to make sure that they understand what I am saying and what my comments are. It is definitely a more difficult experience, but also a rewarding one, especially when I see student papers for a third time and the student actually listened to me and my advice.

I had two nice classes this week with my adult students. A great man once said that “All the world’s a stage,” but for me, my conversation classes are my stage. Let me tell you, those are some lucky students. I used this week as the opportunity to chat about my family’s Thanksgiving traditions. My students were floored by the fact that we eat dinner on Thanksgiving in the earlier afternoon. These classes are some of my favorite parts of the week because it offers a chance for true cultural exchange. For instance, I was introducing some idioms to them this week, one of which was “When pigs fly.” I learned that in Spanish, they have a phrase that means the same thing except it is “When the frogs grow hair.” The little connections like that make me laugh. We also discussed pronunciation of words this week and I learned that I pronounce the word Newark oddly (that is the New Jersey Newark, not the Delaware one). Most people (including the Spanish ones) say “New-erk” and I, for some reason, say “Nork”. I blame my parents. My students did find it funny that there is a “New-erk” in New Jersey, but a “New-ark” in Delaware. They really learn a lot of applicable information from me.

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Holidays and sunsets in Segovia

So why was this week a lost week? The answer is that life has been feeling pretty monotonous and as the date of my return home approaches, I am thinking more and more about heading home. While I love the experience of being in another country, and Madrid certainly knows how to do Christmas with all of the lights and decorations, this time of year makes me crave tradition, time with family and friends, and an American Christmas season. Honestly, some days it is hard to push through the monotony and remember to enjoy the experience. It’s true that I am so lucky to be partaking in this experience, seeing the things that I am seeing, doing the things that I am doing, and having the experiences that I am having. I’m thankful for this opportunity daily. But, at the same time, life isn’t always glamorous. In fact, most days it is pretty boring as I force myself out of bed, run, work, eat dinner and go to bed. Sometimes all I want to do is go home or be back in Delaware eating all I can eat at CR Dining Hall or discussing the Bachelor in the Russell RA staff office. And so, I spent a lot of this week in my head (when I wasn’t reading or discussing essays, that is) thinking about the past and thinking about the future.

I’m lucky to be surrounded by people who help make the tough weeks a little bit better. For instance, the Elf on the Shelf (Sparkles) came back to our house last week, so I am often greeted by a picture of him in the mornings. Friends who make me laugh from across an ocean. I explored the Madrid cuisine scene a bit more this week with some great friends as we tried tacos, carrot cake, and stuffed flounder. (Side note: if you ever order pudding in Spain, it’s actually like cake. Learned that one from personal experience).

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One of the many elf pictures that I receive in the morning

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“Pudding” in Spain

For those of you back home, drink some Dunkin iced coffee for me, eat some Christmas cookies, and watch some Christmas specials on TV. I’m eagerly awaiting the day when I can do all of these things in front of my lovely, lit up Christmas tree. With the clock ticking on the last few weeks before I am due to go home for the holidays, I am trying to live more in the present, appreciate the moments that I have here in Spain, and have some entertaining experiences that I can detail back to you all. Thanks for sticking with me through the exciting weeks and the not-so-exciting ones.

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Some Christmas in Madrid

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