I must admit it; these past two weeks I have been a complete tourist in and near my host city of Coruña. However, I justify my actions because it would be more embarrassing to visit the touristy sites half way through the year, instead of the first three weeks. The first tourist stop was Santiago. Two weekends ago Kelsey, Kristen and I explored the Galician city of Santiago de Compostela. Santiago is the largest city in Galicia and is the final destination of the Camino de Santiago, a 500+ mile pilgrimage that starts in Southern France. In Santiago we toured the beautiful Cathedral and wandered down the old cobblestone streets looking in the stores and restaurants. The next tourist stop was taking a glass elevator to the top of San Pedro, a mountain that overlooks Coruña. I visited the mountain on my first day in Coruña, so I pretended that I was the local in the group who knew all about the mountain. The third tourist stop was the Torre de Hercules. The Torre de Hercules is an ancient lighthouse and was built by the Romans in the first century!
This past week I have also started giving English lessons to a nine year old boy. On the first day, I had no idea of the child’s level of English and so I was prepared with uno cards, stories ranging from picture books to complex stories, and writing prompts. After the first day, I was exhausted; I never thought that teaching a language could be so difficult, especially when the language I was teaching I learned as an infant. However, I just remind myself that after a few more tutoring sessions, it will become easier as I become more familiar with the boy’s speaking level and discover new tactics to explain the confusing English language.
Besides exploring Coruña and giving English lessons, my classes have started in full force. I have switched my schedule since my last blog, and I am currently taking: Social Psychology, Comparative Political Systems and Sociology of Gender. While I am starting to overcome the language barrier (as all of the classes are in Spanish), it is still a challenge to keep myself completely focused and attentive for the entire 90 minutes. However, since my ability to understand the professor has improved since the first day, I am positive that it will continue.
Dato Divertido: Every Sunday in Coruña my host mom takes me to the family house in the countryside for a large lunch and a relaxing afternoon of eating chocolate and taking long walks through the countryside. This is not just a weekly tradition with my host mom’s family, but throughout Spain it is very common for extended families to visit each other on Sunday. In fact, coming back into Coruña from the countryside around 9:00 PM there was a traffic jam as everyone was coming back from visiting their families.