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Published: October 16th 2009
From our window
My apologies for the lack of update in recent weeks, its just that I haven had anything overly exciting to report, nor have I traveled anywhere fun. Nonetheless Ill attempt to highlight some of the things that have been going on in my Andorran life for the past few weeks.
Life in the Palau continues to go very well, and weve all very much adjusted to living here in the Ciutat de Valls. I really look forward to seeing the change in seasons via our wondrous view - theyve forecasted snow for Thursday! Our location really is ideal for getting all the buses, going to the butcher or baker, etc.
The other day Alex and I decided to explore what was up behind our apartment building, and what do you know there was basically a trail with gorgeous views of the entire valley. Many people also have private gardens on hills such as this, where they grow various flowers and vegetables, and some even have chickens and other animals for slaughtering and feasting upon. Apparently these are owned by the more wealthy Andorrans who hire people to tend their land. On a gorgeous day like the one we had,
Housemates plus Andrew
sitting up top the mountain with a couple of beers for the afternoon was perfect, just looking out over the city.
In terms of teaching, I continue to be overly stressed by everything. Because of the way the classes are divided, it can take an entire month for one lesson to pass through every class. For the second years Ive mostly had to teach mundane things like writing CVs and letters of application, but for todays new round of lessons I decided to do something fun since I was free to teach whatever I wanted. We started with a few scenes from the Disney Halloween classic "Hocus Pocus". After watching the initial scene/background story and discussing, we moved onto the "I Put a Spell on You" musical number, where I made them fill in the blanks lyric-wise. Next it was time for some Martha Stewart action. We watched Martha decorate Halloween cupcakes as well as make white chocolate ghost treats. Since baking at home is almost a foreign concept in Andorra and Spain (thats what the plethora of bakeries are for), I hope it was at least somewhat interesting. Finally we finished with an introduction to candy corn thanks
Path along the top
Above and behind our apartment
to a shipment I received from Bryan and Peter in Boston.
On the private level, I now have 9 hours a week of private lessons, which means I need to spend hours upon hours every week planning 9 separate hour-long lessons for people ages 8-38. Some of the topics overlap, but really I am tailoring most things individually, which sucks. On the other hand, making around $1000USD extra a month is um....wonderful. I am also gaining a legitimate appreciation for the English language and its grammar, and at the moment I want to apply to Browns MA program in Portuguese-Bilingual or ESL Education and Cross-Cultural Studies...after I finish this MA. Yes, Ive become re-obsessed with Portuguese. In fact, we three Americans in the Palau are planning a Linguistic study on Catalan with Portuguese immigrants. Muito Bem.
Unsurprisingly we also continue to eat quite well. Some of the highlights of the past few weeks have included making pizzas - fig, caramelized onions, goat cheese, and Spanish ham, and then fresh mozzarella, olives, and mushrooms - with French onion soup....Studding camembert with garlic and baking it....Wrapping bleu cheese in steak and serving it with bleu cheese mashed potatoes....roasting a chicken
and making delicious soup with its carcass the next day...etcetera etcetera.
Weve also befriended the Moroccan bread-makers that work down the street. This happened one night when we were returning from going out one evening circa 4am and noticed the sketchy door to the place was open. Well after buying bread and some interesting tuna pizzas from them, we arranged to return to learn how to make croissants and other delicious goods. While he haven yet taken them up on the offer, we have had Marc (one of the Morrocans) over for a beer, so as our friendship continues to solidify, we will slowly learn the ways of European breadmaking. CANNOT WAIT.
Thats about it for now. Now we
e just counting down the days until our trip to the south of France for our week off for All Saints!
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