Hello there pretties.
Today’s first guest post comes to you from Miss Leah Lane, who is visiting us from Spain. She is spending nearly a year in Ibiza teaching English to teen-aged Spanish kids. Personally, I could never enter a classroom of teens in the States, let alone in a foreign country. And from what I hear, those Spanish boys are a bit cheeky.
In case you are way behind, Leah spent the Christmas and New Years holidays with us in Finland -what a brave soul, coming from the sunny beaches of Ibiza to this frozen, windswept Baltic state!
Leah and I met in college, both pledging the same sorority as freshman. Over the next few years, we became very close friends, both frequenting the Sigma Chi house, and she and Jimmy became great friends at the same time. He even took her to a formal when I was on study abroad! In August, Leah was a bridesmaid in our wedding, and saw us off on our honeymoon flight.
Here she is with her tales of Spain and more…
I must admit, I was a little intimidated at the idea of my own post on Amy’s blog, but who can say no to those big baby blues. So here we are, a mere couple hours before heading to the airport, squeezing it in. That in part is thanks to having too much fun gallivanting around Finland with my favorite newlyfleds.
For those of you I have yet to meet, here’s a little summary.
I’m 23, graduated this past May from the U, and have been living in Ibiza, Spain since mid-September working for the Spanish Ministry of Education. My job title is an English Language & Culture ambassador/assistant, and I work with secondary school kids aged 11-17.
It’s an experience to say the least.
An enlightening, ridiculous experience.
As far as the program is concerned, you can be placed in various cities and pueblos throughout Spain. While you’re able to put preferences for where you would like to be placed and what age group you’ll work with for the year, it is truly left to the will of Spanish bureaucracy.
I originally asked for a primary school, but ended up with a secondary.
As terrifying as it was to be fed to the wolves of hormonal, choker and platform-wearing Spanish youth [Kylie Jenner is that you?], they’ve ended up stealing my heart. Many of them have been nothing but painfully sweet and beyond hilarious, most curious if the many shows about H.S. cliques and college parties are accurate, and why American’s are so damn patriotic.
The second was easy, because well, America.
While “attempting” to answer the first question, it came out that I had been a cheerleader and a sorority girl, as both tend to be portrayed interestingly in American media. While trying to explain the difference between the very unfortunate, false stereotypes portrayed, and some more hilarious ideas seen about, questions quickly spun out of control, with a couple high-pitched marriage proposals thrown in.
It about sums up my teaching experiences thus far.
Since that first week, I like to think we’ve leveled out, maintaining a balance between working on the complexities of the English language, and explaining what a chandelier is and why in the world would we sing about it [thanks Sia].
Of course, there’s the homesickness. Ames has touched on this with some beautifully written posts, such as “Coming Home” & “New Normal”, which I highly recommend if you missed them or you’re one of my family members reading this blog for the first time.
For me, this is the first time in my life to be this far from my loved ones for more than a month.
I would have included home in that sentence, but as Amy has said before, home is an ever-expanding idea, dependent on who and what I am thinking of.
When I leave for home today [with small stops in Madrid, Portugal, and Barcelona], it’s back to my lovely little room with it’s balcony facing out to the port of Ibiza, Spain.
While temporary, with all my other homes a 20 hour travel day away, it does the job.
Not to mention the 100+ beaches and French Bulldogs at every corner doesn’t exactly hurt.
So while this year has been its share of difficult, to go from being surrounded by the world’s most loving and supportive group of family and friends I could imagine, to arriving very alone on a small Mediterranean island with a very heavy suitcase and no place to live; I wouldn’t change a thing.
Not to mention, how lucky am I to have two close friends living just north of me? Whilst very far north, on the opposite side of Europe, in pretty much the North Pole, still counts.
They made my Christmas holiday one that I’ll never forget, when it could have been a small tragedy spent alone. Couldn’t have had a more lovely and relaxing time up here in the arctic (not the actual arctic, but it is), it made for some of the best memories I’ve had since landing on this side of the pond.
Also Finland is ridiculously gorgeous, y’all will just have to see that for yourselves when you come visit.
[JIMMY ROCKS!] *his only input on what I should write about in this post, thanks for the help old pal.
Anyone interested in the program, here’s a link (Applications should open up in January!):