Defiende tus Derechos

September 30, 2010

Three items of note:

1.  Huge Spanish strike (huelga) today.  Unemployment at 20% and people were protesting, Harvey Milk style.

'i know you're angry...i'm angry!'

There was a fierceness to it that I just loved.  A lot of the signs translated to something like, ‘You have a right to work.  You paid for this right, with blood!’

Who do the people blame?   Entrepreneurs, politicians, business owners, but most of all…CAPITALISMO SALVAJE.   Police protection was upped around one billion percent.  We almost got frisked on the way into El Corte Ingles.

2.  After yesterday’s tough loss, we were back it today.  Wading through the streets, praying for signs like this:

please god be an exterior apartment

Looking for apartments in this manner is taking Craigslist to the streets.  You walk around a neighborhood and look for a half-decent place that has this sign.

Today we saw one in front of a perfect place.  It was our dream.  It had everything we possibly wanted: exterior view, gorgeous balcony, quiet urban street.  ‘Let’s call,’ I said.

‘No, Sean.  That’s the same place we just lost.’

I was crestfallen for a couple reasons.  One, it was our dream place.  Two, it hadn’t been 24 hours and I already forgot what our dream place looked like.  This goes beyond ‘absent-mindedness.’

3.  Props to our people at TTMadrid.  From day one they’ve been terrific preparing us how to teach, careful to blend the art with the science.  For people who’ve done other intensive teacher-prep programs, you know this is rare.  My initial preparation to teach in NYC amounted to a lot of ambiguous suggestion coupled with strictures like ‘have high expectations’ and ‘good luck.’

TT has given us tools, man.  Classroom management? Check.  Phonology, grammar, and classes dedicated to the unique qualities of Spanish learners? Check.  They give you insane amounts of feedback- absolutely essential for beginning teachers.    And the students we’ve taught are all, to the person, eager and intent.  From advanced learners discussing climate change to beginners (some well past senior citizenry) discussing numbers and colors, they’ve been good, good fun.

The fine people at TT also really make you feel at home with the transition.  This apartment thing has been tough, but they’ve been there for us, helping out, offering suggestions. Also thanks to them, we have a lot of offers for when we start work next week.  Very grateful for what they’ve done for us as a married couple – just a comprehensive introduction to what life in Spain is like.

Also grateful for the Spanish folks who went hard, defending their rights.  Props to these good people.  Hope things look up.


One Response to “Defiende tus Derechos”

  1. Constance said

    While impressed by your enthusiasm to the Spanish strike, I have to admit- by the end of my time in Madrid, when I saw a protest or strike, I thought, goodness what the hell are they complaining about now. Or about how it how inconvenient it was that I had to use a different metro stop because the protest was clogging the one I wanted. You see, the Spanish protest everything. As a culture that likes to loud and out in the streets, (parades, bull-running, tomato-throwing, botellon-ing), I think they protest sometimes because it’s fun to walk around streets yelling. And it is. But it’s also definitely something I was burned out on by the time I got home….

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