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Archive for October, 2008

Un, deux, trois, crap…

Today, Beth and I started French lessons with Marie (another person who I will mention most frequently), our dear friend from Belgium. As with learning any new language, one must start with the basics. So at 4:00 Spanish time, if you would have walked below the flat on Padre Manjón street in Sevilla, you would have heard 2 twentysomethings reciting the letters of the alphabet in French, along with numbers 1-10. The most humbling moment in the experience was when Beth looked at me and said:

“This is what we did today in English class with our second graders: numbers 1-10.”

Smarter than a second grader? Not quite yet…ask us in a few months.


“Aerobics teachers? No… we talk.”

Bueno… 5 days here and I hit the ground running. My arrival in Spain was quite normal: after being picked up by the principals of the school, I was then taken to the high school where I unloaded my two “body bags” as they like to call them (muertos), and proceeded to make the rounds at my school, jet lagged and all. How’s that for a first day at work?!

Since then, my friend Beth (who I will refer to almost incessantly from here on out) and I had quite an adventure wandering the streets looking for signs for flats to rent. I don’t know if it’s something about being in another country, or the fact that if you don’t do things yourself, they won’t get done. Either way, my first day out I had to break down my barriers to be bolder and step out of that comfort zone I’ve been in for the past four months.

Searching for a flat is not easy. Searching for a flat in another country is more difficult. But searching for one in another language has to top all! However, I’ve surprised myself with how easy it is to approach some unknown bartender or storeowner and ask if they know of any flats for rent in the area. What’s even MORE surprising would be that every person we’ve asked minus one has had a suggestion. Astounding! Results?
Flats seenfrom us asking the locals: 4.
Legitimate flats seen by us calling the number on our own: 1.
Now, all of the 4 were absolutely, completely out of our price range (3 were gutted and renovated completely and in the best neighborhoods of the city)… but hey- that motto “it never hurts to ask” has proven to be true in this case.

Now, let me bring you to one of the adventures in flat hunting. On Friday at breakfast, we asked the bartenders at our local breakfast joint if they had heard of anything for rent in the area. They happened to have the number of a certain “Borja” who was renting a place up the road. So, we call said “Borja”, get the number of his friend “Rafa” to see the flat and call him to set up an appointment. Upon calling him and setting a time and place, giving him details (“I’m wearing a green t-shirt, my friend has on a purple dress…”), this joker asks me: “¿Quién es la má guapa?” (who is the best looking?).. WHAT? WHO in the world actually asks that? Obviously this guy! Setting the mood for the rest of the flat appointment. We arrive at the building, and this old Sevillano about 58, hair around the circumference of his head and a bald spot covering the top half, a salt and pepper mustache, hair coming out of his ears and nose, squinty hamster eyes, a collared shirt un-buttoned with hair coming out the top and buttons straining over a big belly to match the rodent-esque characteristics, walks up with a motorbike helmet to take us to the flat. Long story short, we go in, look around, tell him it’s not what we were looking for, make small talk and here’s how it pans out:

Hamsterly Rafa: Pues, ¿que haceis aqui en Sevilla?
(So, what do y’all do here in Sevilla?)

Beth: Somos profesoras. Yo en Tomares, ella en el centro en Nervión.
(We’re teachers. I’m in Tomares and she (me) is in the center in Nervión.

Hamsterly Rafa: ¿Profesoras de aeróbicas?
(Aerobics teachers?)

Beth (a bit confused): Mmmmm.. ¿Cómo?

Hamsterly Rafa: Porque teneis unos cuerpos perfectos.
(Oh… because you have perfect bodies)

Beth (clearly disgusted): No- de ingles. Hablamos.
(Ummm.. no- of English. We talk).

Then the Hamsterly Rafa chuckles, clearly proud of the (terrible) joke he just made and make off to get back to the Flat Hunt, business cards from Rafa in hand. So… interesting first day on the Flat Hunt. Surely there will be more to come…

Hello World!

Well… I’ve done it! No, I didn’t buy a new car, and I didn’t sign up for a 401K (though I should…). No, I’ve finally given into that craze: “blogger-mania”. For a while I refused to create a blog, but often found myself on blogsites of friends, secretly wanting to create one to appease that inner nerd of mine. I finally have a good reason, and it’s as much for myself as it is for the people I love. In an effort to better document my adventures, be them in daily life or special circumstances, I’ll be posting thoughts and photos here. This way, you can get the scoop and it’s easy as pie: just save me in your favorites!

That being said, tomorrow I ship off to begin my final year as an English teaching assistant in Sevilla, Spain. I’ll be at the same school I’ve been at for the past 2 years, hopefully ending my time here properly while finding a bit of direction for my vagabond life. In the meantime, I hope to give you a little insight into what my life looks like in Sevilla; not just the amazing coffee, the wonderful music, an exotic culture, or the delicious food, but also the struggles and eye-opening experiences that take place. So, feel free to stop by here every now and then, and don’t be stranger- write me every now and then to fill me in on your life!  Ciao for now.