el universo sobre mi

Las cosas van mejorando poco a poco. Things are getting better.

Slowly, people are starting to call and arrange classes. I have three new private classes, which makes me feel better. I have lots of evening plans this week and an awesome new friend to spend time with. Jill and I are going out to dinner on Saturday at a crepe restaurant with another American, Joshua. I have something to look forward to.

Also, the few classes I do have are going well. I feel like I am a lot more organized this semester, and my classes are more useful and flow together in a more logical manner. And it always makes me happy when I think of creative ways to present material, like playing the song “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better” to present can and can’t grammar. Then the students made up their own version…that stuff is hilarious. Also, my friend Lauren is an elementary school teacher and she wrote that teachers should come up with one good lesson plan per week. I don’t know why, but that made a lot of sense, and since then, lesson planning has been much easier for me. I basically just create one lesson and then adapt it for every class.

So I figured that in order to motivate myself and get out of the depressive slump in which I’ve found myself for the last few weeks, I needed a few goals. These are my goals for this year, or at least by June:

1. Find a new studio apartment which allows me to paint the walls and have a cat. I really need a fuzzy thing to pet every once in a while.

2. Work on writing and submitting travel writing stories to various websites in the hopes of contracting a paid position for the upcoming year (by September, I’m hoping).

3. Make new friends to spend time with once Verena and the rest of my student friends leave.

The third one will be the hardest, I think, because Verena and the other German girls really have a place in my heart, even though we’ve only known each other a short while. I spend about 90% of my time with them, and have more fun with them than anyone else. I really don’t know what I am going to do when they leave.

Regardless, the prospect of another small life-shift is exciting for me (especially the thought of having my own space to decorate and a whole wall to paint turquoise), so I am looking forward to the summer, and also possibly a trip home for a few weeks. Oh, Chicago, how I miss you!

quiero vivir
quiero gritar
quiero sentir
el universo sobre mi
quiero correr en libertad
quiero llorar de felicidad
como un naufrago en el mar
quiero encontrar mi sitio

Time’s A-Wastin’: An Essay on Time, Proper Use of It, and General Culture Clash

I have lately been having a crisis of self-deprecation. Well, lately, no – rather, since the moment I arrived here. Basically since graduating college, I have not been able to shake the feeling that I am, indeed, a lazy slob.

This is ridiculous for several reasons. However, here is the main cause for my feelings of uselessness:

I have not, since beginning work in October, been able to stop feeling guilty for the fact that I wake up at 11am every day. This bothers me immensely, and I don’t know why. In all reasonableness, here are my justifications for doing so (see? I even feel that I need to explain myself with justifications. This is ridiculous):

-I do not work until 4pm every day, and generally leave at 10pm. I then need dinner time, winding-down time, and getting ready for bed time, so I don’t generally go to bed until 3 or 4am.

-This means that I only get a normal 8 hours sleep. It’s not like I’m spending all of my time snoozing.

-I do not have this schedule by choice. I would love nothing more than to have to wake up at 8 (okay, 9am) for morning classes, but that’s not how things are working out right now.

-I still get up at the same time on weekends, while most of my friends sleep until 2 or even 3pm.

-(Also, as a general PSA, I only work about ten hours a week because that’s all I am offered right now. But teaching ten hours a week is not like going to class ten hours a week. In class you can zone out, or just listen, or even participate, but it’s fairly easy. As a teacher, I have to be in charge all the time. I have to listen carefully, respond cleverly, and know exactly what we’re doing at every moment of the class. It’s pretty tiring!)

And then when I am awake, I spend a lot of time at home in the house. I could be doing things, but since I may be doing them by sitting quietly at my desk, I suddenly feel as if it doesn’t count.

In general, I think these feelings come from a deep-seated (and until now, mostly hidden) very American view of time use. Americans are ultra-producers; we even work in our sleep. The idea of waking up at 11am (though even most professional Spaniards do not begin work before 10am) and not going to work until 4 seems frivolous and improper. I should get up at 8 anyway and do something else before work. There’s a constant emphasis on doing something. ALWAYS DOING SOMETHING. Which is ridiculous, because really, what would I do? If I go out all I will do is spend money. My friends are busy with class during the day. I have to plan my classes, but that’s done at home, and unfortunately, in the middle of the night.

This, combined with a Spanish lifestyle that begins in the afternoon and stretches deep into the night, is not helpful. In addition, Spanish life is lived on the street; the day has not begun until you’ve left the house. So if I wake up at 11 and do not leave the house until 2, or sometimes 4, I have basically wasted the day on both counts.

It makes no sense to feel this way because there’s really nothing I’m not doing that I should be. I take all the classes I am offered, I have never missed or cancelled one (except the day I had food poisoning), and I go out often to run errands, meet with friends, etc. But still, I feel that because I wake up three hours later than most people, and go to bed three hours later as well, that my whole existence is useless and that I really do nothing. I can’t get over this. Does anyone else ever feel this way?

como cambia la vida

I was supposed to start back at work yesterday but all my classes were cancelled. Two of my students haven’t called at all so I’m assuming they’re not coming back. I have $128 in the bank and $11,000 in student loans which I must pay back now. I am still an illegal immigrant. This morning, my mirror fell and shattered into a thousand pieces. This can’t be a good sign for 2006.

So far, things are not working out the way I had planned. Yet they rarely do anyway, so I suppose there’s still hope. There are 355 days left to turn things around.

But right now, I’m frustrated, bored, and bordering on bankrupt. I don’t know where to go from here but I suppose the only way is up. Here’s hoping.

you got a fast car
i wanna take it to anywhere
maybe we can make a deal
maybe together we can get somewhere
anyplace is better
starting from zero got nothing to lose
maybe we’ll make something
me myself i got nothing to prove

you got a fast car
is it fast enough so we can fly away?
we gotta make a decision
leave tonight or live and die this way

Vigo!

I went to Vigo today with Lucas, and it was basically the perfect day. The weather was gorgeous and we walked and drove and talked and laughed and had coffee and wine and pulpo a la feira (octopus, prepared the famous galician way with olive oil, salt, and smoked paprika) and more coffee and watched the waves and the people and the sunset and it was perfect.

Pictures!

That’s all I have to say about that. I know I haven’t been in the mood to write lately, but I promise it will return very soon!

Photographixtravaganza!

So, I realized it’s been awhile since I’ve updated about things here in Santiago, but I finally got my Shutterfly Collection page up and running again (so you can look at ALL my albums at once), so I think I’ll just let the photographs speak for themselves.

http://jlostinspain.shutterfly.com

P.S. There are three new albums, if you’ve been keeping up on the pictures until now. Christmas/New Year, Finisterre, and English Students are all from within a month ago. Enjoy!