Okay! So firstly, I am aware some apologises are owed… I told a lot of people I was going to be writing updates when I was in Korea, but I did not. I did write most of the updates on my iPad, but never got around to actually uploading them. Over the course of the next week or so, I shall work on finally editing them. Prehaps I’ll do one big re-cap then some individual topic/review posts… who knows. Regardless, something about Korea will get uploaded sometime soon.
Secondly, I have to apologise for only starting to update this blog in my second week here. It’s been something like 13 whole days where I could have posted something but I haven’t (now I’ve said it – it doesn’t actually sound that long. It feels like I’ve been here a long time though). It’s been about 100 passive-aggressive Snapchats from Alice and 10 not-so-subtle hints from Dad. I do have two excuses but you are probably going to ignore them anyway; 1) The internet does not quite reach my little house, which does not help my motivation, 2) I’ve been at a little bit of a loss on what to write. Sounds crazy I know, everyday is a blessing when you work with kids yada yada and they will always say some absolute gold for you to work with, but some days that’s just it – I’m so exhausted after looking after them that I just curl up and read or write the rest of the day. More often than not I’m working on my novel now, and nobody wants to hear about that. (Well, you might – what’s the plot like Hannah? How big will it be? What’s the genre? Do I need to act nicer to you in case you are the next J.K. Rowling or G.R.R.Martin? – but if I were to update you, it’d be more like “Wrote 2,000 words today. Was an important scene. Pretty proud of myself. Will probably re-write tomorrow”).
There’s also the factor that I already did all the embarrassing trials of learning to adjust (I hope), and already know how things more or less work around here. I’m not sure if much is new or exciting, but then I’m not sure if people like reading my blog just to read some sort of diary entry that was vastly different to their day.
With all that said, I should probably actually write something proper now…
So I arrived in Spain at about 9.15 in the morning. Natalie came to pick me up as the girls were in a theatre show, and the family had gone to watch them. Sat-nav messed up (as it always seems to in Barcelona – when did they last update it?), so while Natalie had to deal with some stressful driving through the centre of Barcelona, I got to admire all the lovely buildings I love underneath the glorious Spanish sunshine. If it wasn’t for Natalie’s stress and my inability to help her, it would have felt like a beautiful return to Barcelona. It took a lot longer than the motorway, but a chance to drive through Barcelona is something I rarely actually get to do, so I really enjoyed it (sorry Natalie – if it helps, I didn’t like that sat-nav was stressing you out!).
When we finally arrived at the house, I went straight to my little wooden house (which is a good thing really, as it turned out the main house was locked) and checked out all the décor. I’d seen a few photos, and heard lots in emails, but none of them gave the little house justice. To be fair, they had only put the finishing touches in that morning, so the photos I’d seen didn’t really have much to work with. To describe it to you, I think the best way to explain it is it feels like a rustic Tardis – while quite petite from the outside, once you step inside you realise it’s actually quite sizeable. They have decorated the house with vegetable paintings, gingham and floral fabric, and used mostly wooden furniture. Along with getting fresh vegetables every morning and collecting pine cones the other day for winter – I sometimes feel like I’m in an old western movie. Sometimes I even find myself singing Calamity Jane songs while cooking – a habit I’m really hoping will stop before Rosa arrives. At least it’s a change from Let it go (let it goooooo). Anyway, as I was meant to say – The place looks a lot cuter then I ever pictured it to be, and my bedroom is super cute too. I was expecting it to be quite plain and holiday-cabin like, but they added little girly and sweet touches (two storage boxes I have look like suitcases) and as soon as I unpacked my things it seemed instantly homely. I really like it. Reaaaaaaally like it. Especially since the shower and kitchen taps work better than any at boarding school or Uni did. I mean, you turn the hot tap on, and hot water comes out! Amazing! And then you turn the cold tap, and oh my god it’s cold water! I’m sure the people who went to boarding school/University with me are nodding their heads in agreement like “I get you Hannah, I get you” while the rest of you are thinking “well, that is what is meant to happen…”.
Back to actual matters, after I unpacked my things I sat in my room waiting and waiting. I started to get real hungry, and realised that I didn’t actually pack that much. The day before I left, I kept checking my bags like “you can go without this” and “you have too much stuff already, they’re going to be too heavy-“. Turns out I was wrong and am a far lighter traveller then I realised. I suppose that with the amount of travelling I’ve done over the past three years, you’d hope I’d be accustomed to light travelling by now (I can just picture Alyssa shaking her head in disagreement).
