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Since it was the second week of December, Christmas worked its way into most lesson plans. As a person who never gets sick of Christmas lights, Christmas music, Christmas decorations, Christmas cookies, etc., I was quite eager to go into Full Christmas Mode.
Week 9 brought Thanksgiving, a holiday only known to Spaniards as that day when Americans eat turkey. For me, however, it is the second most important holiday of the entire year, and it’s very strange to be away from home.
As a conversation assistant, my job is to talk. Without a voice, I was a bit like a broken pencil—pointless. I wish I could say that I navigated the situation well, but I resorted to tea with honey and cough drops and whining.
Most of my students do not understand the concepts of “personal questions” and “maintaining a private life.” My world is their oyster; my foreign ways are strange and wonderful, and my life is a fantastic enigma. Hence, I get asked odd, intrusive, but usually innocent questions, mainly to do with my love life.
Because none of the teachers are native English speakers, I have suddenly become an Authority of the English Language and Explainer of All American Culture. I have had to elucidate the health care crisis, why people have guns, and apologize on behalf of my government for spying on Spain.
One of the big adjustments to teaching English in Barcelona has been understanding the school system in Catalonia. Pro tip: it resembles little to the system in the United States and my home state of California.