La vida quotidiana

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September 18th 2009
Published: September 18th 2009
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Lovely spreadLovely spreadLovely spread

Cheese, homemade tortilla, various meats, etc.
I sure wish I had my camera coming down the "mountain" from school today. After this morning's rainstorms the mountains were all covered in an eerie mist - I'll have to start bringing my camera out with me more often to catch such events. Anyway...I'm alive and well in the Pyrenees, though without too many exciting things to recount. Nonetheless I'll try to enchant you with the details of my day to day life.

Since we all know what I actually want to talk about, let's cut to the chase and have a look at what I've been eating. Though adjusting to our new schedules and teaching-loads has put a slight hold on our frequent feasts, we still are eating quite well. Perhaps the most interesting night's meal was inspired by a cute little package of quails at the supermarket. Though I did not cook them myself, I did have the pleasure of decapitating then and breaking all the bones to flatten them in the pan. It was quite pleasing if I do say so myself. We served that up along with some mashed potatoes and leeks sauteed in about 7 lbs of French butter. Molt ric. For dessert we

Post bone-crushing and decapitation
were a bit lazy and took to slathering hunks of chocolate with nutella and mascarpone. We are quite high class as you can tell.

I am still in cheese heaven as well, as delicious French and Spanish cheeses are sooo much cheaper here. The best part of all is that they are unpasteurized so we can enjoy the full spectrum of rankness the cheeses have to offer. In the higher end French grocery store, Pyrenees, 2 of us were actually invited into the little sealed cheese chamber to pick out which delicious semi-crude goat cheeses we would be purchasing. It was like heaven in there. Nobody here is too big of a lush, but when at the supermarket it is sooo tempting to buy like 4 bottles of alcohol at a time considering that is equivalent price-wise to one bottle in the US. A small thing of Zubrówka vodka cost me 24 or so US dollars just a month ago. Here it is just over 5€. Collons!

One alimentation that was NOT to my liking, at least post-consumption-wise, however, was our brilliant decision to get Chinese Food. Long story short I had fallen ill on account of stress,

Notice the 6.95 Euro Stoli and 5.10 Euro Zubrowka
getting caught in the cold before school one morning, waking up every hour and not sleeping at all, and a bunch of other factors. Well, feeling a little better after a nap, I felt well enough for some food and was rather excited to see what Chinese food was like in the country. Right now I cannot think of it without wanting to vomit. It is not that the food was so bad (I'd call it more "asian inspired"), I just still after 2 days have not recovered from it.

Anyway, after a full week of classes I am fairly comfortable in my new work environment and have purchased all the fun curriculum and attendance books to make me an organized teacher. Despite being warned by some teachers about "problematic" students, all have been fairly well behaved. The first week was almost entirely just get-to-know-you. I prepared a powerpoint about myself, we played some ice breakers, and I had them fill out cards and introduce themselves out loud to me. The only problems arose, when, during the "going on a picnic" ice-breaker (where you have to bring something that begins with the letter as your first name), people named
Lovely cheese spreadLovely cheese spreadLovely cheese spread

All semi-crude and unpasteurized like they should be
Marc would bring marijuana, Vanessa would bring vodka, Paulo would bring prostitutes, etc. etc. Oh well. They are that age, I suppose. Even just 12 hours a week is absolutely exhausting and definitely something I'm going to have to get used to. As for pretending I am monolingual in English, that has already gone out the window. I find it is much more beneficial for them to know they cannot mess around in Catalan, Spanish, French, etc. since I understand it, but instead to just keep a firm grip on an in-class English-only policy.

On the apartment front we are still in talks with a woman about this 4 bedroom absolutely wonderful place in the city center with a fireplace, oven, two bathrooms, extra bed, etc. etc. We were all set to snatch it when one of our own backed out at the last minute after not having said a word. BLEHHH. Nonetheless we are renegotiating, instead taking on one of the Oxford girls until January and asking for a bit of price lowering. I'm crossing my fingers. As for living with Andorrans, we all pretty much decided (well, the 3 of us) that as we speak enough Catalan
Bona vistaBona vistaBona vista

View from our...maybe...apartment
all day long it would be nice to retreat to our own living space without having to deal with familial drama, sharing things that actually belong to a real person, etc.

That is about it for now. I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend, even if it is rainy. I really cannot wait to get out of this aparthotel - between the shitty internet, not-so-well-equipped kitchen, expensive laundry, events like a 7am fire alarm during which no one would answer the urgency phone line, etc. we have all had enough. Next week Monday I start my private English tutoring as well as seeing Kasia's cousin Iza, who is strangely enough in Andorra for work. I am trying to think of a delicious thing I want from Poland...suggestions?

Oh, last but not least I made the Andorran news after a meeting with the education minister but after trying for many hours to upload it to travelblog it just does not work. Between that and our newspaper articles we are definitely celebs!

Additional photos below
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My residency permitMy residency permit
My residency permit

I'm official, and I also look heinous in that picture. Oh well....

18th September 2009

Decapitating quails! What next?? Can you imagine playing Balderdash with those kids??!!! Hope you get that apartment!
18th September 2009

Glad to hear that Andorran teenagers are as obnoxious as any other. Paulo suggesting to bring prostitutes to a picnic during your ice-breaker did make me laugh. As you get into your routine I expected you'd be reporting more about what you eat than anything else. You didn't disappoint. Pyrenees 2 sounds like a "cheese heaven". Put it on our sightseeing list. What a nice coincidence to have Kasia's cousin coming to Andorra. I'd suggest asking for Polish dried mushrooms or honey. You can make mushroom soup for your fellow Fulbrights. Save those newspaper clips for your mother. Good luck on the apartment. Love, Dad~

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