3. Welcome

Authored by:
Kelsa S.

I have realized that when hundreds of new experiences are thrown at you at once, it's so challenging to actually slow down and really take in the changes. The purpose of this blog, or just writing in general, is a way to slow down time, take in the moment, and breathe. I am so used to living a life where every day is repetitive that now I am overwhelmed (in a good way), by the number of new things I learn every single day. So much has happened that I have forgotten to update my blogs! I am hoping now that will change especially as we have come to the last month (which I cannot believe), of teaching. 

My first official day of teaching was Wednesday,  January 15. On this day, my host father, who is also a teacher at the high school I teach at, and I, dropped his youngest daughter (an absolute sweetheart who drew me the cutest welcome picture), to primary school and we started the 40-minute journey to our school. Our journey consists of many flat fields which he said is generally uncommon in Spain, however, in Valladolid, the region that we live in, is one of the flattest areas in Spain. The ride was so relaxing that it was hard to keep my eyes open, or perhaps it was the severe jetlag I was experiencing. I never felt so tired while it was so bright outside! 

When we arrived, I couldn't help but feel extremely anxious -- Will the students like me? Will I be a good teacher? I had experience teaching in Canada, but with much smaller groups. I often doubt my abilities, but the amount of support I received when I stepped through the entrance was unimaginable. I was greeted with hugs and double-cheek kisses. Sometimes I went to the wrong side, resulting in an awkward, almost mouthed-kiss! I can't remember how many times I turned my head to meet a new teacher and how many holas, mucho gustos and encantadas I said. I tried to dig up every Spanish word or phrase I intensely studied for months before this trip, but it seemed like my brain was fried. All that could come out of my mouth were uhhhs, and umms while I tried to find the right words to say and they anxiously waited for my response. I couldn't help but wonder if I studied the wrong language this whole time! Were they even speaking Spanish? What was it they said? They were speaking too fast! My brain was going on full overload! But one thing that I remember the most was how much my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. I never felt so much love in one setting. I felt completely safe and secure around technically, a bunch of strangers. But, they didn't feel like strangers. They felt like family! 

I taught a couple of classes alongside the main teachers. The first days are always a blur. A blur of faces and names and nerves. For the most part, what I mostly did was introduce myself, what I enjoyed doing, and some interesting things about Canada. The children listened with bright smiles and wide eyes. In all, it was a great first day. I fell asleep on the way back home, wondering when my sleep schedule would finally feel normal again.

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