Friday, October 7, 2011

A Typical Day in Arevalo

Greetings from Arevalo!  The past few weeks have been spent settling in and figuring out how in the world to be an English teacher.  But now I finally seem to be getting the hang of things and have time to blog.  Daily life in Arevalo is kind of like daily life in a very small town in the U.S.--with a three hour nap worked into the middle.  My routine is as follows:

1)      I walk to school around 10:30. We found a shortcut and now the walk is only around 10 minutes.  At school I spend 3-4 hours a day assisting different teachers with their subjects.  I work at a bilingual school so even classes like P.E. and music are taught in English.  My favorite subject so far is music.  The students are singing and choreographing the scene “America” from West Side Story to perform at their Christmas talent show.  I’m putting my chorus nerd skills to good use.  I suppose my job is to make sure they are pronouncing the words right and understand the lyrics, etc.  Translating from English to Spanish can be difficult sometimes.  The line, “Put that in your pipe and smoke it” proved to be pretty confusing.  Mainly my job is to get the students talking and interacting in English since that is the best way to learn another language.  The “peques” (little kids) are great to teach because they look at you like an American rockstar and think everything you do is way cool.  The older teenagers are more of a challenge.  I have discovered that the jaded, sullen attitude of 16 year olds transcends all borders.
2)      There is a 20 minute break during the day where all the English teachers walk across the street to the bar and get café con leche or café solo.  (So Spanish! Love it!)
3)      After school is siesta from 2-5.  Yes, three hours during the middle of the day where EVERYTHING is closed.  Being American and used to 24 hour Walmarts has not helped us acclimate very well to this tradition.  If you don’t have any food in your house prior to siesta then you are going to be out of luck and hungry.  But hey, that is a good way to lose the pooch you obtained from always having access to food in America! (Ex. 3am chicken finger Cookout tray)  Always have to look at the bright side, right?!  We are finally learning to plan accordingly and even found a supermercado open during siesta. (Qué raro!)
4)      After siesta (which is usually spent watching MTV dubbed in Spanish) we go to the gym that is directly beneath our apartment.  We figured that if we are going to be in a small town with not a whole lot to do, we might as well be fit!  Plus, all of this delicious fresh bread, fried chorizo and napping is not conducive to a svelte waistline.  The gym is named Body-Kan.  So many times I think, my Body Kan’t!  But now I am motivated to think, my Body Kan!  The gym is the only place we have found where people our age congregate in this town.  Maybe someone will see me at the gym and say, “I want to be bff with that tomato-faced Americana!” (maybe???!!)

Our landlords Paco and Carmen have been so great.  One Saturday, Carmen made us a huge Spanish dinner complete with fried chorizo, copious amounts of ham, palomas (pastries filled with crab salad..for a while I thought I was eating dove and was disturbed), melon, tortilla, croquetas (fried yumminess) and lemon meringue for dessert.  Their daughter Lidia has really taken us poor American girls under her wing and introduced us to her friends and taken us out with her on the weekends.  They even called me on my birthday and Carmen was outraged to know that I hadn’t had cake or anybody sing to me!
            We finished the huge dinner at Carmen’s house around 11:30pm and then Lydia went upstairs to get ready for the night.  Meanwhile, their 16 year old son went out and they told us his curfew was 3am.  I loled so hard and told them my mom’s philosophy in high school was “nothing good happens after midnight”.  They laughed and said that they barely finished eating dinner by midnight!!  We went out with Lidia and her girlfriends around 12:30 and hung out at the local bars until the disco opened at 3ish.  We should have brought business cards with us to the disco because once people found out we spoke English, all they wanted to do was practice with us!  Or I should say they wanted to “practise” with us because everyone here speaks British English.
            Annie and I are kind of like D list celebs in this town.  We walk into a room and everyone looks at us, giggles and murmurs in low voices to each other but nobody really likes us enough to come up and speak.  Like maybe if you saw Rick Flair walking down the street. (WOO!!)  The awkward thing about living and teaching secondary school in a small Spanish town is that the disco here is filled with your alcohol-imbibing students.  The kids who aren’t old enough to get into the bars have “botellon” which is basically just a large group of underage kids drinking in the street.  It is pretty hilarious to see the embarrassed Monday morning faces of the older kids who straight act a fool on Saturday nights.  However, my students will be relieved to know that it is my absolute goal to spend as many weekends away from Arevalo as I can.  I do like my little town, but I didn’t come to Spain to hang out at discos with high schoolers…I came here to travel!! 

Please see the above ^^ post for pictures of my weekend in Madrid.

            You buy fruit at the fruit store, bread at the bread store, meat at the meat store—a simple concept, but easier said than done.  Spanish life is totally opposite in most ways than my usual American life but I am learning to embrace my inner tranquila chiquita (not such a hard task, right?!) and enjoy this once in a lifetime experience.  If you have any recommendations of places for me to travel, advice is very welcome!

Hasta luego!


  1. “I want to be bff with that tomato-faced Americana!” best.line.ever

  2. and I still maintain that NOTHING good happens after midnight. oh my...this had me in stitches! Love it...and YOU!

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  4. You're making me want to quit my job and hop on the next plane to Espana. I was at work until 8pm tonight. Luckily b/c I live in the big apple I was able to make 8:30 yom kippur services. I was also lucky enough to see a gentleman get a tattoo of a thumbs down on his tooshie. I also found 2 chairs and a side table for my kitchen. Stream of consciousness complete.

    I laughed so hard at >>> The gym is named Body-Kan. So many times I think, my Body Kan’t! But now I am motivated to think, my Body Kan!

    I remembered why we are friends/married.

    Rock on putti.