One of the words in Spanish for hope is ilusión. Simply adding the prefix des-, similar to the American dis-, makes it negative. Desilusión means disappointment.

In either language, it’s a word that conveys a let-down, the crestfallen feeling one gets when something doesn’t work out in the best possible way. My wise friend LA PAINE (famosa por tó Sevilla) once said that living abroad is like being on one of two sides of the spectrum of happiness – either you’re extremely elated, or you’re devastatingly disappointed.

I’m lucky that I tend to hover on on the positive side. I have daily belly laughs (um, hello, my kids discovered the entry in the dictionary on the human body, complete with pictures the same day I had a kid ask me if my boyfriend was Justin Bieber), breathe in an incredible and vibrant city on the daily and have more contacts than my phone can hold. I’ve done what I intended to do – build a life in a different country in a different language.

Now, I’m not one to put all my eggs in the proverbial basket or count them before they’ve hatched, but for the first time in a long, long time, I was genuinely looking forward to something. To a change, to a step in the right direction. And being the cautious one who looks both ways before crossing the street and taking the plunge and even getting out of bed, I was mum about it. I only told my parents after an offer came, spoke about it to Kike’s mother as strictly business.

If luck is all about being in the right place at the right time, I try and get there a few minutes early, simply because I’m prompt. But this Spanish suerte always arrives at the wrong time – in the middle of the school year, just before a big deal falls through, just a pelín off my ticking clock. It’s like I’m constantly running after the trabajo train, resumé in hand, only to be left at the platform.

Desilusión has taken on a new meaning as I’m in the holiday slump, the clouds hanging low over La Hispalense. The clouds in my head have been raining non-stop since Monday night when those flash-flood tears didn’t want to stop. I feel like I’m trapped in a small margin of what I’m capable of – rather than publish or die, it’s CLIL or die these days.

It’s Christmas time in the city, but I’m just wanting to wake up in Arizona on the 22nd already. Seville may boast sunny days atope, but the storm clouds in my head seem to be here for a while.

Preschool, Year One: The Good, the Bad and the How’d I Get So Ugly?

Thomas the Tank Engine is creeping back from my childhood, and not because he’s the 2001 version of Tickle Me Elmo. That’s my daily affirmation that I can push through these last few days of baby school and get through directing a summer camp. I’m beat, I’m spent, I’m a card house waiting for someone to just blow. I think I can, I think I can…

This first year of preschool has seen its share of both good and bad. Good in the sense that I could adapt, use the creativity I found I had in high school with a lower level, receive hugs and kisses every few moments, and watch my kids grow physically and emotionally, as well as intellectually. Bad in the sense that I’ve cowered away from responsibilities, crumbled under pressure like never before, and let my emotions get the best of me. Last week, for example, we had out annual Summer Show. At the last minute, I was told I needed to do a theater in English. I chose the five-year-olds’s favorite song, assigned parts to the most able students and prayed for a miracle. It was a disaster, a complete and udder kaka. The mics didn’t work, the kids froze. I cried, unable to catch my breath or face the parents who so regularly compliment me. It took me till the next day to face up to myself and say, they’re kids, they’re small, they barely speak their own language. I think I can.

There are times when I remember how beautiful it is to work with small kids. Last night at the 5 años celebration, Bea talked about the wonder of letting adults into the marvelous world of a small child. It’s really true. I had students excited to learn English, and every other subject, eager to tell me the most minute details of their lives (including baby brother’s eating habits), willing to do anything for their seño. I laughed, and a lot. I sang until my throat hurt.

baby steps

It’s certainly been a year of discovery  – discovering my own strengths and weaknesses as a teacher, discovering how a child’s brain works. Discovering how to have a bad day and let the kids make it better. And, most importantly, discovering that I could push myself just like I pushed the kids.

I will miss some of my kids dearly, their open minds and their silliness. I will not, however, miss JJ and D play fighting (resulting in A cutting his lip yesterday). I get a whole new crop of babies next year and I worry about taming them and charming them like I have my five-year-olds.

All grown up

For better or for worse, I survived. I have a year of real teaching under my belt, and I landed on my feet in the end. Actually, I surprised myself.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...