a day in the life: spring 2016

It's hard to believe that in two days we're leaving Spain.  Maybe for the spring and summer or maybe for...ever.  Regardless, the majority of our time spent here wasn't gallivanting around from country to country.  We were mostly in Madrid, living our lives, going about our business.  In the fall (September till December) that looked a lot like taking TEFL classes, looking for English students, teaching here and there (not as much of the latter as we would have hoped), as well as taking quite a few day trips on the weekends from Madrid.  In the winter (January till now), we  found more clients and so we mostly filled our days with teaching.  

What you see on this blog, though, is not really the day-to-day, it's more the weekend trips or the things we do when our students have holidays (and as a result, we do too).  However, I don't want to remember just that.  I want to remember the mundane, the minutes and hours and days that made up the months that we've spent in Madrid.  They've been really great and I don't want to forget - because I know that I will.  

So, if this "day in the life" seems a little average or boring to you, remember, our life isn't one big vacation...and scroll on to the pictures.  I'll be back with Córdoba which should be more picturesque and exciting later this week.  However, if you're interested, on any given Wednesday, just like today, my day might have looked a whole lot like this...

7:15am Alarm goes off, convince ourselves to get out of bed – easier for some of us than others, and also depending on how cold it is outside (we don't exactly have heat in our apartment...).

7:15 – 8:50am Eat breakfast, work out (Danny, not me), shower, get ready for the day

8:50am Attempt to leave for the library

8:53ish Leave for the library

8:58 – 9:00am Stand outside the library waiting for the security guard to let us (and about 10-15 others, primarily middle aged and retired men) in the library. 

9:00am Race up the stairs (Danny usually takes them two at a time) to the second level and claim “our” spot that has not one but two electrical outlets so we can plug in our laptop and either one of our cell phones or Danny’s Kindle. 

9:02 – 11:50am Check emails, browse social media (just being really honest here), make lesson plans for the twins, work on a blog post, research possible upcoming trip(s), do a few Duolingo Spanish lessons, make weekend plans, look into ideas for the summer, and so on.  An average morning could have included all of these, a few of these, or just one of these, depending on the day, but these were some of the things I often did.

11:50am Pack up and leave the library for the day

11:50 – 11:55am Walk home

11:55 – 12:30pm Eat lunch (usually leftovers, but if we didn’t have any, then a PB&J, and usually a Digestive for dessert), decide with Danny who needed the games like Spot It and Bananagrams the most and pack my backpack accordingly with any games for my students, plus their workbooks and anything else I might need for classes that day.

12:30, or 12:31pm at the latest: leave for the La Latina Metro, walk to the station as fast as I can, hoping to not just barely miss a train

12:37 Arrive at the station, ride on green (line 5) to Opera, switch lines to red (line 2), get off at Goya, where I teach my first students of the day.

12:48 – 1:00pm Arrive at the twins’ apartment lobby.  Their doorman, who is almost always there when I am, lets me know whether the twins have arrived already or not.  Only once during the two months I taught them did they arrive before me, so I stand off to the side of the lobby and read until they arrive home from school for their lunch break.

1:06 – 2:06pm Work with the twins on conversation, spelling, grammar, reading, and comprehension for 30 minutes each until their babysitter indicates it's time for class to be over.

2:06 – 2:10pm Wait for the twins to brush their teeth and get ready to go back to school, then take the elevator back down to the lobby and wish them a good afternoon.  “See you tomorrow!” we say to each other and they walk back to school for the afternoon and I walk across the street to the Metro.

2:10 – 2:30pm Ride four stops to Canterbury, the academy that we got our TEFL from back in the fall and that we taught some classes with for the past six months.  We often went there to plan lessons and use the WiFi (lots more outlets and a better environments than the library!), and this particular Wednesday afternoon is no different.

2:30 – 3:15pm Arrive at Canterbury, plan and print a lesson for Diego, check social media and my phone, chat with other teachers in the work room.

