Winding down

Term 1 is done!  (almost)  Our company Christmas dinner is tonight and ironically, tomorrow (Friday), I have the first class of a new adult-beginners course which simply didn’t get up and running until now.  And then we have a two-week Christmas break-yes, a teacher’s schedule is very nice- but I will continue to work with some of my private students and hopefully begin work on a small translation project during the holiday.  Come January 1st, my dear friend Hannah is coming to visit and will spend the first few days of the New Year with me.  I’m already excited to see the city through the eyes of a newcomer again, as when one gets into their routine it’s so easy to forget to be awed by what’s around you.    I’m also hoping to get our car up and running which would permit some much overdue getaways out of Lisbon.  The public transport here is amazing in terms of getting yourself around the city center, but for slightly longer hauls it becomes arduous and tiresome to adhere to train and bus schedules and spend long portions of time waiting for your ride to show up.   I do miss my wheels back at home, which are lonesomely* parked in Mom and Dad’s driveway. 

Reflecting on my teaching experience this term, I was given a very diverse group of students, both age-level and ability.  As of tomorrow, when I begin my adult-beginners class, I will be teaching five different classes at International House.  My junior high teens definitely remind me of some special moments I shared with my Our Lady of Fatima classmates back in the day- when teachers had to discipline Toño by sticking him and his desk in the closet, getting the silent treatment from teachers when we were misbehaving, teachers’ follies, and my first intro to Spanish with prima-dona Sra. Bertagni from Argentina in 8th grade.  My little group here in Lisbon is only 9 kids large, but with the two little chatter-box boys in there it turns into a mix and mess of jokes, annoyances, some learning, and some laughs (on all parts).  They are good kids who actually have a decent understanding of the language at their wee 12 years of age and continuing like this will probably be speaking fluently by the time the get to University.

The class I enjoy most is probably the advanced adult group of Business English students.  We get to talk about interesting subjects- grad school, resumes, business ethics, etc, and I enjoy hearing their opinions and of course continuing to learn about the similarities and differences between American and Portuguese culture/society.

The other classes at IH are a mixed-level adult group from a marketing company where I teach once a week on-site at their office and a beginning adult one-on-one lesson. 

Transporting myself to the various venues is time-consuming and this profession certainly doesn’t afford one the luxury of saving up any extra pennies so those things do float in the back of my mind, but for the time being I am just fine. 

As this Christmas season falls upon us, I do notice the extreme difference between the way the holiday is commercialized in the States and here.  Certainly the city is decorated and lights are hanging and Christmas cheer is supposedly in the air, but forget the overwhelming pressure to buy buy buy.  It’s much more reserved in that sense.  Most families will enjoy a holiday meal of bacalhau (cod) served in a myriad of different ways, turkey, and a number of sweets like bolo rei (king’s cake) which is like a candied fruit cake. 

As far as my celebration, I think it will be quiet and quaint, a la ‘table for two’. 

More later…

*this is an invented word 

View from across the river (did you think I was in SF?)

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~ by maureenmoore on December 18, 2008.

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