Saturday, March 31, 2007

It's all happening

So I have just about to start feeling settled...almost MadrileƱa, dare I say.

I live in the centre of the city, in a huge 4 bedroom apartment. I have a double bed, and a terrace all to myself. I can't wait for Spring to have breakfast out there.

My flatmates are the coolest, craziest, warmest people I have met for a long time - they are like elder sisters I never had. All from creative backgrounds (actors, meditators, dancers), it is not uncommon to find them dressed as elves, or doing a Red-Indian ritual dance when I walk in. Believe me, it's not weird, infact the contrary.

They all light candles 24/7 around the house, which makes the house smell wonderful, feel spiritual and look great, but I'm quite paranoid that it might catch fire some day. I'm forbidden to blow them out, because that will ruin the purifying process that they aid. But that's hardly anything to complain about.

I've met an awesome guy. And that's all I will say about that, for fear of jinxing everything.

I have wonderful students. Teaching them English is a breeze and very satisfying, (except for the 2 little brats I have who only want to play game-boy, talk about Pokemon in an unspecified language, and karaoke to High School Musical).

I wake up every morning more than content. Fresh, alive and ready to seize the day. Something I haven't felt in a while.

Although my great 'plan' is to stay here for a year and then move to NY, the thought of leaving Madrid at the moment is incomprehensible. Who knows?

It's good to be blogging again.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


So finally the wifi is up and rocking in my house! It's unbelievable how handicapped and disconnected I have felt without the Internet.

Lack of connectivity over the last month has resulted in nervous attacks, withdrawal symptoms, epileptic fits, eating disorders, random laughter, too much alcohol, and other things I cannot talk about here because my parents read this blog. Another thing to add to my list of things to do: sign-up at Internet Addicts Anonymous.

A million things to write, where to begin?

To all those who still bother to read my nonsense, stay tuned!

Monday, March 19, 2007

People. Strange. Strange People.

We had a Mexican dude come stay with us last week.

This is what he left us as a thank you gift for letting him crash at ours.

I don´t think I need to go into details.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Wifi on strike

Posting hasn´t been easy over the last 10 days or so, thanks to my wireless that will not function until the 27th of March. (Yes, I even have a date!)

Lots to say, stay tuned.


I have been one of those fortunate children to have grown up with the love of not two, but three grandmothers.

I lost one of them over the weekend to lung cancer.

The irony of it all – she never smoked a cigarette in her life.

A gynecologist, she delivered me at our home hospital in Bombay. I was the first granddaughter in the house.

She spoilt me rotten with bhindi until I was three.

I was the only child ever allowed to sit in the corner of the operation room when she was doing surgery.

She put my photos growing up around the house. Some that are still seen today, 24 years later.

She would listen to anything I said, however I said it, even if I would fight. A privilege very few had.

She believed in the saving the environment and looking after street children.

Losing someone shouldn´t be part of life, don´t you think?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Big Black Blotches

So FYI until today, my English as a Second Language classes with children have been awful. No matter how much I prepared (upto 5-hours for a 2-hour class with 8-year olds) - everything would fall through.

But not today. Today my classes with an 8-year old and an 11-year old were fantastic.

We had fun. We talked. We played games. We sang. We did magic tricks. And I actually think they might have learnt something from me.

Anyway...the clock strikes and my class is over. Not once did I have to look at my watch. I couldn't wipe a grin off my face. What satisfaction I felt from a job well done. Until I saw big black blotches of ink. Everywhere.

On the rich silk cloth of the dining table. On the rich silk cover of the dining table chair. On the expensive Kashmiri carpet.

The grandmother walks in to thank me for the lesson. She sees the ink.

'Where did this come from? was this like this from before?' she asks the kids.

'We don't know, we didn't do anything,' they say.

I spot the same black blotches on my bag. Holy crap! they were from my bag in which my black pen had leaked.

I turn a deaf ear.

'No worries, I will put it in the wash,' she says.

Wait till she sees the chair and the carpet, I think.

I pack my bag furiously and hide it under my winter jacket as I leave, so that she doesn't see the big black blotch on my bag. I scurry out as if I had robbed something.

I think I am going to get a phone call tomorrow asking me if I was the culprit.

Should I own up? do you think they will sack me? or make me come over and clean it? or pay for the dry-cleaning?

But it wasn't my fault. It's not like I did it on purpose. Besides, I couldn't even find the black pen responsible for this mini-disaster.


Sunday, March 04, 2007

A TEFL course full of surprises

The TEFL (Teaching English as Foreign Language) course that I have just finished was one full of surprises. It also made me do things I would otherwise NEVER do in my life:

- I learnt how to join 9 dots (in lines of 3) with 4 lines.

Once learnt, everyone did it again but differently. His point was to demonstrate the differences in perceptions when speaking the same language. Imagine what would happen when you don't speak the language of your students!

- In the beginning of the course, he asked us to do a 20 minute presentation on any topic of our choice. All presentations were excellent.

He walked in the next day with a sheet of paper that had chunks of our presentations written, that were full of slang. They weren't even full sentences. He wanted to stress how much slang we use in daily life, and that a foreign language student would never understand us if we spoke the way we do normally.

- On day one - he asked us to write down answers to 20 questions. Including name, birthday, favourite movie, hobbies, favourite teachers in our lives etc.

The next day he came in remembering all our names (x9 students), birthdays and favourite movies. Stressing the importance of making your students feel important in class by knowing and remembering things about them.

At the end of the course he made us read out the names of our favourite teachers and why we loved them - those points were added to our 'how to be a good teacher' lists.

- In one of the classes, the professor taught the class standing on his table. He dramatically lit and smoked a cigar half way through as a break. It was a 'keeping our attention' activity. We couldn't take our eyes off him.

-To explain to us the importance of props in class he came in one day with a Russian hat on, made us breakfast (toast, oranges and orange juice) that ended in a shot of whisky. (at 10am!)

- For extra credit, we had to go watch a movie in Korean and write a review.

- Just like he asked us 20 questions, we had the right to ask him one question each.

Some idiot asked him 'what is the meaning of life'?
He landed up doing a whole class on that, as an example of how absolutely anything can be used to teach in a foreign language class.

He told us what he thought was the meaning of life, made us listen to some great music, and then made us meditate!

-And lastly, our final class included a lesson in Bulgarian.

Yes. It was to make us understand how you feel when you have a teacher in the class who doesn't speak your language.

The course was 120 hours, so I cannot go into everything. Definitely a class and teacher I will never forget.
Global Voices Online - The world is talking. Are you listening? Locations of visitors to this page