Little White Lies

Remember when Rosie O’Donnell wrote that book about how kids say really funny shit? I should be writing a book these days about the lies I tell my kids.

For instance, I have this little kitty puppet named Cookie. Really, she’s pretty awesome and the kids LOVE her. They behave if Cookie goes back into Miss Cat’s schoolbag or if I tell them Cookie is sad because the niose is hurting her little kitty ears. One girl asked why she couldn’t go out and play at recess, and I said it was because she liked to practice yoga during that time. The girl just said, “Oh, ok then,” and continued splashing around in the puddles.

Or when little Alejandra, one of my three-year-olds asked who had caused me a “pupa” or booboo on my face. It’s a zit, but I told her a mosquito bit me in the middle of class and I hadn’t put afterbite on yet. Again, “oh, ok,” and flitting away.

As I walked back to my office, I passed by a class of three-year-olds. Two were crying because the other had bit them. The teacher, Seño Carmen, said, “Little girls and boys who bite others will lose all their teeth! They just fall out of your mouth! And they never grow back!” I wanted to add my two cents, so the little lie turned into a big story that probably sent kids home telling their mamás and abus that their English teacher said that her grandpa never ate his snack at school and began to get so hungry, he would start biting other children. Pretty soon, he had no teeth and can only eat flan, pudding and mashed potatoes.

These kids will believe anything. It’s actually quite amusing.

The Rollercoaster that is Infantíl

My job could be a lot worse. I mean, I spent hours each day singing, playing with puppets and categorizing flashcards. When it’s all said and done, I’ve had fun and got pummeled with hugs, snotty kisses, and usually end up with plasticine somewhere on my clothes. The best piece of advice when starting all this was from Almudena: Throw out your high heels.

Yesterday, after a moderately successful day teaching “Where is Enadina? There she is!” and singing with Ralphie Rabbit, I was finally invited to have lunch with the other infantil teachers. Most are 32 and under, the youngest being Ana and then me. I took it as a big compliment that half the department asked if I’d be coming. We had día de los Papis immediately after, when all the parents come with their crying children to hear us speak about the cirriculum and, really, lay down the law. When María, the school’s director, presented me, saying that our enchantment with one another has been mutual. Phew. Still employed.
I have to say, it is not easy being new in a job. This is worsened when you have kinda no idea what you’re doing and it shows. Add that to the fact the girl who had your job before was amazing at what she did. Everyone from the parents to their kids to the Oxford University Press rep has been calling me Lisa, and when corrected, asks why she is no longer at the school. Bearing, Cat. It will all be ok.
But today, my THREE year olds were the best behaved. One kid threw dirt in another’s eye in 4 years (the dirt came from his pocket), another cried because I sent him to another class after he drew all over the table, and the 5 year olds could not be tamed. Even with another teacher coming in and yelling, they couldn’t follow one direction. And they all have to pee all the time! The second one asks to go, they all do, and they all run at a time into the teeny bathroom.


Mucho Betis, eh!

They say there are three great fan clubs in the world of sports: Barcelona FC, Real Madrid and Real Betis Balompié. All Spanish football teams, though Betis is in the second tier of the league. Despite this, Er Betí is the team that people follow with devotion and continue to fill up their stadium.

José María is a socio, a season ticket holder, and he invited me to come as his guest to watch the Betis-Valladolid game. I had it clear that I would follow Betis, despite having lived in Valladolid for a short time in 2005. But whenever anyone asks what team I support, I can never really make a decision.

You have to understand that there are two teams in Sevilla. In one corner, in red and white, highly ranked Sevilla Fútbol Club in the Northern end. In the other, the verdiblanco of Real Betis. One has scored titles, cups and has a trademarked theme song. The other is full of cutres, frikis and very few pijos. I went with the underdogs this morning and met JM for the walk from our neighborhood.
Los verdiblancos were out in full force heading down to the stadium. There’s something like 95.000 socios throughout Spain and the stadium receives an average of 35.000 spectators per game. Once inside Estadio Ruíz de Lopera, a massive stone fortress named for the current president of the club, I got a glimpse of the afición bética: there wasn’t a single purple shirt in sight from the visiting team, young kids wore issued Betis get-ups and there were chants and claps echoed off every corner of the stadium. We sat in the 16th row, close enough to see the players sweat and curse at the ref under their breath.
At two minutes to 12, the rickety loudspeaker system announced Valladolid´s line up. Realistically, this game was supposed to be a top-tier game for the second division, as Valladolid has the highest number of points, followed by Betis. The eleven names were met with boos and whistles. When the verdiblancos took the field, the mascot, Palmera (name of the street the stadium is located on), took a lap around the field, provoked by olés after each players´s name. The fans on the south end of the field held up green and white flags and led the crowd in the hymn, various chants and hand clapping movements while the other fans twirled either their shirts or green and white scarves above their heads. Rolls of toilet paper fell around us as the kickoff started.
Now, Betis isn’t exactly a well-stacked team and didn’t play well in the first period, but the amount of noise made me think otherwise. The socios around me screamed SONOFABITCH every five seconds at the ref’s calls and stood up every time a ball rolled out-of-bounds or Betis was close to scoring. Zarzuelas sounded and every lull in play was met with a clamoring clapping sequence to animate the team.
Valladolid scored about 35 minutes into the first half, Betis soon after and again off a golazo header. I soon got bored with the game and decided it was more fun to watch a game in a bar with a beer in hand, but was impressed with the devotion to the team. Not a single person looked bored, not one didn’t let a commentary escape from their lips. I have yet to decide whether I prefer Sevilla to Betis or vice-versa, but for now, Viva el Betis manque pierda!!

Summer by the Numbers

La Sexta news officially announced today as the beginning of that non-magical season: WORK. While I still have a week to wake up when I please and still eat ice cream, I’ve come to look back on my last three months since leaving Olivares and all that’s happened.
small town festivals: one
fireworks displays seen: three
world cup games watched: countless. really.
overnight buses to Madrid taken: four
days at camp passed: 35
nights camping out on the beach: 3
highest temperature sweated: 47º Celcius (110º Farenheit)
beaches visited: eight
money spent on lawyers/paperwork/transportation for one damn visa: 260€
new cities visited: six

years turned: 25
resumés sent: nearing 100
interviews had: 12
new job: one

I was originally nervous about staying the whole summer in the heat and with limited things to do, but it has all worked out! Here’s to another curso in Spain, starting a Masters and a good start to my 26th year!

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