I have been here almost a month now, which has gone way too fast. My tan is coming along nicely thanks to a few afternoons at the beach and I am finally getting the hang of using the vosotros form of speaking. I still don’t know my way around the local supermarket (why the fresh bakery is on the other side of the shop to the pre-made loaves of bread I don’t know) but I do feel happy here.
Last night with my host family we went on a historic night tour of Valencia. We were led around the back streets of the centre of Valencia by an animated ghost called Jerónimo (pictured).
He told us about some of the saints of Valencia and the miracles they performed in the city. We also learnt the stories behind the names of some of Valencia’s streets and plazas. As he was a ghost, he gave us a few scares along the way, making the kids jump and grab hold of one of the adults hands. It was so much better than the hop on hop off bus of the typical sights that every tourist sees. I really recommend it for people who are in Valencia and are interested in history. The website is here http://www.valenciahistorytour.com/ and the tours are in Spanish, so good listening practice!
Au pairing is going well too, with the children speaking more English all the time. It makes me laugh when I wake them up in the morning and ask them what they want for breakfast. Hugo is half asleep but he still manages to say “milk and six biscuits” in a perfect English accent. They now also automatically say “good night Leona” before they go to bed. I have been helping them with their school homework, including Spanish language, reading comprehension and maths. Although maths is the same, I’ve noticed the differences in the way that I was taught to do sums and the way that the Spanish children use. So when I see that they have made a mistake I have to ask them to explain to me why it is wrong because if I were to explain it to them using my method it would only confuse them more.
It has been strange getting used to the Spanish timings of things – not in a jet lag sense. The way that the biggest meal of the day is between breakfast and tea – never at 12-1pm, more like 2-3pm. After dinner there is siesta time where some shops shut, people take naps and relax because it’s really hot and everybody has just eaten a huge meal. According to the rules the shared pool is also closed between 2 and 5pm, but we often break the rules and take a cheeky dip after dinner. Some people have a snack about 6pm to keep them going because tea isn’t until 10pm earliest. In the UK 6-7pm is my teatime and 10pm is when I would have some tea and biscuits.
What I think is strange is how Spanish parents don’t mind having their kids stay up for such a long time. I know in my home, after 9/10pm it is adult time and the kids go upstairs to bed or to watch a film quietly, leaving the grown ups free to watch their tv programs and share some wine. Here, children are still playing football in the street at 11pm and parents sit in the park chatting whilst their toddlers play on the swings. I understand that I am here during the summer holidays where there is less routine and bedtimes aren’t enforced, but when do the adults ever get a break?
I have one week to plan my upcoming holiday, whilst the children go on a two week summer camp. Travelling is very expensive here, there is no megabus like I am used to, but I hope to travel to Barcelona and Madrid. Keep checking back for more posts and thanks for reading!