Tuesday, January 30, 2007

WORK and Chuck, and kids getting tired.

So so so so much to talk about, hold onto your hats and settle into your chairs folks, a lot has been going on. I never thought it would be dull, and it hasn't been.

First is this:
El dia 1 de febrer de 19:55 h. a 20.00 h. es proposa apagar totes les Llums
per a donar-li un respir al planeta (la proposta prové de França).
Si la resposta és massiva, l'estalvi energètic pot ser brutal.

Només 5 minuts, i a vore que passa.

Si si, ja sé que estarem 5 minuts a fosques amb cara de tontos, però
recordeu que internet te molta força i podem fer una cosa gran.

I passeu la noticia!

I believe that the translation, rather loosely is. On the first of Feb, from 7:55 to 8:00 pm, there is a movement for everyone to turn off their lights and electricity to give the planet a rest (and the power stations a massive surge). If there is a big response, the impact will be huge. It is only 5 minutes and see what happens...it is only five minutes in the dark, but wait and see what a big impact the internet can have. Pass it on. I'll ask the husband to help me with the translation. It would help if I could find the d*mn dictionary...I think if enough people did it there may be some serious problems at the power stations, I could be wrong though.

OK all you dog lovers out there, keep coming with the hints and tips...it all helps. I also found an awesome website for people bringing dogs home from the pound, aimed at stupid newbies like me. This is the head....you need to put food in here.....

Chuck is getting better and better. He is now a complete stair master, and I even let him off the lead at the bottom and he cruises on up on his OWN! No treat/bribes required. He is following me around slavishly at all times, he will even wake up if I move to come and sleep in the part of the room closer to me....lets see how long THAT lasts. We have worked out how we walk together and he is not tugging at the lead with me at all anymore...if he pulls, I stop, and I don't start again till he stops...not only that, but I have to start first, even if by a nanosecond...alpha pack member. I am walking him two ways, one is the toodle along like I've got a toddler technique, which basically involves me holding loosely onto the end of the leash and him stopping and smelling whatever he wants...I don't back up though. The other is him walking at heel. He is right beside me, I am holding the leash loosely, but short, and we march along at quite a clip. Doing this, he cannot stop and smell anything, and he doesn't. Some of the sidewalks are only about 8 inches wide here, and the slow cars are doing 30, so he NEEDS to know this skill. He's good to.

He is getting a handle on his fear of cars, I have managed to teach him to sit, he probably knew already, but I haven't figured out the command he knows, anyway, he has figured out when I want him to sit, so if a car or other scary thing is coming up, I have him move to the curb and sit, then I stand outside of him and give him a pat. MUCH better than the panic stricken bolting he was doing. He is now sitting to get his leash taken off and on, and comes when I call consistently. I even let go of the leash while we were out on the mountain today to take his picture.

Oh yeah, I've taken a couple of pictures...but you all have to wait till after the younger child's birthday on Thursday, and then the developer, who will hopefully make a disc.....on and on and on.

More BIG news...I have a JOB!!!!! The observation actually indicated that I have work! YEAH! I start on Monday, although I am going in again tomorrow for more observations of how they conduct the classes. I will work on Monday and Wednesday evenings, I will have a class of 12 and 13 year olds, and a private lesson with a guy around 26 whose boss said get the English up, or no work. He should be pretty motivated. Anyway, there may be more work forthcoming, but so far so good. I haven't been able to discuss pay, which is most unlike me. I tend to sit down in the interview chair and say, "Hello, nice to meet you. What is the pay please?" Well, I interview a little better than that, but I always always ask. Here it is a little awkward as the administrators do not speak any English, and so I have to ask the other teachers all the questions, and I don't really feel entirely comfortable.

The daughter of the lady who took us up to the shelter works there as well, teaching English, and so possibly Chuck has done me a good turn here already, getting me an in to another branch of this little town. Actually he has, the owner of the local pet store used to be married to an Englishman, and lived in London for some time, so her English is very good, and then there are three women at the school, fellow teachers who all speak English, and there is one woman at the kids school who also speaks English and is very friendly. She has lived ex-pat in Holland for five years, so I suspect she knows what it is like and is returning the good favours that she received.

I don't want to get enmeshed in an English speaking community. Not really much danger of that here, but it looks like I am developing a small group of people I can talk to more easily. What a relief.

