Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas Vacation...kind of

This week is my last week of school at the two institutes before a Christmas break of two weeks. (WHOO HOO) But it won´t be a complete break for me, and unfortunately I won´t have an opportunity for travel- which is what just about EVERY other auxilar is doing now. During the next two weeks, I will be working at an English academy for children, called Kids & Us, about 5 minutes walking distance from my house. The academy is one which I went to earlier in September when I was still looking for afternoon work. They had told me then that they did not need any more teachers for the regular semester, but they were going to have a Christmas Camp during the break and they need English speakers for that. So I happily agreed to help with the camp.

The camp is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am-1pm for the two weeks of December 23rd-27th and December 30th to January 3rd. I will be in charge of a group of 10, 3-4 year olds (EEKK). With them I will be doing crafts, reading stories, singing songs and playing games. I´m looking forward to working there, it is a nice, new academy, full of colorful decorations for the children and happy workers. If the Christmas camp goes well, I am hoping to be able to work there in the Spring should they need me. The location is great because it´s so close to my home. As for the group of 10 kiddies.. here goes nothing!

Besides the Christmas camp in the mornings, I have no other plans for my two weeks. This is my first Christmas away from my family, and it has already been difficult. Coming home to an empty studio is quite a change from my fully decorated home in Salem. I miss my fireplace, the Christmas trees, and fresh wreaths and candles and winter comfort foods. Most of all I am missing the snow!! I know all of you back home are probably cursing the cold, snowy weather, but I feel as though something is missing. While the mild temperatures and sun are so nice for walking around the city- I would take colder temps and snow over that for Christmastime.

So after feeling sorry for myself for about a week, I decided to do something about it. I have a wonderful tiny tree (although fake, it is the perfect size for my tiny place!) and I even sprang for some Christmas lights (although I did not read the label well and bought blinking lights- annoying at first but I´m getting used to them). I am finally able to listen to Christmas songs without feeling sad and tearing up, and I have even started to embrace the ´villancicos´(Spanish Christmas songs) and am getting excited for the Spanish Christmas I will have. This year I will be spending Christmas, New Year´s and Three Kings Day with Nacho´s family. Also, of course, I will be skyping home to have Christmas with my family. I received from the mailman today my package of gifts!! Most things are wrapped and I must wait for Christmas, but there were a few which I opened early. American candy and Kraft mac and cheese! Also, my favorite gift of all- measuring spoons!! No longer will I spend the time trying to guestimate the amount of baking powder for my culinary creations! Best gift ever!

One thing I am so impressed with is the way the city of Madrid has transformed for the Christmas season. There are lights hanging over every major street and on buildings. Food carts and small tents are set up in every square, selling wreaths and dried fruit, turrón and churros con chocolate. People are everywhere- shopping, walking, out and about with their family buying gifts and Christmas food and candies. It is a nice time to be living in the city.

Merry Christmas to everyone back home! Christmas pics to come! MUA

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