Palma, Santa Margalida, and stuff. 1st Week Teaching Wrap-Up

Hi everyone!  Happy Friday.  Well, my Friday.  My three-day week ends on Thursday 🙂

Things are so much better since the last time I checked in.  Everything tends to be a lot better when you’re not super-jet lagged and you’ve actually slept more than 4 or 5 hours a night for a week straight.  And of course, it’s impossible to see that you’re just upset because you’re tired when you’re tired.

I started school this week, and while my commute is definitely a little more arduous than it would be if my school was in the city of Palma, but I think the people at the school are trying to help us out (I work with another American auxiliar), and most of the days we’re carpooling instead of getting up super-pre-dawn to take the train.  Sometimes it’s it’s just the two of us and the teacher that drives, and sometimes another teacher joins us, but everyone is nice enough to let me sit in the front seat so I don’t get carsick.  Because I have the motion sickness tolerance of a drunk toddler.  And I counted, between our exit from the highway towards Santa Margalida and the school, no fewer than nine (9!) roundabout circles one way.  In a small European stick shift car.  On narrow windy European roads.  This morning a bus came over onto our half of the road, and I seemed to be the only worried one.  I was told that the roads  aren’t that narrow.  On the way home we saw a car flipped over on the side of the road, and I was told it was probably because the roads are so narrow.  If I’ve said it before I’ll say it again, that Jersey driving is apparently nothing compared to the insanity of driving in Mallorca.

Overall my kids have been good.  The teachers tell the students that we don’t speak Spanish, so that they have to talk to us only in English.  I’m sure they’ll catch on at some point, but for now it’s entertaining.  Immediately after finding out I “don’t speak Spanish,” one of the 12-year-old boys, let’s call him Rafael, immediately turned to me and tried to convince me that his entire name is really “Rafael El Guapo”.  {Rafael the Good-Looking}.  So that’s pretty much what I’m working with.  And the fact that a lot of their lessons are in British English, and I feel like an idiot when I don’t know how to conjugate anything.  Americans sympathize with me… have you ever put the sentence together like “I haven’t got school on Sunday.” or better yet “I have got a bicycle.”?  It sounds so redundant and improper to me.

On the flip side, I got to work on pronunciation with some older kids today, and started to seriously wonder if they really want to model an entire class of people after the pronunciation of someone from New Jersey.  Personally, I think it’s fabulous, and I can’t wait to do my presentation on Bruce (Springsteen of course) next week, but I’m just not sure if these kids really want to end up saying things like “cauw-fee”.  At least it’s not tomAHto 🙂

But anyway, yesterday was my day off and, after sleeping in until 9:30, I was super-productive.  I schlepped down to the police office to get a residency number.  The right office this time.  I had had an appointment for Monday, but hadn’t been able to go because I had class.  The woman accepting people at the office certainly wasn’t thrilled at me for dropping in, but let me stay because my program has priority.  It was 11:10am, and she told me to wait until after 1pm.  Certainly not ideal, but one of those bureaucratic things that had to be done sooner or later, so I sucked it up and grabbed my Kindle, kind of wished I had my phone charger since my phone battery seems to last a minute here, and sat down to wait.

In the interim, I was entertained by no fewer than three screaming babies, a toddler who wouldn’t stay put, and a very angry German guy who refused to speak Spanish with the lady in charge.  She refused to consider it her problem that she didn’t speak German and that he didn’t speak Spanish, at which point he decided to proclaim that “we’re in Spain and it’s my right to speak English.”  Sort of, I guess.  He refused to move from the line and she kept the line moving around him, until he left the line and went into the restricted back area looking for a German/English-speaking person.  The last I saw was the police officer following him with his hand on his holster.   Not sure what happened to the German, but he helped the time pass.

After one, I got processed pretty easily once I reminded them I was there.  I got a deli/bakery/Hoffman’s Ice Cream style number, went straight back, and now officially am an official Spanish temporary resident!  So yay, that’s done!  Now that I have my NIE, I have to go back and get my TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de los Extranjeros), the card with my official info on it in 30 days from yesterday.  Exciting stuff.

After the NIE office I went to the bank on the way home, because I figured I was on a roll.  They didn’t make it particularly easy, but I got it done.  I went in 10 minutes before closing so that they might be speedy so they could go home, and it still took no fewer than 3 people to figure out what to do with an American.  The lady who ended up helping me didn’t seem particularly thrilled that I was taking the time to read what I was signing, but definitely treated me better when she realized I was slow because I was reading, not just an idiot who couldn’t find the large box that clearly said “sign here”.  My debit card comes in ten days, and then I will be in business (once I get a paycheck to put in the account).

Sorry for the super-long post.  Kudos if you made it to the end.  There’s good news on the apartment front too, but I don’t want to talk too much about it, because I get superstitious.  Thanks for the encouragement though, when I thought I was going to be a permanent vagabond/hobo/traveling English-speaking sideshow!  Sending good karma to everyone since that’s how I’m feeling today.  Here are some more pictures from my island.  I’m a little sad I’m missing sweater-weather and apple and pumpkin everything, but the beach seems to fix that feeling.  Hope you’re having a tolerable end to the week and fun weekend plans are ahead!

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undressed, armless mannequin of course

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bunch of ham in Corte Inglés

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Tapas Night Tuesday. Not sure what it was but it was good. Maybe brie and something? Meat of some kind?

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Plaza Mayor at night

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Ensaimada de Manzana. Ensaimadas are supposed to be typical of Mallorca. Tasted like a creamy apple pie, which was fine with me 🙂

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the Inverted Church where we meet to drive to school every morning.

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