The fateful night, and the one and only outing of the bag.
Ahh Spain. It was bound to happen. All character building of course. Here’s how it went down.
It was Luc’s last night, June 5th, and we had all planned to go out that night as a big send off. I had been shopping in town earlier, and had brought my passport as ID for using my British debit card. I bought plane tickets home for a weekend to…
It’s already May. How the hell did that happen. In the last month, we have had a week off for Semana Santa (which was brilliant – so much going out, day drinking, night drinking, watching processions, Taco Bell…oh so good), enjoyed some skating on the dry river Guadalmedina courtesy of our men at Mañana, and even an international food feria in Fuengirola (which was just insane, even if I did hemorrhage money – it was so worth it).
Anyway, I got an email from WordPress today panicking as my blog was “receiving more traffic than usual today”…which I figure means people are being allocated their spots, or being told like I was around this time last year, that they simply have a place as a language assistant. So here is a list of things I wish I knew before coming to Spain (specifically Málaga) last year:
1. Usually it takes a while to be notified of exactly where you’re going to end up – totally normal and all you have to do is follow the instructions they give you. I emailed my coordinator as soon as I got the allocation email with her email address on it and she just responded eventually. It was all fine. Granted, it is a ball-ache, especially with huge chunks of waiting, but…Spain.
2. Finding somewhere to live is seriously not that difficult. Easypiso.com was my saviour, but I also had a gander on Erasmusu too, and I know that’s how my Spanish contingents in Ciudad Real found a place to live in England when they did their year abroad, so it might be an idea to use that too if you’re specifically looking for Spanish housemates. Worst comes to worst, if you find a place on EasyPiso and it isn’t what you expected/doesn’t exist, there are always hostels to stay in temporarily, often with other Language Assistants for company. Plus there are always flyers around advertising rooms/flats.
MALAGA SPECIFIC NOTEY THING: One of the things that confused me most before arriving was where exactly to live – I had never been to Spain and didn’t know anything about how transport would work should I have to commute anywhere. My advice would be that if Google tells you public transport can get you where you need to be in around 40 minutes or less, live in the city centre or thereabouts – it is SO worth it. I think the same can be said for the majority of cities here. I live near my school, 5 minutes walk away, but I easily could have lived in the historic centre because the buses are great during the day, plus it would have saved lots of money coming back from nights out.
3. People will not eat you if you get your Spanish wrong – there are always going to be tourists in Spain, and seriously, there could honestly not have been anyone worse at Spanish than me when I arrived, despite having the nerve to consider myself studying it. If you can master the phrase “Yo soy inglés/a”, perhaps with an additionally British “lo siento”, the majority of people will make an effort to speak slower and more simply for you. HOWEVER, I was under the wrong impression that the majority of people on the Costa del Sol would be able to speak coherent English. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Don’t embarrass yourself and make Spain hate you. TRY.
4. Being an English teacher at a Spanish school does not necessarily mean that they can speak it. The title seems to merely be a formality for a lot of teachers here, of course obviously there are a few who speak great English. But be prepared for mistakes, and people definitely not understanding you – speak slower people, particularly you Londoners; you’d be surprised how difficult your accents are sometimes, despite not being Northern.
5. DO NOT PACK EVERYTHING YOU OWN. You will NOT wear those trousers you still have that kind of almost fit, and you hope that one day,
if you lose a couple of pounds when you lose that Christmas weight you will eventually rework into your wardrobe. It’s stupid and it makes getting there and back an unnecessary stress. South of Spain is tricky as it’s hot when you arrive but then can be chilly in the winter, especially with flats not really being equipped for cold weather (unless your flat has air-con/heating, in which case you’re laughing). I made the mistake of bringing ALL of my crap. And now it’s all here. And I have to take it back. Without using my parents as pack horses. Idiot.
