Tuesday, October 20, 2015
Bienvenido a España!
Most Auxiliares de Conversation / Cultural Ambassadors / Language Assistants, as we're called, have to figure out everything themselves when they arrive - transportation, accommodation, legal documents, etc. Fortunately, my school was happy to help me with everything. They mailed my documents, made appointments for my TIE (Tarjeta de Identidad de Extranjero or "foreigner identity card"), set up a bank account and even put together a mutually beneficial after-school program so that I had some extra cash flow and wouldn't have to seek out my own private classes right away.
After arriving at Julio's place in Pedro Muñoz, we ate lunch and took advantage of siesta - a traditional break period between the hours of two and five. This doesn't necessarily mean people sleep the whole time as the stereotype suggests (in fact, the nap, if taken, is usually only about 15 minutes), but it certainly doesn't mean they can't either. I probably slept through siesta time every day that week (as Julio likes to remind me). It wasn't until dinner that I saw fit to climb out of bed so that we could go get Bocadillos - basically the Spanish version of the ham and cheese sandwich.
The next day I went to Cuenca with Elena, another professor from my school, and applied for my TIE in person... a long trip but necessary in order to fulfill one of the many bureaucratic requirements of working in Spain. Later on, we went back to Las Mesas so that I could meet my students.
Everyone was super friendly and excited to meet me; they had even made a sign to welcome me. Although, as it turns out, everyone at the school had mistaken my surname as my first name... a fairly humorous error that would be repeated over the first month or so about a thousand times a day as the primary students all yell my name every time they see me.