two months back in spain

On Saturday we marked two months of round 2 in Spain by doing not much all day long, and then, finally, bundling up a bit, and going out for churros and chocolate, as is our habit.  We talked a little about what we're thankful for and Danny confessed he doesn't like churros all that much.  Well!  I was really shocked.  How will we mark our monthly anniversaries?  He's suggested donuts dunked in chocolate, among other treats, but churros are just so, so very Spanish.  Stay tuned for how we navigate this tricky decision.  I don't know if we can get through this.  

Our experience this go around has been so different from our first six months in Spain.  We're living in a new neighborhood that, at first, I couldn't stand, but now I can't imagine moving.  The 24-hour grocery store, the Metro line access, the extensive biological (read: natural/organic) store, the Lidl with pastries, cheap peanut butter, oats, chocolate chips, and powdered sugar...okay so we're seeking a lot of comfort in food right now.  

Our jobs are reliable, scheduled, and well-paying (don't get the wrong idea here - well-paying in the sense of jobs for Americans teaching in Spain, but not so much in comparison to American jobs).  We're finding our way with work, although believe me, every day is a new adventure.  I teach 2nd of primary through 3rd of ESO (I believe this translates to 2nd grade through 9th grade) and some days I answer questions about guns and race and feeling safe in America and other days I show pictures of myself dressed up for Halloween as a kid, or try to explain the respiratory system to a class of 2nd graders with no advance warning (or sometimes all in the same day).  Spanish schools are, at the same time, incredibly different and quite similar to American schools and I've started a list on things I want to share on this wild experience of teaching in Spain.

What's really keeping us sane right now is this rad group of people we've found ourselves surrounded by.  Some are leftover (in a good way!  Leftovers are the best, right?!) from a community group we were a part of last year, and others we've met this year.  Others are from school, and still others, you know, we've just found (or they've found us, whatever).  The point is, we're really thankful for them all and the time we're sharing here in Spain.  Generally, it's over food, because isn't the table where some of the best stories, most meaningful conversations, and laughter, lots of laughter, takes place?  

Just like last year, we've been trying to get out and see Europe, but as I'm sure you've been noticing, that's looked a bit different so far as well.  We've taken two (overnight) trips so far, and they've both been road trips and both have been (primarily) within Spain.  Last year we pushed out, mostly, and took day trips from Madrid on the weekends we weren't traveling.  That's changed, though, because we've found out how reasonable car rental can be (note: can be.  It's not always, especially when you're renting an automatic as we have), and getting around Spain by train/plane can be pricy, so car can be a very good way to not only get around reasonably but also see more while you're at it.  We've taken just a handful of day trips from Madrid, but not many as we feel like we covered most of them last year.  We have been trying to revisit our favorite parks around Madrid while the weather's been good and then once it's cold, I'm thinking we'll find our way back to the museums.  

I've just gone and re-read what I've written and, well, it all sounds really!  great!  We are doing so good, right?  I mean, kind of.  The truth is that we have settled into routines and figured out how to 'do life' here (for the most part).  But of course, it's still real life, and we still have a budget for every euro we earn, and we still argue about this, that, and the other, and we forget to buy celery at the store for dinner at night, and our apartment has been cold for the past two weeks and probably will be until the end of March/beginning of April.  Not to mention that although our Spanish has improved, it's still embarrassingly bad for having lived here for eight months.  Going to the doctor - which I've had to do four times in the past two months - is a whole other ballgame...I almost need to take deep breaths just thinking about it, talk about stressful!

 We have a lot coming up in the next two months - a bit of an extended break at the beginning of December that we're hopefully nailing down plans for in the next couple of days, and then just a few weeks later, we'll be back in the US for Christmas and New Year's!  It really feels like it's just around the corner, probably because our grocery store is selling poinsettias and light displays are going up, and, well, when you don't have Thanksgiving separating Halloween and Christmas, why not just jump right in?!  I've already got quite the list going of all the things I need to bring back with us from the States: mostly clothes, of course, but also some things that just don't exist here.  We'll also be celebrating my brother's WEDDING!! when we're back in Colorado, which is bringing lots of family in, too, making everything more fun and exciting.  I can hardly wait.  Until then, though, I've got lots of catching up to do on blogging on just what we've filled these two months with!