I think that’s about it. Hoping this helps any poor sods who are currently rejoicing like I was this time last year at finding out my comunidad autonoma, who will only be met shortly with impending dread at the realisation that they’re actually moving abroad in 3 months or so, with no exact idea where they’re going. Oh it’s coming. Like a freight train. Enjoy. You’re gonna love it.
Here follows proof of the joy I have had here recently with other assistants.
Also here is a song I like.
Things Brits should know before they invade Spain It’s already May. How the hell did that happen. In the last month, we have had a week off for Semana Santa (which was brilliant - so much going out, day drinking, night drinking, watching processions, Taco Bell…oh so good), enjoyed some skating on the dry river Guadalmedina courtesy of our men at Mañana, and even an international food feria in Fuengirola (which was just insane, even if I did hemorrhage money - it was so worth it).
It’s now getting to the point where wearing anything more than you would wear to the beach is too hot come midday, presenting problems regarding appropriateness at school. They did not seem pleased when I turned up in my bikini. Just kidding. I’m not a monster…although it is only April, so only time will tell.
Today was a lovely day; I finished school at 1.15pm as usual (pity me and my long, long…
Last Tuesday the school had the annual visit from a group of students and teachers from Adel Primary School in Leeds. Basically a day filled with workshops and food and displays of music and dance from each culture. Pretty standard.
The Wednesday before, Teresa, my coordinator had told me that she would be giving an introduction and welcome speech at the beginning of the day, when the school…
Us auxiliares are very lucky to have the timetables we do, or the majority of us anyway. From 11.15am on a Thursday I am free until Monday. Not only this but we have just had “Semana Blanca” or White Week, in Málaga only, where we had a week off for no particular reason. So I have decided to take full advantage of this and the fact that we get paid; so in Semana Blanca, Est, our friend David and I went to Prague, Czech Republic for three days and Vienna, Austria for two. Just because.
Prague was one of the most beautiful cities I have ever been to. Seriously. Everywhere you turn there is something that grabs your attention and makes you whip out your camera. Consequently I was that annoying person wandering around with my big Nikon hanging around my neck…made for some great photos of me! Plus the weather was not half as hideously cold as I/Google expected it to be, with temperatures around 9/10 degrees celsius for the three days we were there. Fantastic. St Vitus Cathedral was hands down the most breath taking building I have ever seen; we all just sat at looked at it as the sun went down for about 10 minutes. Plus goulash is one of the best foods ever, and don’t even get me started on the beer.
Vienna afterwards was a mistake, in that after Prague, nothing felt as awesome as that. So we got to Vienna and we were like “…meh”. Of course it was a perfectly nice city – it’s just a lot more cosmopolitan than Prague. Prague had things like Starbucks and McDonalds dotted around but they were nicely hidden under the pretty buildings and drowned out by the Gothic architecture, whereas in Vienna they were very prominent, with neon signs jutting out everywhere and the shop fronts covered in gaudy plastic. The Belvedere Palace was beautiful, as was the Viennese Ferris wheel at night…it just wasn’t quite Prague.
Seville was the result of poor planning and a lack of desire to be bound to go to a party with a return trip home only starting at 11am the following morning. Everybody recommended Cádiz as the place to go to see carnaval, but I personally don’t really enjoy that sort of thing for more that 3 hours – would happily see it for a couple of hours if I could get back easily, but it didn’t work out that way! So last Wednesday I suggested to Esther that we go to Seville, since it has a direct line from Málaga and the train tickets were only 18.90 euros each, staying in a hostel obviously. Luc decided to come on Saturday rather than Friday. What followed was a great weekend filled with tapas, flamenco, beer, lots of hot, HOT sunshine and ice cream. Sevilla is a gorgeous city, and I definitely need to live there at some point.
There are so many more places I need to visit, like Cordoba, Cádiz obviously, Barcelona, Valencia…the list goes on. Think this is a good start to that.
This song was on repeat on the way there and back from Seville. No particular reason other than that I love it.Viajeros http://wp.me/s2oUJT-viajeros Us auxiliares are very lucky to have the timetables we do, or the majority of us anyway.