Friday, June 3, 2011

Vamos en Bici

Yesterday was my first day actually doing what I came here for (aka teaching English).  Oli wanted me to start with Jose, my "host brother" who is 18, at 10 am with our first one hour English lesson.  I had a little trouble waking up when my alarm went off at 9:30 because I am still trying to adjust to the time change.  I do fine once I'm up, but then after a few hours I feel like I haven't slept at all.  So I met with Jose who will have his English exam in September, as well as Math and Chemistry which he failed this year.  He has to take the exams over in Sept in order to get a good enough grade to go to University.  His summer is going to be spent doing a lot of studying.  We went through his English book and I realized I need to do some studying as well.  I asked him to tell me which units/topics he has the most trouble with and he said "I have trouble with the passive impersonal and the causative." And I stared at him like ".....the what?..." So I will also be doing a lot of studying of my own language while I'm here.  We did a few exercises but without being able to explain exactly what these tenses mean or why use them, it was a little difficult.  After lunch, I watched TV with my host mom, tried to stay awake, but alas took full advantage of the siesta time.  When Patricia came home from school we had our first hour together.  She "forgot" to bring home her English book so we had to use the notes she takes to study.  Her exam is in 2 weeks and it's on everything they have been studying since September.  She is 13, so I tried to follow the advice of my TEFL adviser who said 13 year olds will like gossip magazines and talking about boys.  Yeah. Right.  Practicing comparatives and superlatives (better/worse than, the best/worst) I said "Who is the cutest boy in your school?" She just stared at me.   Maybe older boys?  "Are any of your brother's friends cute?"  "My brother's friends are....mmm...feos"  So I thought, well she must think there are some cute celebrities? "What famous people do you think are cute?"  "I don't know any famous people" she replied.  I went on google images and typed in Brad Pitt.  Wasn't impressed.  Oookay still in the "boys have cooties" stage, I take it.  Thank you wise TEFL adviser.....
Then I thought okay maybe it's easier for her to identify that girls are pretty.  So I typed in Angelina Jolie and then Tina Fey.  Without hesitation she chose Angelina Jolie as being prettier than Tina Fey.  Haha.  Then I let her have the last 10 minutes for what I thought would be something fun and went to Youtube to find a clip of a 13 yr old appropriate American tv show.  Hannah Montana?  She doesn't like Hannah Montana.  I didn't protest.  So the only other thing I could think of was Suite Life of Zack and Cody.  I laughed...she stared...even though she said she could understand what they were saying.  When the hour was up she wanted to show me a video.  It was a 30 second cartoon on Youtube in Spanish. Something about a boy that didn't want to eat his dinner, the mom was this big scary lady that looked like a human version of a rhinocerous who came running at him yelling something in a deep voice and then chopped his head off.  Fin.  No wonder she didn't think Suite Life was funny....

Before dinner, Jose, Jose Antonio (the Dad), Patricia and I went for a bike ride.  Well, they first asked if I wanted to run since I had asked where I should go if I wanted to run.  And considering that the dad is a triathlete I thought I ought not embarrass myself right away by trying to run with the man.  They wanted to show me the "camino" (path) where they run and ride bike.  So I got on one of their bikes then quickly realized that I couldn't even remember the last time I rode a bike.  But I figured it wouldn't be so bad.  Well the "camino" was like a path only hardcore mountain bikers ride on.  Hills, sand, more hills, trees, divets in the road from rain.  Have you ever tried riding a bike in sand?? It's frickin hard.  Jose Antonio ran while the rest of us were on bikes.  I almost ate dust...or dirt rather...more than a few times and the chain kept falling off.  But overall it wasn't so bad of a ride.

Today, Jose and I had "class" again at 10 and we decided that Fridays would be a "free" day where we could just talk about whatever and not study from his book.  We mostly talked about sports and what he likes to do, and showed each other videos on Youtube of what we were talking about that one of us hadn't heard of before.  He told me he wants to go "base jumping" and showed me this crazy video of people jumping off of some of the highest cliffs in the world and just flying through the air in wingsuits forever before opening a parachute.  Insanity. 

After that I had my first session with Oli, the mom, who showed me on Google Earth where we are and explained some bus things to me.  Then I showed her Wisconsin and all the towns I live in haha.  Then she said "Now, go out and get some air with Jose. Go for a bike ride." Oy vey.  Another bike ride.  Well I couldn't say no.  But my god the minute I got back on that thing I realized how much my butt hurt from yesterday.  I had to pedal standing up for the majority of the first 45 minutes.  Not just because my butt hurt but also because that was the only way to get anywhere when riding through sand.  He wanted to show me a different way, the one he usually goes on I guess, which was much longer, and way..way..harder.  For the majority, we were going downhill.  Easy peasy.  Until he stopped and said we were going back and I realized that meant we had to go all the way back uphill.  Did I mention that pedaling in sand is really hard?  Did I mention it's even harder when going back up the way you've just come down?  I walked. A lot.  But it was good exercise.  Can't wait to see how great my butt feels tomorrow...
At 5, I had my hour with Patricia.  We worked on tongue twisters and pronouncing 's' and 'sh' which sound exactly the same when she says them. So, "She sells sea shells by the sea shore" sounds like "See sells sea sells by the sea sore".  Darn that Spanish lisp.  After our lesson she wanted to play badminton, so we played for a little while but there was too much wind.  Then she tried to teach me this game they have in their yard which is a smaller version of tether ball, but she hit me in the face with the ball.  So not only will I have a sore booty tomorrow, but also probably a black eye.  We went inside and played a safer game.  Monopoly.

I have weekends free so I am going to try to attempt to go to Madrid tomorrow using the buses.  I haven't used them yet but Oli has explained them a lot to me and I have to do it at some point. I am going to meet my dear amiga Camila's sister once I'm in the city.  I will hopefully take more pictures and meet some more people this weekend (unless I do in fact wake up with an egg for an eye tomorrow, then all bets are off).  Next weekend the American tutor will be here for the neighbors and hopefully we can do some exploring together.


  1. Kate, you are way too chistosa. You've got me laughing up a storm. Can't wait to tune in tomorrow for the next installment of as the stomach churns!

    Love you


  2. A causative?? Holy cow, I was an English major and I think I have to google that to see what it is! Can't wait to see the next post - they're fun to read!
    -Dana S.

  3. Me ENCANTA tu blog y, estoy de acuerdo con kitti, eres muy chistosa! Yo disfrute la parte con tu hermana Patricia jajaja! Gracias por compartir tu experiencia!