While being an expat in Spain may sometimes seem glamorous from the outside, my day to day life is far from the extraordinary. So what am I actually doing over here? Drinking sangria and watching bullfights all day? (Not quite.) Much like most of the people I know back home, I also have a job that involves waking up early, commuting, and subsequently battling a serious caffeine addiction. Here's a peek into my daily routine as an Auxiliar de Conversación in Madrid:
It may still be pitch black outside, but it's time to get up and start guzzling coffee!
It takes me an hour to get from my apartment in the city center to my school in Galapagar, which is located in the foothills of the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains. Although it's far, it gets me out of Madrid's pollution and into the fresh country air. I also get to watch the sun rise over the city skyline during my bus ride, so I really can't complain.
Time to brace myself for countless hugs and greetings such as, "Good morning, Teacher!", "Teeeacher, you look bery pretty today!", and "Hello, Corni!" (It's seemingly impossible for most Spaniards to pronounce my name. But at this point, it's endearing.) I spend the next five hours teaching English, Science, and Arts & Crafts to my darling third and fourth graders. I'm just a language assistant, so I'm always working alongside another teacher and I (almost) never run the classroom by myself.
Sometimes it's exhausting, but that doesn't stop me from loving every single minute of it. I would have never thought that I'd want to pursue a career in teaching, but this job has convinced me otherwise. My name is Courtney and I want to be a teacher when I grow up.
And thus commences my lengthy return back to Madrid! At this point my stomach is audibly growling, and I'm more than likely complaining about it.
By the time I get home, I'm absolutely famished. Quick and easy salads, pasta dishes and leftovers are usually my lunches of choice. The Spanish meal schedule is unique in which meals are eaten much later in the day than we're used to back in the States. Believe it or not, 3:30 is actually a normal time to be eating lunch around here.
Time to relax at home sweet home
Once or twice a week I use this time to actually nap, but most days I take advantage of this designated resting time to catch up on blogging and writing, work on the social media for Madrid Food Tour, organize occasional activities for school, catch up on emails and plan upcoming trips.
By this time, I'm ready to do fun things with my friends and explore the city. I'm always up for discovering new hangouts, but more often than not you can find me close to home in Conde Duque or Malasaña. Late afternoons can be spent enjoying glasses of wine or tinto de verano in sunny plazas, having picnics at Templo de Debod,
Tinder practicing my Spanish, or bumming around Federal.
...or any other tasty Spanish treat that I'm craving! I also occasionally try my hand at cooking, which thus far has been pretty successful considering I've only started one almost-kitchen fire. I love going out to eat and discovering new restaurants, but my English teacher budget can only support so much of that.
There's nothing quite as satisfying as ending the day with a savory tortilla española
Time to finally catch some zzz's. See ya tomorrow, kiddos!
Have you ever taught English abroad? How did your schedule differ?