3:15 – 3:45pm Leave Canterbury for Sofía and Marta’s house, ride the Metro two stops to Nuñez de Balboa (yes, the stop is named for the Spanish explorer who crossed Panama to the Pacific Ocean.  There's a big statue of him outside the stop as well.).  I often arrive early, so I usually stand outside and read for a couple minutes until it's time to buzz their apartment and have someone come down and let me in (their apartment is funny in that most allow you to press a button that unlocks the front door from the apartment, but when I buzz their door, they have to come down from the 5th floor to unlock it and let me in).

3:45 - 5:15pm Teach Marta and Sofía, each one for 45 minutes.  I also teach them on Tuesdays with the same sort of arrangement, 45 minutes with each girl.  Sofía was my first student in Spain, and after teaching her in the fall, her parents asked me to start teaching her older sister in January.  They're both very sweet, and I've really enjoyed getting to know them and their family.  

5:15 - 5:45/53ish Walk back to the Nuñez de Balboa Metro station, ride to Alonso Martinez on the green line (line 5) change to navy blue (line 10), ride a few stops to Santiago Bernabéu (it's both the name of a station and the Real Madrid soccer stadium, which is right outside of the station).  Depending on how fast my trains and connections are, I usually arrive early.  

5:45/5:53ish - 6:00pm Sometimes I stand outside the Bernabéu stadium and use the free WiFi (I can tell you all the spots for snatching good WiFi in Madrid if you want! ;) or other times I sit on the bench outside my next student's place and read for a few minutes, depending on how much time I have (the stadium's on the opposite side of the street that I need to be on, so, more time = WiFi, less time = reading, usually, unless I'm in the middle of a book I just can't put down then you know where I'll be).  

6:00 - 7:00pm Teach Diego, my final student of the day.  Lately, this has become my most challenging student as I feel like he's really making things difficult for me and refusing to participate in conversation and really engage in activities, but we made to the end, for better or for worse.  If nothing else, we played a lot of Spot It and I learned a lot about Atlético de Madrid, his favorite football team.  As soon as the clock strikes 7:00, he is done, and he is out of the room, because he's been turning around and looking at the clock on the microwave every few minutes the whole hour.

7:00 - 7:37pm Walk back to the Santiago Bernabéu Metro station and travel back home for the day.

7:37 - 7:45ish Arrive at our apartment after taking a few Metros and walking the seven minutes home from the station.  I usually check the mail on my way in (and because I like to live life on the edge, I almost always open it while I'm walking up the five flights of stairs to our apartment too).  Unpack my backpack and maybe even get dinner started before Danny gets home around 8:00 from his last student of the day, Mario.  

8:00ish - 9:00ish Depending on the night (i.e. if we have everything for dinner on hand, when exactly Danny gets home, how complicated of a recipe we're making, and so on) we make dinner together.  Although when I say that, it's usually Danny being the main cook with me helping (chopping, opening cans, draining beans, etc) and washing dishes and setting the table as we go.  We're both working the whole time, we just divide the tasks a bit differently here than we did in our last place, where I was the main cook and Danny was the "helper," here things have shifted a bit.  

9ish  Eat.  Finally.  We are usually so ready to sit down and eat at this point.  We often linger, chatting and taking our time a little, because we know that it's about time to head for bed when we do leave the table.  Because we usually spend the morning together, and eat lunch together, we just have the afternoon to catch up on, so we talk about our students and what we're reading (so much Metro time to zoom through books these days!) and, you know, ordinary things like that.  

9:45ish Clean up from dinner, if we're feeling motivated enough.

10:00 - 10:30pm Get ready for bed - brush teeth, floss, wash face.

10:30 - 11:00pm Read in bed, write in my daily journal (just enough space for a sentence or two, just enough to remember what I did.  I love looking back on the past few years - it has enough space for five years and I'm on the third year right now.  One of the best clearance rack purchases I ever made!).

11:00pm Lights out