I walked into school Thursday with the intent of being my most enthusiastic, positive self possible. The day before I had been feeling a little down since the material I was trying to present seemed to be boring the kids to death, and it was also very elevated language~ even for native English speakers. I took it very personally that they seemed dismayed and like they would rather be any place but there.
I have the philosophy that you can transmit your energy to other people, and that even the most subtle difference is noted and reciprocated in others. For example, if I walk into the classroom and feel stressed, or tired, or sad about something, that energy (or lack thereof) is noted subconciously if not conciously by others, and their behavior and attitude bounces off of yours. Therefore, especially as a teacher, it's up to you to bring the most positive attitude into the classroom with you, and then to keep the energy up as if you were on the bleachers at Beaver stadium during an exciting game (by the way I heard we won yesterday--wooo!).
I didn't really have class with the kids too much on Thursday, but I know that on Monday I'm going to try a fun activity and see what happens...I'm trying to bring as much creativity to the table as possible.
That night I went around exploring La Latina with a new spanish friend named Edu. He's works in marketing/advertising and is really interesting to talk to. Plus, it's great to have a friend from Madrid to show me around. I love the La Latina neighborhood. It has a unique bar and restaurant on every corner, and they are all amazing! It reminds me of my mental image of a San Francisco/ Los Angeles scene...even though I've never been there. We ended up eating in a new organic restaurant (yay!) with buffet style food (yay!) that was incredibly delicious (yay yay yay!).
Friday afternoon I was determined to find a cafe with wifi that felt cozy so that I could write and get work done. I had been on the search for a good one, but with all of the smokers here it was hard to find one where my eyes didn't hurt from the smoke and my lungs weren't turning black in the gray haze.
I decided to center my search on Tribunal, since it is an area known for its cute cafes, and I hadn't really gotten to know the neighborhood yet. I was walking down the street when I found a used book store. Even though I told myself that I wasn't allowed to buy any more books until I was done reading the ones that I had, my book buyer compulsion propelled me into the store before I could say "no mas libros." The store has that old library book smell, with some of the books yellowed from pre-Franco days. It also has a funky mix of music--contemporany Spanish to Broadway musicals to "Shout!" (which brought up memories of many a Kleeb DJ'ed party). I found another Mario Vargas Llosa book, and also bought one recommend by the sales clerk. Then I asked him if they had free wifi, and they do! The best part is they have an espresso machine with free espresso!!! So I sank into on a plush green velvet chair with my computer on my lap, books at my side, and an espresso in hand. That is going to be my official writing place from now on I think.
That night I learned first-hand what it was like to be a Madrileno. I met up with Erin and her co-workers at a "teturia" in Lavapies, a diverse neighborhood with some of the best ethnic restaurants in all of Madrid. On the way I saw a 9-11 conspiracy exhibit, and one radical american talking about it to others. I tried to talk to him to discuss his point of view, etc. but he was wrapped up in conversation. It was interesting hearing some of the Spanish points of view though. Erin left to go to a club, so I ended going out with her co-workers to malasana, the best partying street in Madrid, to meet up with one of her co-workers Chilean boyfriend and his friends. We stayed at the bar to around 2:30-3 until with got kicked out, and then we walked to calle Huertas, which has things open until very late. We ended up at El Son, a salsa bar, and I finally got to dance Salsa! We stayed there until 6:30 when the place closed! Then, we all went to get churros at a Churreria. I ended up taking the metro back to my place at 8 AM! It was definitely the spanish way to party. My poor American body still isn't accustomed, therefore I slept until 5:30 PM on Saturday. How horrible! But, it was worth it for such a fun, "cultural" night.
Like I just said, Saturday didn't really begin for me until 5:30, so I had to scramble to get some errands done. I'm also working on editing the English of scientific documents written by non-native speakers, so I worked on that for the majority of the night.
Afterwards, I grabbed Eternal Sunshine and headed over to my friend Liz, Anna, and Michelle's apartment in between Arguelles and San Bernardo. We played a game (called something like 5 letters?) which was hilarious even though I was horrible. Then, we decided to stay in, eat some popcorn, and watch a movie. It was perfect for the rainy night we had.
Well, here I am, on Sunday, trying to get things prepared for tomorrow for work and for tutoring. I really do intend to keep undating, so I'll write more soon!