A Day in the Life of an Auxiliar de Conversación

One would think that, after two months, I would be used to the Spanish schedule. When I have conversation hour with teachers, they always ask me why Americans eat early. I ask why they eat so late. My mother tells me I can’t be lazy and take siestas during the day because I won’t sleep at night. But the problem is, I don’t sleep at night and have to wake up so early to get out to Olivares, that no siesta means I can’t function and I nearly fall asleep cooking dinner (making a sandwich, that is).

Here is my typical day. For example, Monday.
8am – wake up, shower, eat some yougurt.
9:15am – catch the M270 bus to Olivares. This one is the directo, and it gives me enough time to make copies and say hello the wonderful lady who works in the consejería.
10:30am – Teach my first class
11:25am – Recreo slash breakfast time, when the other teachers and I go to a bar and have some toast and coffee or orange juice.
11:55 – 2 – Finish teaching and catch the bus or find a ride
3pm – Arrive home and eat quickly
330pm – Leave for my other job
4-7pm – Publicity route/odd jobs at We Love Spain
8pm – Gym/Spinning class
10pm – shower and eat with Melissa
12am – bed

I don’t even get time for a siesta! The Spaniards tend to eat a light breakfast, a huge meal when school or work is over for the afternoon, and a small meal about 10. Sometimes I don’t end up eating anything until nearly midnight. I have to sneak in a nap when I can!

I’m also not used to the going out schedule here. On Thursday, I met some of my coworkers at a wonderful tapas bar in Triana called O’Tapas Abahaca. We ate fantastically, then went to a hip bar on C/Evangelista for more drinks before crashing a closed bar for mojitos. It was closing in one 1 a.m., about the time last call might be in Iowa City. But the night was just getting started.

I went and met two friends at a bar in Alfalfa, a really popular part of the city for botellon (illegal party where people just buy bottles of alcohol and mixers and ice and sit in the street and drink – you can actually buy a “botellon pack” from a store around the corner from where I live). When Espuela closed, we went across the street to Nao. When Nao closed, we went down the street to Berlin. I met Melissa at 3 am figuring I would go home since I had to work the next day at 9 am, but she convinced me that staying up would be better than going to bed. So we stayed out until we could ride the city buses home 6 am. I used my bus pass at 6:33, an hour before I would have been rolling out of bed to get ready to teach. One of the conversation partners and I were practicing the past tense and she asked me what time I went to bed, as she and I had tapear-ed. I said, I haven’t and she said, “Estás loca?!” Yes, I am crazy. I almost fell asleep while Eva and I had dinner with her brother in Alameda that night!

Last night, Kate and I had a botellón, and we didn’t even go to a disco until 2 am! It all seems a bit crazy to me, and then I sleep the next day, but not enough to actually have energy to do anything. Today, I’ve cleaned my room and made myself a sandwich. I don’t sleep, but my life is hard, right?

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About Cat Gaa

As a beef-loving Chicago girl living amongst pigs, bullfighters, and a whole lotta canis, Cat Gaa writes about expat life in Seville, Spain. When not cavorting with adorable Spanish grandpas or struggling with Spanish prepositions, she works in higher education at an American university in Madrid and freelances with other publications, like Rough Guides and The Spain Scoop.

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