July and August 2009
The Summer vacation turned out to be my busiest period of the entire year; more stressful, even, than both exam periods put together! Right from July the 1st, my life changed dramatically and took about a month to settle.
First came Orgullo '09. As some of my readers may already know, Madrid is a party city, and Gay Pride is no exception. In fact, it is one of the busiest events of the city's calendar (although, unlike Ken Livingstone, the City's officials never turn up in support of the event). Festivities began on the 1st of July and went on right up until the 6th. Out of those six days, I went to bed on one of them: the last day, and even then I wasn't alone...
I also started a new job in the Village of the Damned, or Pozuelo de Alarcón, as it is locally known. It wasn't so much that I didn't like the place, I just couldn't believe how suburban it was. Everything so perfectly planned, and everyone smiling so pleasantly. I desperately wanted to discover that the residents were all members of some pagan god-worshipping cult, or at least in the thrall of an alien overlord. No such luck; they were just all boring middle-class professionals. Work consisted of recapping the basics of English grammar for the benefit of local teenagers who couldn't be bothered to pass their end-of-year exams, despite being both intelligent and willing to learn. After a couple of weeks working at this school, I knew who to blame for this colossal failure. Based on what I had gathered over the previous months from spanish people of all ages and from all backgrounds, the spanish education system doesn't actually seem to be the best in the world. No one I ever spoke to had anything good to say about it, least of all the methods employed by spanish teachers of English - that is, go over rules, repeat them, get the students to copy them down, and never apply them in speech, since everything is explained in spanish. Luckily for the kids of Pozuelo, Sanya had come to their rescue. I actually really enjoyed being a teacher, there, despite the hour-long journey from home, and the less-than-satisfactory pay. I've always had the utmost respect for teaching, but even more so, now.
When I wasn't working, I even managed to have some sort of holiday. Summer Excursions to Cádiz, Salamanca and Segovia were timely breaks from Madrid life. Speaking of which, home life was not as peachy as I had hoped, for various reasons, none of which I will go into here. I share the blame, of course, but at least some sort of peace was finally made between my housemates and I before going our separate ways. If you want the gossip, tough*.
And so, as the summer months sped by, I was forced to come to terms with the inevitable truth of the impending doom. Preparations were made, plane tickets were bought, goodbyes were made, and I was soon to be on my way "home". Life would never be the same again...
Indeed, nothing will ever be the same for me, now that I have concluded my musings on my Year Abroad. The story ends here. Only a few more chapters to be read before the book can be closed, the light switched off, and you can go to bed. It was a good one, don't you think?
Part One: Summer and September 2008
Part Two: October and November 2008
Part Three: Winter 2008-09
Part Four: March and April 2009
Part Five: May and June 2009
*I'll send you an email , if you ask really nicely.