a day in the life: winter 2016

Last spring when we were living in Madrid - but our lives looked pretty different to how they do now, as least job-wise - I did a similar post to the one I'm doing today (check it out here, if you want).  Life changes for most people by season, location, job, etc., and we're no exception, so last Tuesday I kept a notebook with me and pulled it out frequently to keep a tab on what my day was looking like.  

As I explained in the first "day in the life" post I did, if you start reading and think, "Well, this is boring.  No pretty pictures, just the metro, more of their semi-sketchy looking street, and some substandard school photos!"  You'd be right.  Our day to day life here in Madrid isn't always that exciting or camera-ready, and no offense!, but I'm guessing that wherever you live, your daily life isn't always full of touring museums or walking on the beach or doing terribly exciting things every single day either.  

I want to remember the days like this last Tuesday (or Monday or Friday or...) because it's our real, ordinary life, and it's just as important and worth remembering as the trips we take.  It's not always as photogenic as day trips or weekends away, but those aren't really how we spend the vast majority of our days.  These every day, normal moments: they're important (to me at least).  They make up our lives.  So if no one keeps reading besides my mom, you won't hurt my feelings.  

And now, without further ado, an average day in my life, but more specifically, last Tuesday, December 13th...

6:30am Alarm goes off, Danny gets up and within about 10 minutes decides to stay home sick from school.  Usually, though, he makes himself oatmeal and then gets ready for the day and leaves for school around 7:25am (his goal is 7:20).  I stay in bed and use my phone...for Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp...  Yep, I'm going to at least be kind of honest in this retelling of my day.  And yes I do this pretty much everyday, at least since it started getting cold and the bed is the warmest place in the house (just like last year, we don't have central heating).  

7am I get out of bed, take a shower, and get dressed.

7:30am Make and eat breakfast of oatmeal with almond milk, raisins, walnuts, peanut butter, and a banana added to it, as well as ginger and lemon tea.  Considering last year we ate the same cereal every day, we feel like we've really moved up in the world.

8:08am  Leave the house a bit later than I should.  My goal is generally one hour before I need to be at school to give myself enough time (in case of traffic, a delay on the metro, etc) but I usually leave about five minutes late (I've never been late though!).  I walk from our apartment to the Alvarado metro station and barely catch the train!  I get off the metro at Plaza de Castilla and race up the escalator to where my bus leaves (along with many others, all going to places around northern Madrid).

8:20am Get on the bus.

8:23am Bus leaves Plaza de Castilla.  I generally read while I am on the metro and the bus, both on the way to and from school.  When I found out the best way to reach my school was by bus, I was disappointed because I felt like I had to be a lot more vigilant when taking the bus, and I wouldn't be able to get as much reading done, but after taking the bus everyday for about three months, I don't have to pay much attention to the stop announcements and I can tell by the fluctuations of people getting on and off how close we are to my stop.  It's ironic, but now, in general, I prefer the bus over the metro.  The only downside to the bus is that it is more prone to getting stuck in traffic, whereas that certainly isn't a problem that the metro ever has.  

8:45am  Arrive at school, drop off my coat in the teacher's room, chat with other assistants in another teacher's room before my first class

9 - 10am 5th grade class.  The teacher was late so I improvised with another teacher for about 15-20 minutes (I went over the answers to a worksheet packet the kids were supposed to do for homework), and then once the teacher arrived we played a review game for the rest of class.

10 - 11am no class.  Not every hour in my schedule is filled, and this is one of them, so I sat in the hall and used in my phone (Facebook, Instagram) mostly but also read some too.  

11am - 12pm 2nd grade class.  When I walked in, the teacher asked me to introduce comparatives and superlatives, so I did.  With so little notice it's hard to say how much the kids really understood the material, but...what can I do?!  They also recently learned about animals, so we spent time comparing animals (Which animal is bigger?  The lion or the lizard?  Which animal is taller?  The penguin or the giraffe?  And so on.) and then they worked on comparatives and superlatives in their activity book.  

