home away from home

I’ve enjoyed a really rewarding few days this week, at school and in my town.

I have been working on a project with all four of my English classes, and I am pleased to note it has connections to Bethlehem! Before I left the States, I did some video and photos with a group of students from a former teacher’s Spanish class at one of the local high schools. Upon arriving in Spain, this has turned into a major event and our kids are climbing the walls in excitement about having a pen pal in the US. There are some students that doubt the validity of the project, and whether or not the Americans will actually write back … apparently once upon a time they did a similar project with students in England and the letters never showed up. “Lost on the boat” is what I was told. Thanks a lot, England! We are tied up in permission forms for the moment, but soon we hope to share photos and email addresses so our students can communicate throughout the year.

Now let me tell you about this day. I spontaneously had breakfast with my director, who drove me to school. He is a joy and you can tell he loves his job. Later during the day I talked a few students into singing Happy Birthday to him over the intercom during recess: first in Spanish .. then in English! So proud 🙂 I planned to stay after school for a lecture / merienda (snack) with the teachers from town, but first – lunch with my wonderful coordinator and her family. Of course there is nothing like homemade Spanish food, and this was no different. Then we attend a lecture about teaching (where am I, Lehigh?) and a pastry-filled late afternoon event with a large group of the teachers from our town, hosted by our institute. This is followed by a drink with my coworker, the principal and the speaker – and a night in town with our nearest and dearest Loli, who takes care of us as if we are her own children. Jaime and I spent the evening with Loli, her husband and their two daughters – although by the time the electricity went out and her daughters (8 and 10 yrs old) began telling us ghost stories by candlelight, I was already head over heels. Forget that she served chicken noodle soup for dinner in her beautiful kitchen. They had me at hello!

I could not have asked for a better day / night. It is one thing to miss your family and wish for home, but it is an altogether different feeling when you find a home abroad. To be taken care of by people that barely know you, to have a warm bed to sleep in, and delicious food to eat, all because they have opened their arms and brought you into their home? Priceless.

Thanks, Bollullos – you continue to surprise me!

 

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