This past week was a whirlwind of activity including a lot of bonding with my students and making a great new friend in the form of the mother of two of my students. Jill, from Manchester, moved to Palma at the end of August and her kids attend Joan Miró where I met her because she volunteers in their classes. Jill is a kick in the pants and a great lady to chat with. We hung out on Friday and she helped me (finally) get my bus pass as a resident of Palma. Of course that whole process was a shenanagin involving a lot of me smiling while being totally confused and the Palma people repeating themselves over and over again until I kinda understood what the heck they were trying to tell me. After that adventure, both of us rode the bus out to the University of the Balearic Islands where we hung signs offering tutoring sessions. I even colored my signs with some University of Oregon green and yellow just for good luck. I am hoping that something will come of the adverts although the economy here is really suffering. Unemployment is close to a 20 year high at 14% so many people are hesistant to part with their hard earned euros in exchange for English lessons. But the one tutoring session I am still conducting is going great. For 18 euros a week, I work with Maria Angeles, a teacher at Miquel Porcel, to help her prepare for her test to become an English teacher for one hour and for another half an hour I read to her very shy and silly son Marcos. This past session, Maria Angeles told me that if I ever need anything, to just call her up and she’ll come and give me a ride wherever I need to go and I thought that was a very sweet thing to say. I also attended a couch surfing dinner on Wednesday where I met a bunch of great people who live in Palma and I met a girl named Isabel who might be interested in a language exchange so that is certainly something to get excited about. I desperately need to practice speaking spanish.
This past week I also booked tickets for Andy and I to fly to London and then Dublin on the 26th of December. We’ll go and visit our friend Eric who is living and working in Dublin and make our way back toward London after New Years to hang out with my friend Ashley until we return on the 5th of January. I think that trip will be a great change of pace from day-to-day life here in Palma and we’ll actually be able to drink some good beer because the cervezas here are pretty bad.
This weekend we returned to Sóller to find fantastic weather, a cheery market and a fabulous hike awaiting us. We hiked from Sóller to a small town in the mountains called Fornalutx and on the way we passed olive and orange grove terraces and plenty of happy-making views. Although I’ve been fighting a cold, our trip to Sóller was a restoration of my spirits. I feel so lucky to be in such a beautiful place and I am really glad to be meeting more people and making more connections here because that is what makes me feel like I belong.