People are starting to guess my age, correctly, and I must say it is very disconcerting. I know I always knock off a few years if someone who looks older than his 20s asks me to guess his age. I wonder if people are doing that to me. Does that mean I look older?
A tradition around these parts, Casarejos, San Leonardo (affectionately referred to as SanLe), Hontoria, etc where the eligible bachelors in the town go out into the forest, cut down the largest tree they can find, and erect it in the town plaza or next to the town church. The lifting of the tree by the men supposedly represents virility and fertility.
The funny thing is that the (only??) "eligible bachelors" in SanLe were students from the high school???
One thing I really like about here is how living in a small town really allows teachers to form closer relationships with their students. I remember when I was a kid, I would avoid talking to teachers outside of the classroom at all costs. Actually, I distinctly remember doing that even when I was in college. However, here the students aren't embarrassed. Just the opposite. I always feel strange when we run into each other in bars or nightclubs, but they take it like champions, saying hey and smiling. Undoubtedly, it is me who probably makes a bigger deal about it than they do. I'm veering off subject though.
As I mentioned earlier, I do like how living in a small town allows you to forge closer relationships with your students. And one of the ways this closeness is shown is that students in the last year of high school (segundo de bachillerato) invite the teachers they like to lunch and or dinner on their last day of class. It's is something that I would never have thought to have done when I was in school and I suppose it would have been quite difficult to arrange since my class was about 500 strong in comparison to 15 or so here. I'm not sure if this is a tradition everywhere in Spain, or if it's just something that goes on in the pueblos around here, but I thought it was a nice gesture and worth mentioning.
Lately, I've been walking around with the sort of freedom that only knowing that you're leaving soon never to return again can grant. I don't mean the freedom to be mean to people who have upset me or anything. Quite the contrary. I mean the freedom to be completely content and to express it without worrying about what other people think.
There's a certain lightness and gaiety to my step and an extra watt to my smile because I know that I've enjoyed being here and I intend to leave with the best memories I can take away.
Well, I know definitively that I won't be back in Spain next year. I was bummed at first, but now I've taken on a more zen like attitude towards the whole thing. As my father reminded me, I knew coming into this that it was only going to be for 9 months. And well, time's almost up.
Anyway, I took a day to dwell on the news and feel sorry for myself. After that, I started looking for things to do next year. School? Look for work (even though there are no jobs)? Travel (even though I have no money)? What to do?
Ideally, I'd find another teaching gig outside of the country or stumble across the opportunity to travel on somebody else's dime. Something tells me that's not going to happen though. I have no desire to go back to Miami, but if I have to return, I have to return.
Well nothing more needs to be said except that as I am sure you can figure out, these past few months here have been fantastic. The best present ever!
When I was young, I used to watch reruns of Alby Mangels' World Safari with my family. I wanted (and still kind of do) want to be Alby Mangels.
The profile pic is not of me, but of my sister. She drew it. I liked it. Ashley posted it.