Anna's Journey

First impressions

In Sanlucar la Mayor on October 5, 2010 at 6:56 pm

  Yesterday was my first day at work. I am working in a school, or centro, of about 350 elementary students. My students are adorable and rambunctious Andalucian seven year olds. Already, they asked me asked me “May I use the toilet?” about five times in half an hour. Only a few students understand more than a bit of English, except one student whose mother is from Scotland. Of course, any foreign language understanding at that age is more than American students.

As I begin to learn about the school, I am forming initial impressions of the Andalucian lifestyle. One important difference between Spanish and American schools – and the culture in general – is the use of time. Time in the northeast of the United States is ever running away from us, as we struggle to catch up. We stay up late, we lose sleep, we go into work early, we stay late, we manage time. In Andalucia, time is valuable in that it allows one to relax and breathe. Every afternoon, most businesses close for a siesta. Students are only in school for five hours a day. People stay up into the night socializing with little regard to time, and eat dinner at unbearably late hours. My orientation today started late, and we had a 40 minute break in the middle. Such is the life of Andalucia.

Now, I need to decide how to take advantage of my spare time. I am working a total of 38 less hours per week than I worked last year. While this is a beautiful, and probably once-in-a-lifetime lifestyle, I also want to take advantage of everything that Andalucia has to offer. I hope to tutor English, gain a language partner (intercambio), learn to dance flamenco, travel, cook, read, and become fluent in Spanish. Although I am in the land of slow, hot, easygoing Andalucia, I am still a time-managing New England girl at heart.

What do I do with all this time?!


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