A Travellerspoint blog

El Escorial and Course work

The white flag is up, this is the final lap

A little nascar reference there. Not too much to update. I got my feedback on my course that I taught last week and was monitered during. He said I'm going to make an excellent teacher and that I'm very engaging, but tend to lecture a little too much... it was more of a shortcoming of the topic (US government) than anything, but compared to some of the reviews other students in the class got, I'm fine with that.

Anyway, Sunday was a pretty cool day for me. One brit in my class, Sarah, she and I became pretty good friends and her "bloke" (yeah you figure out what that means) was in town for the weekend. Anyway the three of us went up to El Escorial yesterday (Sunday) for the day and walked among the tombs of Philip II And Charles V, as well as countless other spanish monarchs. It was pretty cool. I got a good picture of Philip's living quarters and some of his maps of the world... I wish I could post them.

Sarah also had a huge going away party friday night where the whole class got together. Fortunatley my friend sent me ONE picture of Joe(the blokes name) and I chatting, which I am going to attempt to post after I put up this blog. Everyone got fairly "pissed" that night, so its not the best picture of me, but we were having a good time.

Back to Sunday now, Probably as much fun was talking politics (specifically the war in Iraq) with Joe we did have a 45 minute train ride each way. He was very against it and couldn't believe how well I could articulate a position for the war until I told him I had a radio show. They were both really cool people and its nice to know I have a place to stay up in Manchester, should I "fancy a holiday to Britian." I am strongly considering it, they told me that a ferry over to Ireland from Manchester is only about 20 round trip. I could do a weekend and a day up there,go through london, stay in Manc for the night, go over to Ireland for a day or so, and come back to Madrid. The question, remains, when.

Which brings back to my job. The course ends this friday and I give them my CV on Wed. Aparently everyone gets a job and we'll be having phone calls for interviews on friday and will have something figured out by early the following week. It sounds as though we will all be working for about three diferent companies for about 10 hours a week, a total of 30 hours, with timing flexibility. The beautiful thing about this course is that its one of the most reputable in Spain, so companies not even associated with EBC do their best to hire its graduates, so even if for whatever reason EBC's sister company doesn't work out, I'll have a job.

So 30 hours a week, with a flexible schedule = travelling soon, hopefully. I'm going to check out the job scene before I make any definite plans, but I'm already thinking Paris and Rome...London and Dublin... maybe as far as Vienna. Who knows!

Also I got a haircut, finally, here in Spain. What a proccess THAT was. Try to imagine explaining to someone in spanish to "cut your sideburns." I don't even know how to say scissors. I think he did a fairly good job all things considered

I do miss you all a lot and am still fairly homesick, I hear it gets worse before it gets better. You all know my email addy, Send me some email.

Anyway I gotta get going, I'm exhausted and am thinking about a nap. I was up early today picking up a package from the post office (Thank you!!!).

Keep in touch folks.

Posted by JohnnyPing 10:33 Archived in Spain

Madrid, week 3

To settle, to unsettle

Hello Friends and Fellow Americans--

So here's an update for you guys. To begin with I'm not sick anymore, thank God. That was misery, I'm feeling a lot better right now. I would also like to lead off by telling you all about www.skype.com If you have a mic and speakers, get on skype. Its a free way of communicating with phone like quality. Its awesome and its free. You can also make calls to land lines and phone lines at cheap cheap rates. Its my prefered way of communicating long distance. So get skype and give me a call (username: JohnnyPing).

So the last week has gone very well, though I find myself surprisingly homesick. Teaching is going well. I have a lesson in an hour, teaching beginners about restaurants and ordering food. I was observed while teaching yesterday a group of advanced students. We compared and contrasted the US and Spanish governments and then I had an activity where I had them create their own type of government. It was very cool.

The Apt is fine, though my friend Rueben left today early. Its really a shame because while I didn't understand a lot (any) of what he said, this last week I understood him perfectly well, about 100% and we watched family guy, scarry movie, and other funny movies in Spanish and laughed a lot together. We went out last night for a couple of copas and tapas to celebrate his last night. Its nice to know that I have a place to stay in Galicia if ever want to go. In addition Sara, the italian, left for malaga today and will be down there for 5 days before coming back for only one more night and then she goes back to italy. Its very sad, I was just getting comfortable and settled with these guys and they are leaving. The french pair moved in this past week and they seem nice. Their names are Nadia and Sergio. Nadia speaks spanish very well (and spanish with a french accent just sounds silly to me), but I've got some communication issues with Sergio. He speaks english and spanish as well as I speak French... pretty much not at all. So talking to him remains a challenge.

Also unsettling is the fact that my class is winding down and a lot of the people who I've become close with in this class are going back to their respective countries OR to the south of Spain. I think only like 3 people who I know are staying here in Madrid to teach english. So its a little frustrating to have finally made some friends here and have them go, but c'est la vie I suppose.

No plan for the weekend yet. Probably going to go out and dance and drink a little with classmates or pisomates... and then a lot of work for my last week of class next week. Then its off to work and figuring out a schedule and planning travel trips around Europe.

OH and how about those METS. I bought a subscription for 7 (US) bucks to get all of their games broadcasted like they are on the radio. They are archived so I can listen to their night games the next day (as it is, I'm currently listening to game four and the attempted sweep against the diamondbacks... 2-1 in the eigth...phew)

So thats all folks. I miss you all very much and please get SKYPE and email me and we can talk sometime. Take it easy


Posted by JohnnyPing 08:01 Archived in Spain

Madrid, week 2

Pace: Greuling, Rations: bare bones

And the result? John has dysentary. For those of you who missed it, that was a reference to oregon trail. I'm sorry I haven't posted before today, I know a lot of you are reading this and wondering where I've been. The answer is right here, pretty sick.

