Monday, September 27

Airport Song and Dance

My brain is tired already and I've only been "traveling" for two hours. My first flight is already delayed to NYC by an hour (thankfully my connecting flight to Malaga isnt until 7pm... will stress about that later). I am still staying positive and this flight will get off in time and I will have time in NYC to make my narcissistic powerpoint presentation about me and MN and also still have the energy to study verb conjugations on the overnight flight. Or watch an insane amount of movies and therefore not sleep... but FREE movies that you have control over. I really hope each seat has their own screen. Maybe I will be able to play tetris or some trivia game too- I'm excited.

The Last Night
Last night was my breakdown, where it finally hit me that I am moving to a country where I can barely speak the language, the closest person I know is several hours away and that there is going to be a General Strike throughout all of Spain the day after I get there. Hopefully, I will not have to travel much on that day. But I am going...

My dad said something interesting at breakfast the other day: I began my habit of "starting over" way back in 6th grade when I decided against going to Ramsey Jr. High School where everyone else at my elementary school was going. Instead, I went to the far east side of STP (which I had never been over there before) to Cleveland "Quality" Middle School. Then I kinda did it again for high school, then London for Uni and then transfered to Toronto. It isnt the most comfortable thing to do, but I guess it is a habit I cannot quit. However, I think this move has been the hardest. 

I was quite impressed that I was able to pack everything I wanted into my two suitcases, even though one of them is slightly larger than I had planned. (I have to thank Annie specifically for helping me organize- without her I might still be in the middle of my room with clothes piled up on all sides.) I have some interesting materials about MN, some games, these crazy flyers about animals and some other random things. It was alot of fun going through all of our old games, toys and books; looking for  things that could possibly interest 12 year old Spanish kids.

The Dream
When I first found out that I was teaching in Almuñécar, I had this crazy dream about my arrival there. In the dream, I was somehow magically transported to the city (without planes and heavy luggage- but I still had all my belongings). There I met my principal and it turned out that I would be living in his guest house. If you have seen a map of Almuñécar, you will notice a pennisula to the west of the city, where I believe the fortress is. In my dream, that was where his house was. It was just beautiful- white walls, bright blue sky and water, palm trees, lots of colorful flowers and an amazing patio that connected the guest house to the main house. I was so excited to be near the water, I ran straight down to it.

To get to the beach and we had to pass a house full of, what appeared to be, American college students. Then the danger started! There were a bunch of snakes and jellyfish on the beach, ones that are hard to see and of various sizes... but most were big. Despite being invited into the American house for dinner, I could not get there and I couldnt get back to the guest house either. I woke up right after I looked down to see a giant snake wrap around my leg. 

Scary... Hopefully that wont be what happens when I get there in about 16 hours. 

Saturday, September 25

In 48 Hours...

... I will be starting my journey to Spain. It still doesn't feel real. I still have alot to do such as pack, clean my room, find some money and cook my parents a thank you dinner tonight. 

Last night I spoke to this man at the Kitty Kat Club and he pretty much said I would not be a good teacher because I "did not study under the tutelage of an ESL/EFL teacher for the past three months." But since then, I learned from Paco (the coordinator for the bilingual program at my school - it's its first year doing this!) my main job is just to speak English to the students (who are 12 years old) and also help the teachers practice it. I might get to help teach PE, Music (I pity them... my singing is pretty bad but my recorder skills are the bomb), Science, Math and of course, English.

The fact I received an email from my school does make this a bit more real in my mind. And if Almunecar is a bit too small, many of the other professors live in Granada which is about an hour away (by Paco's calculation). So who knows! I might move there and away from the beach. But that is a decision for later.

Now I must get back to my vague planning, watching bad TV, data entry and answering phone calls at the Museum. My last day working here, and I am happy I will miss out on the next special exhibit because from what information we have now, reservations is going to be crazy complicated.  

Thursday, September 23

The Beginning

I have succumbed to the horrors of blog writing in honor of my leaving the United States and moving to a beach town in southern Spain. Now all my friends will be able to read all about the everyday mundane things in paragraph form instead of via facebook status updates. Yay!

Happy? I am... I promise to try to update this thing as much as possible with interesting content and pretty pictures. 

So yes... now for the interesting (maybe) content! 

The Visa Struggle:
Well, I just got back from driving to Chicago to pick up my visa/passport from the Spanish Consulate. This is the second time for this trip because the Consulate requires you to turn into your application in person if applying for a student visa. Psah! However, I did get to see a lot of interesting things on the way. My favorites were the large tattooed man rubbing lotion on his belly, the powdered blue car with bright yellow rims and driving past all the lightening bugs. 

I wish the Spanish Consulate was more like the Canadian, where I could just fly to the city where I am going to live, turn in minimal paperwork and then walk out with a visa for 4 years. But no... never... I had to get a legalized police report from every city I have lived in for 6+ months in the past 5 years. This is a hole of my own digging, since I did choose to live in London and Toronto. And since Canada didn't sign the Hague Convention (I learned a lot about this through the process... could write a paper on it) there was an additional couple steps. What I thought was crazy was the differing processing times for the three police reports: Saint Paul 5 minutes, Toronto 2 weeks, London 40 days. 

This visa cost me about $587 (800-ish if you include the speeding ticket) to get. However, compared to the hoops that foreign nationals that want to work in the US, that is tiny. Still a pain though, but the visa is in my hand now and I am ready to continue on the second stage of the Visa Struggle.  

The Prize from the Struggle:
325 Days of Sunshine... in Almuñécar, Spain. A small town of 25,000 people (which doubles in the summer from all the British tourists). Once I am there, I will give you more information. Because that is about all I know about the town so far... unless you want me to give you a history lesson... scary!

Last Days in STP:
As usual, I left most things to the very last minute to do, but everything will get organized sooner or later. Going to go to the Renissance Fair(e) on Sunday. I am somewhat sad that I never made it to the Spam Museum or the Jelly Belly one. I am gathering as much stuff I think is unique to Minnesota and could possibly be enjoyed by students abroad. Or I could just bring a gallon of ludefisk, a hot dish cookbook and a 6 pack of Grainbelt. I am going to miss the microbreweries here (I know that Grainbelt isn't a microbrewery). 

But more so, I will miss all my friends here. But I hope they all will keep in contact or even come visit me! I believe I have a trundle bed in my apartment 100m from the beach (More on that on a later post - I was really lucky in finding this place!)

Once I get home tonight, I will have to drink some in celebration while doing my laundry and cleaning my room in preparation for my eminent departure. And for Kayla... I will buy a pint of either Apple Sorbet or Mexican Chocolate Fiesta ice cream from Izzy's.