12-1pm  6th grade class.  While the class took a practice KET exam (they will be taking the KET, a Cambridge exam to test their level of English in the late spring), I colored in the words "Spelling Bee" for the teacher to help her get ready for another class' Spelling Bee and answered questions for students as they arose.

1 - 1:15pm Waited in the hall for my next class to begin.  The class is supposed to begin at 1:10pm, but teachers usually don't show up until 1:15 or later and class doesn't get underway for a few minutes after that.   

1:15 - 2pm 2nd of ESO (American translation: 8th grade) class.  Gave a presentation about Thanksgiving (how it started, how it's celebrated in America today, how I celebrate with my family, how I celebrate Thanksgiving in Madrid) and then had students write "Thanksgiving" vertically and think of things they are thankful for that start with each letter (in English of course, but many asked anyways).  When they finished, they had to come up to the front of the class and share what they wrote down.  I know we did this activity closer to Christmas than Thanksgiving, but teachers are often searching for things to do in these ESO speaking classes, so after my Thanksgiving presentation went well in another class, she asked me to do it again for this one, even though it was rather belated.

2 - 2:30pm Ate lunch in the teacher's lunch room (where school lunch is served to all teachers and staff at the school for free, buffet style, every day) with another teacher.  We ate mostly in silence because neither of us speak too well in the other's language.  On most days I sit with the other assistants, but sometimes we're not eating at the same time one reason or another (lunch is served from 12 - 3pm), and if none of them are around I usually sit by myself. 

2:30 - 3pm I sat in the hall with my phone (near a heater of course - it gets very chilly in the hallways!) while waiting for the lunch hour to be over.

3 - 4pm 2nd grade class.  Class was cancelled because, in the words of the teacher, "we need to train for the festival."  Second grade took the Christmas festival very seriously this year, and I had many of my classes cancelled during November and December because they were practicing (or perhaps training really is a better word for it) their songs and dances.  I spent the hour in the teacher's room messaging Danny, my brother, and my mom about Christmas gifts.  With the eight-hour time difference, when you can be online at the same time as someone else, you seize the moment!  

4 - 4:45pm 3rd grade class.  When I arrived, the teacher suggested I could help them come up with moves for their dance to "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" for the Christmas festival, but mostly I ended up just watching them practice the whole time as it seemed the teacher had a vision for what she wanted...and to be honest I don't have much experience in choreographing children's dances after all.

4:45 - 4:57pm  Used my phone (Instagram) and read in the teacher's room.

4:57pm Walked downstairs and outside the school into the courtyard

5pm Picked up Blanca, one of the two girls I watch every day (except Fridays) after school, and then we went to wait for her sister, Claudia.  We walk to their house together, which is about a five minute walk from the school.  Neither of the girls had homework this particular day, so we played a game together for the rest of the time.  Most days one or both of the girls have homework, and that takes up the entirety of our time together.  If we have any remaining time we play games like Simon Says, I Spy, memory, or one of the games they have that can be played in English.  

5:48pm  Left the girls' house and walked to the Metro, which I've started taking home instead of the bus.  It's a longer walk, but I often have to wait up to 15 minutes for the bus to come, and now that it's rather chilly and getting dark in the evenings, I'd rather be walking and moving on my way to the metro and then warm and riding on the metro than standing outside waiting for the bus!  Plus, I've been getting home 15-25 minutes earlier with my new arrangement (probably because the bus almost always hits traffic, especially at that time of night), so I think I'm sold. 

6:30pm  Arrived at home. 

6:30 - 10:30pm   Spent the rest of the evening helping Danny with his Christmas list (why is this always so hard?!  For both of us!  We really struggled this year.) and then sending it out to people, bought Danny a gift online, ate leftover baked burritos for dinner (Danny was still feeling under the weather and didn't eat dinner), practiced Spanish with Duolingo, and got ready for bed.