Eventually everyone showed up and Maria made lunch and the girls enjoyed looking at all their new presents. Baby Sergi was asleep for a while, so was very confused when he saw me. He pulled the obvious who are you face, but I couldn’t help but laugh at how judging you it seemed. He pulls that face a lot though. He did cry and run off the second time he saw me – I was expecting that – but the third time he brought a little football over to me, and ever since he’s been on good terms with me. Well, sort of. He has now worked out that when he sees me, 90% of the time it means Mummy and Daddy are going, so he’s cautious of me when he’s not sure where mummy or daddy are. When they go however, he only cries while they drive away. Once they’re gone, he’s absolutely fine. I understand though and it’s still much easier then when Jordi was a baby. For what felt like the entire first month, he would cry the whole 2 hours I had to look after him in the afternoon, and point around the house determined to find daddy hiding somewhere.
As I arrived on a Saturday, I had two days non-teaching to settle back into things. I went swimming that Saturday afternoon, before which we went to Mataró Parc to buy some storage food/ important objects like a microwave for my house. Sunday I can’t remember doing anything that significant, which is a worry as it was only two weeks ago. Oh! I looked after Sergi while they all went to church, and he was so well-behaved I couldn’t believe it. I think I played some board games with the children in the afternoon, and watched Frozen with them. I bought them some Frozen stationary and music sheets as I knew they would love it, but of course they had to watch the film before they could really appreciate their gifts. Jordi liked it too, expect for the Love is an Open Door and ice palace bit, in which he wondered off the first time (we watched it again on Monday afternoon as a pre-Sant Joan celebration, in which he watched the whole of it that time). Monday night we had fireworks to welcome in Sant Joan and the whole of Mataró was lit with fireworks from about 6pm to 6am. No joke, I woke up at 6am and could still hear them going. I wasn’t quite sure why – seeing as fireworks seem a little useless in sunlight, but hey-ho whatever floats their boats. I’d gotten up at 6am expecting to teach – totally forgetting about Sant Joan day despite the fireworks outside my window – and found out at 9am that I didn’t need too (I was so annoyed at missing a potential lie-in!). The girls wanted to read some history books though so we talked about the first humans until their grandparents arrived, and then after lunch everyone played board games and talk for a little bit. I felt much better being able to understand most of the conversation. Even if I couldn’t really join in, I still feel much more involved. I did speak a little Spanish now and then though, which felt nice (even when I got a word wrong).
The week then past like normal (well as normal as it can with no internet lunch-time onwards) and on Friday evening I met up with Natalie and got crazily sunburnt. It’s still showing, even now. It will probably still show for another month, if it ever fades. I once got sunburnt so badly on my shoulders, that the skin has never really returned to normal. Hopefully rubbing aloe vera gel (99.9% aloe vera apparently…) every 5 minutes will help out in the long run.
Last weekend I walked up to Mataró Parc and resisted the temptation to buy Dunkin’ Donuts when I saw how disappointing the choice was (just you wait until tomorrow, Dunkin’ Donuts in Barcelona!). I did however fall in love with Zara Home, which is potentially very damaging to my very little paycheck. I bought some Native American themed glasses and felt like a proud little (ex) American Studies student. I could just imagine them displayed somewhere near a whiskey case, American home bar style, ready to showcase and debate my degree knowledge when people asked about them, because I’m the sad sort of person who puts too much thought into buying glasses. (So she’s going to be more of a G.R.R.Martin then a J.K.Rowling?)
After that the days have been pretty standard. I did walk back to Mataró Parc one afternoon, needing to celebrate my degree results in the worst way possible for someone with an overdraft before pay-day, and discovered that if I open the window and hold out my iPad or phone I can get almost two bars of WiFi (desperate times call for desperate measures) and crazily agreed to bake biscuits one day when I only had the boys to look after. Nightmare. As I’m nearing a “too long didn’t read” blog post anyway (why did you tell us about the glasses Hannah? No-one cares about the glasses!), I’ll summarize it with this – Jordi added the phrase “Big Mess” to his limited vocabulary.
Tomorrow is the weekend again and I am SO EXCITED to get myself into Barcelona and walk the streets I love. (Walk the streets of love, the streets of loveeeeee). I’m trying to save up (Ha ha ha ha ha! – I know, I know) so I think I’ll just have a photography-trip kind of day. I’ll probably end up spending a lot of money on food, so I’m going to have to be careful (not the donuts – anything but the donuts!). Before you suggest I take a packed-lunch, it is 1) boiling during the day here, so it would all be gross by the time I ate it, and 2) a huge inconvenience space wise. But it’s okay. I can do. Just resist that €5 salad and find something cheaper/ better valued for money.
I think I am more or less up-to-date now, and if I am not – you probably don’t want me to go on writing even more anyway. I can always add that next time. I don’t know when that will be (maybe tomorrow, maybe not), so I’ll probably just post a link on Facebook again to let you know.
Well, in looney tunes style… That’s all for now folks!