The downside of the work is that I have to give up my Catalan classes, although I may be paid enough I can get some more done anyway, also it makes it trickier for the husband to go running, and I will be away basically all night on those evenings. The little one is rather upset on that front, and I am not exactly happy. She is getting a bit of a rougher ride. She has always been asked to handle more at a younger age than her sister. Is that normal? Probably. At her age, her sister was on the boat with her entire family all the time, not struggling with a new school in a new town with a new language. We'll all get used to it though, and I can probably work my way into some better hours next year, and thank goodness for the two hour lunches, at least I will see my kids some of the time.

The elder child is gunning for a mental health day tomorrow. She was very upset when she came home from school, although nothing specific happened. I cannot blame her though, the pressure of going to school for 6 hours a day in a foreign language must give you the fiercest sort of brain freeze at times. I have told her that she is not getting the entire day, but she is going to get some. She said it, but I was already thinking it. She gets up every single day without making any fuss at all, and she has not complained a bit about the school. Well, that is a slight exaggeration, the heart dissection was epic, and the shower thing was pretty bad. She seems to have established a routine which does NOT involve her showering, and is now reasonably content to do gym.

She has music, which she also hates, and they have to play the recorder. UGH. Why can't they play something like guitar, which she did in first grade? Anyway, she is hating it, and all the other kids have obviously been doing it for years and have some skills. She was practicing this evening in bed. Man oh man. My Dad says that way back years ago when he went to Catholic school, they all had to be in the choir, and he was told to mouth the words because he was so bad, not only was it awful, but it threw all the boys around him off. Well, it may be genetic. She was excellent on the guitar, but the recorder.....

Practice in your room, with all the intervening doors closed.

Now to bone up on my English grammar...what is the present simple continuous tense anyway?

Oh, and here's a scary thing. One of the classes I observed was a group of teenagers. These girls had more piercings, and tattoos and attitude, along with their motorcycle helmets for the bikes and mopeds they all drive...and most of them were only 15! EEEEEeeeeekkkkkkkk. Did I mention the eldest just turned 11. OK, I'm a shakin' here. And here's the kicker, these were all fun and funny kids that are taking extra-curricular language lessons two nights a week....that was not cool when I was a kid. Eeeeekkkk.

The other class was six year olds. They got out of school at 5. Were at their English class, two days a week at 5:15, and it is an hour an a half long! They didn't even leave till ten to seven, no dinner, nothing. They were lying on the tables writing...poor things. I don't know how they do it. They probably still have homework to do at home. And I figured out why the language skills are so poor here, in the teenager's advanced English class, they spoke in Catalan almost the entire time. They asked all the questions in Catalan, and the teacher answered in English.

They won't be doing that with me anyway.


caomeishengdai said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Beth said...

Hurray re: the job! And part-time is great when you have kids.

As for training Chuck - you don't need any tips - he sounds perfect. Sits, heels, stays, comes when you call. I'd say he's adapting very well. (Cute that he follows you around.)

Re: the lights and electricity off - is this suppposed to be a good or a bad thing to do? You said it could cause serious problems at the power stations.

oreneta said...

Beth: I do have to do more homework around this light thing, and I am far from an electical engineer, but it seems to me from what I do know about electrical systems on boats and generating systems that if everyone suddenly removes the load, it might cause problems....anyone out there more knowledgable? I also have to get a more reliable translation done. It seemed an interesting idea. It began life in France.

Dorky Dad said...

So we have to turn our lights off for five minutes? Is this going to be at the same exact time worldwide or from our own time zones?

And congrats on the job! But I usually ask about pay before I even say "hello."

oreneta said...

DD: I assume it is supposed to be local time, not much point if it is the middle of the night....though I haven't gotten a good translation yet.

I often ask the pay over the phone before the interview, why waste their time and mine?

Beth said...

Wow, that's alot! first, congrats on the job! Kick some butt!

Yay for Chuck! He's a keeper! And I can't wait to see pix of him and maybe the girls?

Why do they have school for so many horrible terrible hours? when do these kids have free time? when do they eat? do homework? 7pm? that's crazy?!

oreneta said...

Beth: yeah, the next trick with the job is limiting my hours, they are now talking about having me teach Mon - Thur from 5:15 - 9:45. My kids get out of school at 5.

This is Spain, they have a different genetic code I think (which my kids have on one side, so that doesn't work), the kids, even little ones stay up until at least ten on a weeknight. I don't know how, but they do.Midnight on the weekends...this is 6, 7, 8 year olds. They do eat on the way from school. The parents all have sandwiches in their hands when they pick them up, and then there is the two hour lunch, but still, I don't know why they are not all absolute wrecks.