Friday, November 29, 2013

Giving Thanks

Thanks giving is not a holiday celebrated in Spain. It is, of course, a national US holiday, and is not recognized anywhere else. But, as a cultural and linguistic teaching assistant, I decided to show my students some of the things we do.

With the fifth graders, we held a little mock thanksgiving dinner. They were all asked to bring a snack to share, and we broke bread together.

 We gave each of the children a picture if a native American and a pilgrim to color and put in their notebook.
 Some kids brought homemade desserts, while others brought cookies or chips from the store. I gave the head teacher a recipe for apple pie, and we both brought our own versions.
 There were several homemade versions of Quesada, a sort of cheesecake.
 They were all excited to share and try all of the food, and when there was food leftover, they were happy to share it with other classes...
 Children from the first grade came to visit the class and try some of the snacks, taking part in our little holiday.
Teachers came by to take part as well. Later, before the end of class, some of the fifth graders took the snacks to the sixth graders across the hall.

I will take the end of this post to express my thankfulness to be a part of this program. On a personal level, it is allowing me to be close to loved ones that I would otherwise not be able to live near to. On an intellectual and growth level, I am learning things about myself, children, and people in general that I do not think could be learned in another social dynamic. Seeing the differences in ages, attitudes, and mental development is quite eye opening. It is humbling and enlightening to be among the clever little minds of youths, who are so unconstrained by adult realities and able to imagine things so far beyond what we know to be true as adults. But, I am frightened by the trust that these innocent minds place on the authority of adults. We know so little, yet they look at us for all of the answers.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Planning a Trip

My younger brother and my parents will be coming for Christmas. While I'm looking forward to spending time with all three of them, I am very excited about taking a trip with my bro and my SO.

We are going to take a road trip down to Cordoba, Seville, and Granada. It will be my first time in the South of Spain, and I am very excited to see the difference in culture and hear the difference in accents. I am told that there is a distinctive accent and in some cases even dialect in each city, town, and village in the south. My bro is excited about the mixture of architectural styles that come from the remainders of the Moorish reign and the Catholic Spanish reestablishment.

For the time being, we are still working out exact plans, and of course it is still more than a month away that we'll be taking the trip.

Traveling with people you know can be trickier than traveling with newer acquaintances and can cause rifts in relationships if you are not careful. It is important to take into account the needs, wants, and interests of everyone going on the trip.

I have found that is it easier to find common interests with people I barely know than with some people I have known all of my life. Last year, when I went to Italy with some other students, we were all content to go to the main tourist traps and marvel at the paintings and buildings. However, when I travel with my parents, their interests and choices of places to visit are far from what I would choose.
Now, planning a trip for myself, my boyfriend and my little brother, I find myself wondering if we will get along during an eight hour car ride, if we will enjoy each others' company as we visit ancient sites and buildings. Or, will we hate each other at the end because of the manufactured close proximity?