I live in the center of my city, Huelva. My school is located in a small pueblo called San Juan del Puerto which is about 12 minutes outside of Huelva. My commute is extremely simple, and I definitely consider myself lucky compared to my brother, sister and most of my other auxiliar friends. In my first week, with the help of my coworkers, I created a schedule and although things come up from time-to-time that change the plan, I essentially have the same commuting pattern every week.
RIDING WITH COWORKERS
On Monday, Tuesday and Thursday I ride with different teachers. On Monday I go into work at 8:30am and I am there until school wraps at 3:00pm. I ride with the same person both ways – Manolo the French teacher. He speaks very little English but is awesome to converse with because he has been at the school for almost 20 years and has lived in Huelva his entire life, so he seems to know everything. He also gives me a ride home on Thursday afternoons.
On Tuesday and Thursday mornings I ride with an English teacher who is one of the sweetest women I’ve met in Spain. Her English is fantastic, so we are swapping back and forth between our two languages most of the time. Tuesday afternoons I ride back with one of the Philosophy teachers. He also speaks near zero English but loves to converse and always has a wealth of knowledge about local Huelva.
On Wednesdays I take the bus to and from school. There are two reasons for this. One is that my first class does not start until 1:00pm which is way later than the rest of the teachers, so I basically cannot hitch a ride with anyone. And the second reason, in regard to the return commute, none of the teachers who end their day at the same time as me (3:00pm) live in Huelva. At my school there are many teachers who live in the pueblo and unfortunately once class wraps on Wednesday afternoons, the only other teachers still at school live in the pueblo.
The bus is reasonably priced – 1.25€ each way – so over the course of a month I do not spend much of my income on commuting. I have a bus card that I add money to whenever I am low (which is also a super easy process).
VARIETY OF RIDES
I enjoy the variety of rides that I have each way – both the people and the method of transportation. Of course, going by car is faster and easier, but the days I take the bus strangely make me feel more like a normal citizen of my city. The bus adds another dimension to my day-to-day life and in a way, I find it relaxing and soothing.
Huelva is a decent sized city – 150,000 people – and for that I feel fortunate. Since day one, my coworkers were extremely willing to help me figure out a game plan to get around and no one seemed to have a problem volunteering to assist. The reason I feel fortunate is because I know in larger cities this process can be much more difficult – people live further away, in different neighborhoods, or have that bigger city urgency going on in their lives so it is harder for them to help out.
Personally, I know my brother who lives in Madrid commutes 1.5 hours EACH way and has to take a variety of different means – walking, buses, trains, and cars – to make it happen. Of course, he could have lived in his pueblo but the draw of working in the Madrid region for most people is living and playing in Madrid, not a tiny pueblo. I also have friends who have to take the bus every day, others who pay their coworkers for fuel (mine REFUSED!), or others who drive an hour each way. The most I have to walk is 5 minutes to the meeting points and then we are off.
When I got placed in Huelva, I had no idea what that would mean for me (like everyone else) but after getting my bearings and talking with other auxiliaries, I realized how fortunate I am to live here and have an insanely important part of my day (commuting) be such an easy thing. Most importantly, not only is it very easy but I enjoy it.