Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What was done before the Internet?

This is where I casually apologize for my long delay of posting a new post.

This is where you answer back “no pasa nada,” which basically translate to “no worries,” which is the Andalusian way of life.

Glad we’ve taken care of that. Now to the update.

Piso. Check.
First day of school. Check.
Second job. Check.
Car. Check.
Internet. Pending.

Life in Spain has officially started (the last 7 weeks have been vacation…)

Michael Lynn, Emily and I are the happy renters of a gorgeous piso on the west side of Motril. It is new within the last 5 years and very modern. It has great views of the Mediterranean from the large balcony that all three of our bedrooms, as well as the living room, have access to. Enjoy these pictures.

Our balcony.

Our living room.

Our kitchen.

Michael Lynn's bedroom.

Our full bathroom (there is also a half bathroom not picture).

Emily's bedroom.

Our view out from the balcony. That is the Mediterranean.

My bedroom 1.

My bedroom 2.

My bedroom 3.

We are paying 500 Euros a month plus utilities, and we figured after utilities (water, electric, and Internet) our monthly costs will be roughly 600 Euros—so that is 200 Euros a month per person. That is pretty good compared to what I was expecting, and as you can see the place is pretty nice. Me gusta.

Our landlord has turned about to be pretty awesome as well. Marian lived in London for 10 years; therefore she is fluent in English. She even teaches a little bit here in Motril. She is currently pregnant and both her and her husband own pisos, with the one we are renting being hers. This is really important because this isn’t just a renter piso, it is actually her piso, and therefore she is very concerned about its condition and keeps it in great shape.

She also has a lot of connections here in Motril, including knowing a lot of people who speak/teach English and people who are looking for English tutors. More on this below.


Friday was my first day of school and I have been back two days since (Monday and Tuesday). I am starting to grasp what my role is as a Language and Cultural Assistant here in Spain and I think I am going to enjoy it (go figure right?). It is as follows:

1. Spend one hour each week speaking English and/or planning a small lesson with the content area teachers in math, science, social studies, English, technology and art.
2. Spend 30 minutes of class time once a week in each of the above classes being the English expert by helping with the lesson or executing the lesson I planned with the content teacher
3. Work with the gym teacher for two one-hour gym classes leading the class in all English.

The only disappointing part of this setup is that I am only spending about 33 percent of my time each week with the students. Being a teacher that is what I love the most—being around the students and getting to know them. I will have to see how this goes.

This is the second year that my school has been part of the English program that I am working for. Therefore, there are only 2 classes of students who are part of the program, each having about 27 students in it. One class has been in the program for two years and it is the first year for the other. I will be spending most of my time with the second year students.

You will periodically here about my time at school over the next 8 months so I’ll move on to something else now. I apologize if this seems like an info heavy post, but I figured some of you might have been wondering what happened to me. I am alive and kicking.

Second job.
As I mentioned before our landlord has proven to be an invaluable connection because of her fluency in English and the people she knows here in Motril. Last Thursday morning she came and picked us up at the hotel, along with our luggage (we had actually dropped some of it off at the piso on Wednesday night) and after dropping the luggage off we went out to breakfast to meet one of her friends, Pilar.

Pilar had studied international education in the United States and earned her Masters in the States. While there she met and married an American and since has returned to Spain. She has started her own English Academy here in Motril and Marian had told us she was looking for someone to teach one of the classes twice a week. I quickly jumped all over this opportunity and emailed my resume to her later that night (this proved to be difficult because as I will discuss below, we have yet to set up internet at the piso). She got back to me the next day and asked if I could meet with her this past weekend because classes started on Monday (yesterday). I met with her Sunday night and found out that I was going to be teaching a group of 12 students every Monday and Wednesday from 4:00-5:30. This gives me an extra 3 hours of work a week at 12 Euros an hour. Doing a quick math equation this means I will be making 36 Euros a week, which is 144 Euros a month, which is going to be a nice addition to the salary I receive for being a Language and Cultural Assistant. I am hoping to find one or two students who I can tutor privately, or even someone who I can have an “intercambio” with, which is where I teach him/her English and they teach me Spanish.

Like my Language and Cultural Assistant job (which I am now going to abbreviate as LCA) I will be writing about my job at Womack English Academy over the next 8 months.

While I was in Sevilla I received a phone call from uncle that started simply with him saying “Well, its finally happened.” He went on to explain that the air conditioning is his 1992 BMW 520 had died. He and my aunt were trying to decide what to do—spend the money to repair it, or put that money towards the purchase of a new car. A week later we reconnected and he said they had decided to buy a new car. He then said that if he couldn’t get any money from the dealership he would possibly let me use the car for the next 8 months. A week later we connected again and he said the dealership would not let him trade it in (they would only dispose of it for free) and he thought why do that when I could use it while I was here. So, after talking about some of the fees and insurance I will pay for the next 8 months, the girls and I traveled to Algeciras this past weekend to pick up the Beamer and visit with my family.

It was a fun weekend hanging out with my uncle and aunt and cousin, as well as trying to figure out how to drive a manual. Now, I have driven many stick shifts during my time working at Wuskowhan (the private golf course I worked at through high school and summer). In fact, I often like to joke that I learned how to drive a manual on Porsches and BMWs and other higher end cars at the golf course. But taking a car from the turn around at Wusky to the parking lot is not the same as driving one on the road around Spain. For the most part I succeeded in getting us home. The only hiccup I had was after paying a toll. I accelerated out of the tollgate and when I went to shift from second to third I went to far left and went back into first. Oops. It is going to take some practice but I am excited to add driving a manual to the list of things I am going to learn/master in Spain (this list currently contains Spanish, driving a manual, and the flamenco). Game on.

We are in our new piso but we still do not have Internet. This will hopefully change by the end of this week. I still have the wireless router in my room that the Americans who lived here last year used. The landlord said that she will call the company this week and ask them to turn it back on, but she said there may be some fees to do that. We really don’t care about the fees, we just want the Internet. I really hope we have it by Saturday because I would really like to watch Denard Robinson run through Michigan State’s defense.

I also hope we get it so I can get back into the habit of posting every couple of days. That is the one thing I told myself I was not going to do, go multiple days without posting. Hopefully other then me being on vacation, this will be the longest amount of time without a post.

Don’t hold me to that. I will try.

Well, that’s a long entry. I’ll get another up in the next couple of days. Hopefully by Friday.

For now, hasta luego.


  1. way to post all of the pictures I took and wanted to use on MY blog!!

  2. Thank you, Emily!!!!!
    And thanks to Todd, Ali, and Daniel for their wonderful hospitality to you all....and for the Beamer(I think)