This month I did a lot of teaching about Thanksgiving, or in Spanish, el Día de Acción de Gracias, which I have literally translated in this post’s title. I guess sometimes English naming conventions are a bit more tidy than those in Spanish! Anyway, what follows is a little bit of what I’ve been up to lately.
Granada tripThe first weekend in November I took a weekend trip to the city of Granada during the puente (long weekend; literally “bridge”) for All Saints’ Day (Día de Todos los Santos). Granada is a beautiful provincial capital about two hours south of where I’m living in Úbeda, and was a welcome break from Month 1 of working and living abroad.
|Plasterwork, Nasrid Palaces, Alhambra|
Election 2012By the time the first Tuesday of the month rolled around, I was getting really jittery and suspenseful about the U.S. presidential election’s outcome. I had been following Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight prediction blog—which ended up being 100% correct—but there were just so many wild cards involved, like voter ID requirements, Hurricane Sandy, and low voter turnout, that I didn’t really know what to expect.
For school that day, I dressed up with a red-and-blue striped repp tie and an American flag lapel pin; my school director was very impressed with my patriotism and commitment to voting! At night, I stayed up reading the blogs and news feeds until 1am, when only, say, Vermont and Maryland had been called. I woke up five hours later and turned on the MSNBC live feed and watched the final moments of the election. By 7am, Mitt Romney had conceded and Barack Obama was on his way to a second term. Literally everyone I spoke to about the election in Spain was happy about it. Woohoo!
Finalizing bank dramaAt the beginning of October I opened an account with the Catalan bank La Caixa (sounds like “luh CAH-shuh”), and didn’t think much of it since I wasn’t due to get paid until November (I had no money anyway). November came around, I got paid, but I still had not received my debit card after waiting 40 days. It must have gotten lost in the mail. Anyways, I marched in to my local branch with a script in Spanish memorized, and after some ’splainin’, was able to have a new debit card sent directly to the branch itself. Five days later, it showed up—hooray!
But when I received my card, the bank teller didn’t print me off my PIN, so I just assumed I would use my online account password at the ATM. Wrong. After an embarrassing failed attempt to withdraw money, I waited my turn at the branch (again) and was able to learn my number. Finally! Now, to stop spending so much €€€ on food and travel…
Visiting SabioteOn a weekday afternoon my bilingual coordinator, Pedro, took me and a few other teachers out to his pueblo (small hometown) of Sabiote. I rarely get too excited about tiny towns in Spain, but I was very pleasantly surprised with this place. I haven’t posted pictures yet, but let’s just say there was a castle involved. Yes—a stone fortress from the Renaissance.
|Thanksgiving feast, expat edition|
Being a tour guide in ÚbedaLast weekend, new friend and fellow language assistant named Alissa wanted to visit Úbeda so I let her crash at my place for two days. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about being a tour guide in my adopted hometown, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying the city all over again. We visited some of my favorite haunts, sat in on a classical guitar recital, and even made french toast with contraband maple syrup that she brought from home in New England.
Picking up TIE in JaénLike my experience above with the debit card, I also had waited a month or so on my TIE to come in, my official foreigner’s ID card. One daytrip to the provincial capital of Jaén later, I can now use my debit card without having to lug around my passport and I can get student discounts since it’s got “estudiante” written all over it.
The monthly update for December may be delayed by a week or two as I will be spending Christmas vacation in France. Talk to y’all soon!