The wheels pretty much came off for me tuesday at about 3 when I excused myself early from my class feeling a little under the weather. I took a 4 hour nap and didn't feel much better when I woke up. I went to bed early and was in bed for 14 hours. While that may seem like a lot, I woke up every 4 hours with a high fever and the chills. That pattern continued through Wed and I finally managed to break the fever at about midnight on Wed. I went to bed and was struck with a pretty bad lower GI problem that kept me sidelined all day thursday, though I did run in to teach a class thursday afternoon.

Went to bed early last night and finally got a good nights sleep, with only one minor insomnia problem at about 2 AM which might have just had to do with the fact that I'd been resting too much the past couple of days.

Anyway I took it easy and slept in today again, despite the fact that I'm feeling a lot better. Still I have pain a little pain in my abdomen, but its small and is a lot less frequent than yesterday. I was going to get up early and see a doctor today, but when I Got up I realized I was feeling a lot better and probably resting would be more useful than seeing a doctor...and it would also save me maybe a couple hundred bucks (I will be purchasing health insurance this weekend. Little question.)

In any event I suppose thats been it for me this week. My lesson on Thursday was amazing. I had a class of 6 people, stuck right with the lesson plan and got them very into it. It was nice, they were laughing and learning and even clapped for me afterwords. I think I was getting inspiration from fever hallucinations.

This weekend should be pretty down, I plan on resting a lot and watching a lot of poorly dubbed american movies that my piso-mate Ruben has...all completely bootlegged. Its amazing.

Keep the emails coming folks.

Fin (not my name)

Posted by JohnnyPing 03:58 Archived in Spain

Teaching and the weekend

Its pretty insane

Friends and Fellow Americans--

Ok so time for another quick update. It’s been a hell of a weekend, and its just about time to start writing up my lesson plans which are due on Monday.

Anyway, let’s go back. Like my last entry said, my first teaching experience was on Thursday with an advanced class of one person. My lesson plan was designed for at least three. Fortunately I wasn't being watched, so I just talked to him for an hour and we sort of compared and contrasted Madrid. What I forgot to mention in my last post was that I was eating right before my class and a bird crapped on me. I couldn't believe it! On my nice button down shirt. Fortunately I got that cleaned up and reminded myself that that was sign of good luck.

None of which I would have on Friday. Again I was supposed to have an advanced class, this time I prepare a lesson plan that is for 1 or 2 people. So now I have two lesson plans, one for 1-2 people and one for 3+ people so that I'm fairly confident that I can handle whatever advanced class gets thrown at me. But alas, it was not meant to be. I get one student again and I quickly determine that the school messed up and gave me a beginner. And by beginner I mean she spoke English as well as I speak Sudanese. So much for comparing and contrasting poetry and listening to musicals.

So long story short I had to completely ditch my lesson plan and come up with a lesson off the top of my head, while being watched. It was a rough hour, and despite having nothing, I think it went pretty well, we did telling time in English, travel, and some grammar on forming the present simple and present continuous and when you use them. After the class I went up to Robert, who was watching me and told him that was supposed to be advanced, he said, I know, I was going to step in, but you had it handled, so that made me feel a little bit better.

Quite a second teaching experience. Friday night it was time to go out and blow off some steam. So the whole class went out and went from bar to bar, getting free shots of mostly fruit-punch. I had my flask with rum in it (Thank you Katie Aldrich) so I made a night of it and shared the wealth. We ended up salsa/meringue dancing for about 3 hours till 4 AM and then I was home.

Yesterday I went to the Prado with my piso mates and we saw all the good ones, goya, Velázquez and el Greco. I love Goya's dark paintings. By far the best. Last night it was out again, this time we pregamed at my friend Dina's place and there were only 5 of us. We went to a couple of bars and tried to get into our salsa/meringue place. It cost 8 euros so we were like no thanks. Pretty much we just bar hopped. It was fun...

Today "el rastro" happened right outside. It’s a weekly flea market where venders pretty much open up little stands and look to sell stuff ranging from CDs to Watches to wallets to clothes. I wondered around there for a while....and that’s about it.

Anyway the Aldrich’s are going to be in Italy at the end of the month and thanks to easyjet, I've found some pretty cheap flights and am thinking about joining up with them. If I can teach twice on Thursday instead of once on Friday, that'd give me a 3 day weekend, enough time to at least see what’s going on. Plans are already in the works among some of my friends from Georgia to fly to Munich after our class ends and euro-rail back to Spain, stopping wherever along the way. (19 EUROS one way to MUNICH from Madrid. 19!!) So that will prolly happen.

I suppose that’s it, It’s been a fun week. You guys make sure to keep the emails coming; I want to know what’s going on with you all.


Posted by JohnnyPing 05:43 Archived in Spain

Más sobre Calle Juanelo

I forgot one thing

So I did laundry for the first time and the dryer was crap, I put it through twice, no luck, then I remembered my window looks right into the center of the building. I´m not sure how to describe it other than four connected buildings enclose a little open space. Its really cool, I will post pictures soon that, I hope, will help explain what I´m trying to say. So yeah, there is a clothes line out there, so I am drying my laundry on a clothes line, might as well put the heat to good use, but I mean come on. ME using a CLOTHES line? Is that even what they are called? Its pretty comical.

Also I showed Jose-Luis the Chapelle Show tonight. He´s going around saying Eem Reek James beetch. Its funny

Posted by JohnnyPing 15:19 Archived in Spain

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