Friday, September 28, 2007

no hablo espanol

I´m in Spain with a Spanish keyboard and I´m desperately trying to retrieve all the Spanish I learned in middle school for three weeks. So far, I´m just stupidly pronouncing words I see as I walk by. Gracias is not ´gra-see-as´ but ´gra-th-ee-as´. Plaza is not ´plazah´but ´platha.´

I start teaching on Monday and I´ve got classes of nine year olds and 15-16 year olds plus some adults. We´ll only know until it happens.

Adios for now...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Anticipation and last night

When I first got back from Hungary in July, my bed in the U.S. seemed so foreign. Now, it's just like home again. And hopefully I'll warm up to a new Spanish bed.

I've got one hell of a flight itinerary ahead of me tomorrow, and I'll be happy if I make it to Spain. Chicago - Philadelphia - Barcelona - Valladolid complete with overnight flights, flight changes, storms, and other additives. Of course, I can't predict this outcome and I'm over- worrying, but I do have this sinking feeling in my stomach as I think about how the conditions just seem right for disaster.

But maybe that's just because I'm picking up and leaving again and with that, there's a lot to think about.

I'm off to bed. And off to Spain.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Introductions, countdowns, and autumn afternoons

Sometime after a flurried morning of nervous pacing, anxious conversations on the phone, and clicking on computer buttons that would just not click fast enough, I managed to secure myself a ticket to Spain. More importantly, I've secured a hearty bite of my future. For now. I think. I hope.

I'm going to the moon. Or so says the DoS with whom I spoke on the phone today.

Valladolid, Spain. Although the city is about two hours northwest of Madrid and is home to a university, worthy wines, peacock parks, a reputable language school (in which Aran and I'll be making our temporary living), Chicagoesque winters, not to mention summers, and hopefully (fingers crossed) siestas; its airport is far removed from all of this. The DoS chuckles on the phone and tells me that when flying into Valladolid by plane, "it looks like you're landing on the moon."

Just thinking about landing on foreign soil for another year abroad makes my throat catch and I idly consider if it'd help to strap on an oxygen tank for those first steps on the moon.

What makes it all a little more exciting is that I'm leaving Tuesday, 9/25, just a week after being offered the job, and a little less than a week before the start of classes. It's testing my nerves quite a bit, but wanderlust continues to steer me confidently towards suitcases and flight itineraries.

Today was a perfect early autumn evening. One you'd like to capture in a jar, like fireflies. My brother and I both managed to get ourselves jobs this week, just like our similar re-entry dates to the U.S. in July. Based on this observation, it should take roughly two months to find a job. If life were only that easy.

We drove downtown Naperville to have a celebration dinner at an Italian restaurant where we gorged ourselves miserable on bread with olive oil and parmesan, stuffed mushrooms, sausages, and pastas. Between bites, we gawked at the severely young looking high school kids filing in for dinner before the homecoming dance. And, together we were all baffled at their parents who first took several of the infamous "homecoming group dinner shots," and then proceeded to watch a football game at the bar, just a few tables away. When did parents get to join in on the homecoming dance group dinner?

We took a walk around by the river at which my dad commented, "there is one problem with this river. It needs to get better." We all agreed, seeing as you could hike through it and barely get the tops of your shoes wet. Even still, a wedding party was being photographed near it, while more straggling homecoming students posed by a fountain framed by late afternoon sunlight, girls awkward in their heels and corsages.

It was good to observe. All was pleasant.

Lastly, we followed a trail that gave us a favorable view of the college football game across the river. The band played enthusiastically, little figurines from so far away. The announcers started the game and the players were off. In between the football game and the trail where we stood, crunchy yellow leaves fell softly into the river.

Just when I'm about to leave, I began to appreciate the U.S. a little more.