End of Term Updates

Things are so busy at the minute, with school exams and Spanish lessons that my real life has become a series of snatched thoughts which are scribbled down and spat out as fragmented blog updates. Here are offerings for this week.


  • One of my students told me I was the heroine of the class because I saved them from their previous teacher and ‘his bad teaching’ (their words not mine) He said I’ve basically ‘saved them from a life of failure’.
  • This is the first time I’ve ever lived in an apartment block. There are 38 apartments here. I’ve never realised before how much you rely on other people when you live together. You rely on them not to leave the big front door open and let in a psycho killer, you rely on them not to fall asleep with a cigarette in their hand and burn the whole place down. It’s weirdly unsettling and also empowering to be part of a weird little community.
  • During our test revision session this week the year 8’s were doing chapter summaries. One of them asked if it were important to ‘include the gang bang in chapter 8’ Let me make it clear: there is no such activity happening in our book. You have no idea how fast my jaw hit the floor….I don’t really want to know how he knows that word.
  • Found my favourite piece of homework ever!! This came from a kid, who swears he’s been using the dictionary to complete his vocabulary work.

WORD – Brutal

DEFINITION – an animal

SENTENCE – I like brutals but I guess I kind of like all animals.

  • I’m doing a language exchange with one of the teachers at school. She practices her English for an hour and then I practice Spanish. Her name translates into English as ‘Sweet Sunday’, which is adorable, no? Surprisingly she hates it.
  • Taught drama outside in the sunshine on the 17th of December. Life is blissful.
  • Love how the Spanish word for umbrella is “paraguas” which means ‘for water.’ Language is so cool.
  • Saw an English Language production of The Christmas Carol. Every time the Scrooge character said “Bahumbug” it sounded like ‘buy handbag’. I now need to shop for handbags….and shoes to match.
  • I’m kinda sad that some of the Spanish words I know from my time in Mexico aren’t used here. For example beans aren’t ‘frijoles’, right now isn’t ‘ahorita’ and bar isn’t ‘cantina’, when someone slams a drink down in one no one shouts ‘Fondo”. Sad times.
  • Went and saw a band with some of the people from work. The band sings in English and the lead singer learns the songs phonetically. Got into a whole Spanglish discussion with one of my colleagues about Creep by Radiohead and why he sings “so fucking special” instead of just ‘so special’ It’s interesting how a word we use for emphasis can cause so much confusion with speakers of other languages.
  • That moment when you realise you’ll never make is as a novelist, because you sit down to FINALLY work on the novel and then realise you’ve only been writing it on your iPad which you left snugly at home on your desk in Ireland.
  • The other moment when you realise there are only two more sleeps before you go home for Christmas holidays. Happy Sunday everyone.

Quick Valencian Updates (Weeks 1 – 5)

1) Survived the first 3 days at work, with one instance of almost going into the wrong toilets, one instance of forgetting my keys and getting locked out between buildings and one instance of the year 7’s thinking I was saying ‘sex’ when really I was saying ‘six’. Their 6 word poems almost went down a whole other rabbit hole.

2) Blew out the fuses in the house putting the washing machine on for the first time. That was a fun twenty minutes.

3) So far I’ve been here a week and not had to kill anything. Not a single creepy crawly has died at my hands. I see the message from their kin in Mexico reached them in time.

4) The boys who live in the apartment opposite me like to drink, smoke and party most of the night. They’re also fond of playing football or doing kickboxing shirtless in their living room…so there’s that.

5) I’ve stopped obsessing over what may be lurking in the wardrobes in the spare rooms. I figure if there’s a creeper in there he’ll be weak with hunger by now and I can probably kick his ass.

6) Must buy some form of weapon next time I’m at the shop…..just incasey

7) Learned a new Spanish phrase this week – “Que Mono!” which means “How cute!” My landlady kept saying it over and over again while looking at pictures of the Doherty babies.

8) One of my students asked me if I was staying with them forever. Jury is still out on if it was asked through desire or fear.

9) Got the metro for the first time. After having training in Mexico City, this was like a cakewalk…..except for the part where I stood for five minutes sticking my ticket in the wrong place & then cursing the doors for not opening.

10) It amuses me so much that my wifi name is ONOBEBO, a small reminder of the days of shit social media networks.

11) Was on stair duty this week and one of the little year 5’s came up and tugged me on the arm and said “I think you’re very beautiful’ smiled and then ran away. Totally cute!

12) We were talking about fear & bravery in year 7 class cos of our novel and I had told them about doing the Auckland Skywalk even though I was afraid. One of them said “But why would you do it if you’re scared?” and I gave them the “Fear is not the boss of me” speech and then he told me he thinks I’m the bravest grownup he knows.

13) Spent time being a grown up on Saturday. Did laundry, cleaned windows etc. My thoughts on window cleaning are now – suck it. No matter how much swiping, they will still be a smeary mess. I’m thinking of opening it as an art installation.

14) Discovered the joys of an old lady shopping bag. It isn’t as pretty as the one my friend has but oh the joy of being able to carry more than one bottle of water without hurting myself!

15) Discovering I’m not the worst in my Spanish class = utter joy.

16) We talked quite a bit about Nature vs Nuture this week with yr 8’s as it’s a theme in their novel. One of the scenarios they had to discuss was about being gay. Boy these kids have some disturbing views at such a young age.

17) Went to visit the beach yesterday. The sun shone, I ate paella and drank beers. I can see how life will be in the summer and I like it.

18) Started a new blog for all the travel related stuff – littlefeetbigcity.wordpress.com –  come visit there for other stuff.