What did you do this past week? Trek up any mountains? Dance to some Country Rock music? Shop until your arms were sore? Exchange one language for another? Feast on Halloween goodies galore? I did all of those things and more! 🙂
My month of fall has been quite busy with teaching and tutoring, but I am still trying to squeeze in as many adventures as possible! Last Saturday morning, I braved the crowds at IKEA, PriMark, and Eroski with some fellow Meddeas members. If you’ve never been to IKEA, fair warning: you have to walk through the entire store to get to the check out. It’s a brilliant sales strategy; however, it is quite the timely route. PriMark and Eroski remind me of a Walmart or Target. There are some good fines for cheap prices, but the materials can be made out of cheaper quality. My arms were exhausted from lugging the bags through the stores, on the metro, and during the walk back home.
That evening we met up with two language exchange participants at Club Fever, where we danced the night away to some interesting country music. All the classic country instruments (banjo, guitar, fiddle, etc.) were present, but at random parts of the song, the lead singer would scream, reminding me of heavy metal more than good ole fashioned country. All of the band members were Spanish except for one band who had an American lead singer. It was fun showing my English and Spanish friends a few boot stomping moves on the dance floor. On a concert free night, the club has four dance floors set up that play different types of music. Definitely going back!
After getting only four hours of sleep, I hopped on a bus with nineteen other people to go to the nearby town Loiola. We spent the next 3 or so hours hiking up one side of Mt. Erlo, which turned out to not be as daunting as it first appeared. The view was more than worth the sweat and muscle burn. I now know to better prepare with layers though as the top of the mountains can be quite chilly due to the knock-you-over winds. I was envious of the black and white sheep, who looked content in their warm furs. Before we began our descent, we stopped to picnic beside a small natural pond. As I was finishing my turkey, red pepper, and hummus sandwich and the group members started to pass around cookies, a family of horses came frolicking over the rock to join us. Their neighing cheered us on as we shook out our stiff limbs and began down the opposing side of the mountain. After about an hour I soon realized that walking at such a sharp angle down is difficult; I much preferred walking at that same sharp angle up. Once another hour or so passed, we finally arrived at the base of Mt. Erlo where we witnessed a coming of age bull catching ceremony in the street and toured the large sanctuary. I am always impressed by how the churches here are such artistic masterpieces. Around 18:00 that evening, we all dragged ourselves back in the bus, giving our feet a much needed break, and headed back towards Bilbao. I was dead asleep once my head hit the pillow.
During the week, my days were filled with puppets, songs, kisses, and surprise video cameras. We celebrated one of the teachers turning 50 years old, so a myriad of pastries occupied the staff room table. I still don’t understand how Spaniards can be so fit yet have so many bars and bakeries. On Friday, I had lunch out with some of the teachers from my school to celebrate the closure of another week. We went to a small cafe and had the traditional Spanish tortilla with pickled red peppers. The whole conversation was in Spanish of course, so I only understand bits and pieces, but I am starting to pick up on more words and my replies are not as choppy. To speed along my process, I have enrolled in an evening Spanish course, which I begin next week. I’m using some of the money I get from tutoring in the evening to cover the costs. My online certification class also had its first group tutorial chat session (an audio hot mess) and assignment due on Tuesday. Balancing everything has been manageable thus far, so I’m hoping the essays and activities don’t get too time consuming.
On Friday, I participated in another language exchange, where a small group of us went to an adorable Italian restaurant on the port of Portugalete. It was interesting getting to explore outside the main city of Bilbao, and the food was delicious, which is always a plus. I had tortellini filled with cheese and pear and lemon meringue pie along with Crianza red wine. The others had various mouth watering pasta concoctions and desserts as well; we will definitely be returning. The views from the restaurant are stunning since it is right by the water. The reflections of the numerous lights and the prominent presence of the lift bridge adds to Portugalete’s charm.
When Saturday morning rolled around, I began a war in the kitchen with the pots and pans and ingredients. When six o’clock arrived, I had an arrangement of Halloween treats and ghoulish decorations ready. The Meddeas gang and I stuffed our bellies while watching crime shows and playing Scattegories. We are eating the left overs later today (since I accidentally made entirely way too much food; I blame my mother for giving me this tendency) and watching some scary movies. Should be loads of fun and laziness! 🙂
I’m currently sitting in the Alhondiga, which is a large family center in the Indautxu area of Bilbao. It has a library, swimming pool, gym, cinema, shops, and cafes. The building is enormous, so I’m sure there is more that I just simply haven’t discovered. Because it is nearing the end of October (goodness, how time flies here), I am planning Halloween themed lessons for my students. The itty bitty ones will get to “trick-or-treat” and the primary students will perform a trick for their treat as part of the lesson. I am very excited to introduce spooky vocabulary to them! 🙂 I hope your remaining week of October is full of falling leaves, comfy sweaters, and delicious sweets! As always, thanks for reading and feel free to comment! Cheers!