We arrived on Monday morning, 7:20 to be exact. The first day was rough. I was tired because I couldn't sleep much on the plane. I suppose I experienced some culture shock. We received a lot of information at one time. It was hard to adjust to not understanding the people and signs around the city. Though I am able to navigate, it was uncomfortable not being able to read an advertisement, a sign in the market, or have a simple conversation with a cashier. I was feeling homesick. I was a little emotional which our coordinator said was a symptom of the jet lag. Though I am still feeling homesick today, I am not as emotional as yesterday. The food is quite different here. I haven't had anything that I haven't liked, which is good!
Today (Tuesday) was the first day at school and it was a long one. In Spain, students go to school from 9:00 a.m. until 4:45 p.m. They have a mid-morning break for a snack and a longer lunch period. When we arrived at school, we had an orientation with some of the administration at school. We went on a tour of the school. I still got lost...multiple times. The school has four stories and has two separate wings (one for boys and one for girls). I only met two of my classes today. The first class is an Advanced English class for Juniors in high school. I will be tutoring in this class for one hour every Tuesday to help them prepare for their exit exam (which is equivalent to our AP exams in high school). I simply have conversations with them to help improve their speaking abilities. The second class I met today was 5C, which is one of my regular classes. This class was 5th grade boys. In Spain, the boys and girls are separated at school. They believe that you must teach boys and girls very differently in the classroom. In Reial Monestir de Santa Isabel (RMSI), the girl's classes are labeled A/B and the boys are labeled C/D. The boys in 5C are very loud and wild. There are 28 of them in all. They were all very curious about me and where I come from. I felt like I was in an interrogation room. Though they are wild and loud, they are super sweet and welcoming.
After school, I went to the city center with 2 other American teachers. We didn't get to stay long, but it was beautiful! There were many shops and restaurants. In the middle of town, there is a large fountain surrounded by beautiful statues. I can't wait to go back and explore more!