APRIL ALREADY!? You know what they say, “time flies when you’re having fun!” So it’s cliché, but it really sums up my time here in Valladolid, Spain. In January when I first arrived, 90 days seemed like I had all the time in the world. Now, with less than two weeks of classes and less than three weeks left in Spain, I want to slow time down! But as we all know, time doesn’t work like that. So I am going to make the most out of these last couple of weeks!
As always, we are very busy, and even more so now that we are getting ready for the final week of classes! This week is special in that the interns (that’s Blake, Jamie, and I) are running all of the classes—solo. For the past three months or so we have been leading activities and working with the other teachers to learn, experience, and make class happen. But Heather Espeso has given us the challenge of taking over! I am very excited about this. I have been having so much fun teaching these classes. Although the kids can be kids – eating the occasional crayon, sneaking out of the classroom, not being able to settle down, et cetera – I love them all! They all have a special place in our hearts, and I can speak for Blake and Jamie as well. We hope that we made the same impression on them!
Back to the classes. I am working on planning my own classes for the daycare, Ponce de Leon Public School, and ASPAS (the center for hearing impaired children), as well as my host family’s classes and my private class on Thursdays with Julio and Raquel. Because Easter is coming up, and Semana Santa (Holy Week) is a very important week here in Spain, I am focusing my lessons on that. They will include Easter books, crafts, songs, games, and talking about Semana Santa and Easter. We are going to be coloring Easter eggs with my host family and private class! It is hard to believe that I am planning for my last week of classes!
Speaking of Holy Week, that should be an amazing cultural experience! There are no classes that week, so we will have the whole time (until Holy Thursday, which is the day we head home!) to relax and enjoy the festivities. However, it is not a party like Carnaval that I talked about in my last blog. If you are unfamiliar with Holy Week, it is the week that leads up to the day that Jesus rose from the dead, Easter. Throughout this week we remember Jesus’ journey to the cross. In Spain, they have a special way of remembering this journey, “joining” on the path to Easter. There are processions with people wearing hoods (similar to the look of the Ku Klux Klan, but with a VERY different meaning, please don’t get them confused), statues of holy figures, music, and many people around to witness it all. This time is a time of remembrance, to be humble and to reflect. It is also a time of hope for the coming of Jesus on Easter.
One more exciting piece of news!! Each summer, Heather Espeso brings a group of Spanish students from Valladolid to the United States. This summer, my family will be hosting one of the students, Beatriz! Although my parents were at first hesitant, I finally convinced them that it would be a fun and awesome experience for us and Beatriz. Being here in Valladolid and living with a host family has taught me so much, and I have made lifelong friendships with these people. I love being a part of a Spanish family, and that is something that I will always have. I am so happy and excited to be able to give that to someone else! I was able to meet Beatriz, and she is wonderful! She is very excited to come to the United States and experience our culture.
If you, your family, or someone you know might be interested in hosting this year, next year, or any time after that, don’t be hesitant! This is a great opportunity to share your loving home and culture with an eager-to-learn Spanish student, and it is only for one short month! You can get more information on the United Cultures website: unitedcultures.es. Information about the trip and how to contact Heather are all on the site!
Well, folks, it is almost over! But as you can see, I will be keeping busy, soaking in as much of this experience as I can, and in these final days I will be, most importantly, having fun!