As expected, I was a bit too optimistic to think I would be able to get a good night’s sleep the night before my “first day of school.” It never was something I was very good at growing up as I was always too anxious for that taste of what would define my next nine months. I can say nothing has changed.
After tossing and turning all night long, I woke up at 7 to quickly get ready and get on my way. I made sure to give myself plenty of time to catch the 8:30 bus to Estremera and it’s a good thing I did. After a short metro ride to where I needed to grab the bus, I realized that there was an array of bus stops all around me and it would take a lap to find the exact one I needed. Well, even with that, I couldn’t find magic bus numbered 351 anywhere. Once I had come to terms with the fact I would just not be making it to school today, I completed my lap and right in time saw a bus labeled as 351 but getting back from Estremera instead of heading the right way. While the driver initially closed the doors in my face as I attempted to walk up the steps to simply inquire where this mystery bus stop was, after seeing the helpless look on my face he let me on and drove me to a giant bus station where I was to leave from. Definitely a place a would have never found on my own… Talk about being in the right place at the right time.
Eventually, I figured out where to buy a ticket to actually get on the bus and was more than relieved asweI drove away from the station and towards Estremera. I couldn’t help but laugh when Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn” was the first song to be blasted on the radio. Shortly after, I passed out for a good hour of our ride out of pure exhaustion.
Once we arrived in the town, I realized, yet again, I had no real idea of where to go. I approached the lone man in the street with a cane to ask where I should head. Thankfully he was nice (and apparently in no rush to get anywhere) because he escorted me to the school whilst telling me all about his daughter who is a teacher in the city center (lucky her). After making sure I got inside, we said goodbye and I am hoping to run into him some other time. From the looks of the town, it would not be too unlikely.
I was unsure if there would be another auxiliary at my school since it is so small but was so relieved to meet Dayna from Canada who will also be working with me. The administrators wanted to divide us between primary and secondary grades so that we can really get to know the kids over the year. Neither of us had a pressing preference either way and I ended up with the first through third graders while she will be working with fourth through sixth.
Much of today was spent simply talking with the other teachers. I also worked an hour in a first grade class and another with the third. Both were comprised entirely of me asking them all their names in English, if they have brothers and sisters, and then letting them ask me similar questions. I found the third graders entertaining… By the end of the class I had seen one breakdance, learned a Real Madrid soccer chant, and been called out for being short.
During the day we get two free hours from 1 to 3 but all the teachers eat together at 2 and we are encouraged to join them. Although it’s a bilingual school, only four of the teachers are really familiar with English and a few know none at all and are eager to learn. It’s going to be interesting discovering where exactly we fit into the school’s structure but I’m sure we will find our place soon enough.
While this is all great, I’m not going to lie… The best part of my day was finding out I have a six day weekend coming up (Friday through Wednesday) thanks to some holiday or another. While I do not think the 2 hour journey to and from Estremera will be absolutely miserable, you will never find me complaining if I do not have to make it.