El ultimo fin de semana (I know I need an accent mark in there somewhere, but I don’t know how to make them on my bluetooth keyboard)

I am sad to report that this past weekend was my last one here in Mallorca (until next year, that is). The good news is that it was an excellent weekend, so I don’t feel that it was wasted. My time here has been amazing; I am so glad I did this program. It’s the best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. Remember, no one ever regrets the things they do, but they do regret the things they DON’T do. So before I get into my post, I encourage you to jump at opportunities that present themselves in your life. You won’t regret it.

Friday was a good day in class. We met the students who we are observing and had our pre-observation conference. The conference was supposed to be about an hour, but I have two groups, so I got about 30 minutes each. I really enjoyed meeting the students and working with them; I learned a lot from them, and I think (I hope!) they learned a lot from me. It made me feel that being an educational leader is still teaching, which, of course, is what I love to do. The pre-conference felt oddly like the conferences I’ve had with my students about their topics for papers and presentations. I felt like I knew my stuff enough to offer some good feedback and suggestions. Initially I was extremely nervous about this assignment (I started sweating when I read it on the syllabus in June), but I’m overall pleased with how it ended up going.

To celebrate, I met up with Ligia at the beach (our Friday routine!). This time there were a bunch of us, and we spent a little time at Charlotte (one of our favorite cafes) beforehand. We then went swimming in the sea and took a bunch of goofy pictures with Ligia’s underwater camera. (Side note to myself for next year: Get one of those cameras! I was going to get one after Ecuador last year, but I forgot all about that!) As usual, it was a beautiful, relaxing Friday afternoon. Here are some of our photos (thanks to Ligia for WhatsApping them to me! Is “WhatsApping” a verb?!?!).

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After the beach, Crystal and I came home and unwound for a bit. We considered going into Palma but ended up going out to eat at a seafood restaurant in Cala Mayor instead. It was quite delicious; we both had the sea bass, and it was one of those fish that still had the bones and head and everything. Normally that would scare me, but, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m taking more risks with my food, so I dug in. I mean, how could I not eat a fish when literally looking at the Mediterranean Sea?! I’m glad I got over my fear of fish vertebrae because it was very tasty indeed! Shockingly, I didn’t get any photos of my dinner this time. I was too busy enjoying it, I guess!

Saturday was a very fun day; Erin, Crystal, and I went into a town called Soller. It’s one of those very Spain-like places with a big open market and lots of amazing food and merchandise. It may or may have been the day I spent the most money on jewelry for myself because I may or may not be an extremely selfish souvenir shopper. Ahem.

The train to Soller is really cool; it’s an old-time wood train that chug-a-lugs all the way from Palma to Soller. The best part was the two-mile tunnel through a mountain that basically made its own air conditioning (have I mentioned that it’s hot in Spain??). There was such an awesome cold breeze as we went through the tunnel, which was much needed. The train stopped on the way for us to get a few scenic shots, which was fun.

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We had a great time in Soller, browsing the market and picking up some great items like terra cotta bowls and pretty jewelry. I loved the lady who worked at the terra cotta pottery place; she talked to us a lot and told us how to use the bowls. She said we can do anything with them- they can go in the oven, on the grill, or on the stovetop, and you can put (almost) anything you want in them. She suggested pasta, veggies, or meat. The one thing you can’t do is cook a tortilla espanola (sorry, can’t find the n with a tilde on bluetooth keyboard) because potatoes don’t cook well in these particular bowls. But everything else is fair game. She also explained that the flat ones are made from molds, but the ones with rounder bottoms are hand made (I have one of each kind). I love that I was able to find them to bring home because pretty much everywhere I’ve been in Mallorca has had these bowls. I will think of this trip every time I see mine at home. Yay.

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We saw some lovely scenery on the way home from Soller, and we were lucky enough to get the cushy seats on the return train! It was a great way to see more of the island while shopping and being social. The whole outing was overall a great success! And what’s better is that we found chocolate con churros when we got off the train! Trust me, chocolate con churros is the best way to end an excursion!

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We came home and siestaed (yet another verb I made up) for a while…my siesta in particular was a long while (almost tres horas). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, there really is something to this whole siesta thing! I will never again feel guilty for “wasting” time on a nap at home! I would be open to teaching in Spain for many reasons, but high on the list is siesta.

We didn’t do much on Saturday night, other than a trip to Istanbul (the restaurant, not the country) for kebabs. We stayed home and waited for Jimmy (Erin’s husband to arrive). I was excited to see him because I worked with him at Biotech and have missed having him there for the past couple of years. It was great to catch up.

On Sunday morning, Jimmy and I spent more time chatting, and then around two, Crystal and I went to the beach. The sun was blazing overhead, so in between puzzles from my puzzle book, we went for a nice long swim in the sea. I’ve been here for almost five weeks, and I still can’t get over how gorgeous the water is! It’s so clear, warm, and calm. I also love how salty it is because I can float around without putting any effort in. I’ve been doing some legit swimming, too, which is a great workout (I haven’t run in this heat, so the swimming makes me feel a little bit less lazy). I almost want to start swimming at home, but I know it’s much harder in the ocean in NJ because of the riptide. There’s not really much of a current here, so I’m not scared to go farther out in the Mediterranean.

I figured I should be more studious once we got back from the beach, so I worked on my presentation that was due today (even though when we got to class, my professor told me we were pushing the presos back). I put together my slides and took notes, so I felt pretty productive. Then we went for tapas at that place I went on my second night here (I forget the name but something with an X….Txaka or something like that). We ordered way too much food but had a great time laughing and sharing stories. I also really liked practicing my Spanish with Jimmy. He’s really patient and an excellent teacher, so I was able to say much more to him in Spanish than I have since I’ve been here. If only he could be my personal conversation partner every day!

I finished the rest of my preso when I got home (sorry for being obnoxious and calling it a “preso,” but that’s what people on the circuit call it, and I’m trying to be a person on the circuit), and then we slapped out some sleep.

So far today has been pretty good. I observed a lesson by one of my groups, and the post-observation conference seemed to go well. I enjoyed working with my students and learned a lot from them. I hope they learned something from me, too! I came home right after school because Crystal is leaving today, and I wanted to say good-bye and walk her to the bus stop. It was very fun having her here, and we find it funny that we have spent more time together in Spanish-speaking countries than in America! I just finished our good-byes, and of course now I’m about to take a siesta. So that about does it! I hope to blog once or twice more before I leave; if nothing else, I’ll be able to write about Tapas Tuesday tomorrow! Can’t wait to try some new and delicious food. I also have my second observation tomorrow, my preso one day this week, and my school improvement project due Thursday (I’m writing about teacher morale…should be fun!). Then Thursday is the graduation/end-of-summer party, and Friday I leave. 😦

Ok, siesta is calling. Good night!

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