It’s been awhile! My absence has mostly the result of not having much to write about. I was sick for the entirety of last week and didn’t to to Cenicero at all. This week has been our first unanimous “winter” week here in Logroño, with an average temperature of five degrees Celsius and rain everyday. Fun!! Not really. It’s made me not want to venture out anywhere. However, I did suck it up this past week to start an intercambio for the first time!
An intercambio is basically a language exchange. People wanting to learn a language meet up for a drink or for coffee and spend half of their time talking in one person’s language and the other half talking in the other’s. I knew this would be a great help to me to learn more Spanish conversationally, but I reallyyyy didn’t want to embarrass myself. Recently I heard from another auxiliar of a woman looking for a partner and decided to bite the bullet.
Last Thursday I reluctantly dragged myself out of the house to meet my partner, Rebeca. Why was I loathing this so much?? The extent of our relationship before this meeting was literally only sending awkward selfies of ourselves so we would know who to look for when we arrived at the café. It was 8:30pm and I had spent the entire day with my kids and trying to converse with the teachers in Spanish. Why did I sign myself up for this again? My head already hurt. And I’m INTROVERTED.
Over two hours later, I arrived at my doorstep waving goodbye to Rebeca with a huge smile on my face. I had such a great time with her! I wouldn’t say we are super similar. She is in her late twenties, recently married, and expecting a baby in April! Our common link is a desire to know more about another culture and language. She told me she likes languages because rather than having to sit and study like other subjects, you can practice them by being out in the world or enjoying time with another person. Each time I think about learning Spanish in that light, I have more motivation.
We’ve only met twice, but last Friday she invited Jay and I over for lunch. There we introduced Jay and her husband, Juan. We spent four hours with them talking about so many different topics, constantly switching back and forth from Spanish to English. They introduced us to new foods like boiled, salted potatoes and salsa– which is typical of the Canary Islands, where Juan is from. We found out the Spanish like almond bark and this wafer/white chocolate type candy during Christmas time, and also tried a cream liquor similar to Bailey’s from Cantabria, where Rebeca is from. Even with all of us having different levels of knowledge in each other’s languages, the conversation kept on. I enjoyed it so much! We’re going to continue to meet weekly for coffee, as well as on Mondays for a movie!
Maybe this doesn’t seem like a big step to you, but Jay and I have been a little unconfident about getting out there and meeting people other than auxiliars. I’m able to get along with just about anyone I meet, but that doesn’t mean I like introducing myself and trying to convince them to be my friend. The whole process is a replay of sixth grade all over again. Sometimes I feel so ridiculous! So my next point is very unlike me! The first weekend of December we are heading to Ireland for our puente (!!!!!!!!). Half due to our money stretching thin, and half due to a sudden insistence on broadening our horizons, we’ve decided to go Couchsurfing during our time in Northern Ireland.
After making a quick profile, we found a really nice looking couple who are also new to Couchsurfing. It’s got to take a lot to open your home to someone your barely know, so I think that says a lot for them already. More to come on this experience for sure! We’re definitely our of our comfort zones. Big risks reap big rewards, right?
In other news, I’ve been slacking on my new internship with ROOSTERGNN and GAPBRAVE. Right now I’m feeling Iike my assignments are too frequent for an informal internship, but I’m trying my best to keep up with it. Travel writing is interesting, reflective, and keeps me thinking of future places I want to go! Here’s Jay and I’s recent additions to our world map as of last night.
It’s just hard sometimes to switch off from school and lesson planning or studying Spanish to thinking in terms of decent writing. Or maybe I’ve just been lazy. If you’re interested, here are a couple of articles I’ve written on the Rocky Mountain National Park and a Southern Christmas Festival. Next they asked me to write about my visits to the Cyclades in Greece, so that’s coming soon.
Tomorrow we may take a spontaneous trip to Basque Country if the weather permits! I’m excited to go to Cenicero this next week because the kids are done with their “Paleolithic” project of making cave paintings and we’re going to start learning action words. It should be fun and I really love watching the kids have fun with the activities. Basically right now I’m just anticipating the holidays! Thanksgiving is next week and we have some fun stuff planned with the other auxiliars, and now there’s only 3 more weeks until we have our guests for Christmas! We’re currently trying to make plans for visits to four different countries in the next month(ish). It’s a bit much, and I hate having plans up in the air so it’s been hard to leave details hanging. To keep myself occupied, I decorated the house for Christmas today but I’m going to wait ’till after Thanksgiving to talk about it, ’cause who likes those people that get too into Christmas too soon, right?!