Monthly Archives: Outubro 2011

Sunny and cold in Madrid


I am writing from Madrid. And just let me warn you… I am feeling terrible, so this post is going to be winy and pessimistic. So stop reading if you don’t feel like wasting your time reading complains.

I was suppose to take the GRE in order to apply for the U.S Graduate Schools so that I can enjoy my scholarship granted by la Caixa Foundation. I was worried because they test maths and that is why i had to spend most of my time studying during the past weeks. This test is taken on a computer, and you can only take it in Madrid or Barcelona (in Spain) Since I needed the scores as soon as possible (I was afraid they would not arrive on time) I scheduled the earliest test possible, and was in madrid. today. I had to buy a plane ticket from O Porto (Portugal) otherwise was too expensive, book a night at a hotel ( the location in madrid for the test was far from my friends house) and asked my boss to give me the day off. A lot of trouble, but oh well, it is to study a masters program in the US so I guess it was worth it.

HOWEVER, although I spent the whole night studying, woke up at 6 in the morning… when I arrived to the place they informed me that the test was cancelled for technical problems, and they have to reschedule it, and they gave me a new date in Barcelona next week. Which means: I may not get the scores on time, so no possibility of being accepted at US schools. It also means that I have to pay for another plane ticket, to barcelona, which taking into account that is within a week its going to be expensive. And finally… how do I ask for another day off????? My boss is going to fire me.

I am from Galicia, and culturally people from this region believes in ghosts, witches, curses, evil eyes… my grandma is always telling me that I am sick because something like this and that I should go “clean” myself to an spiritist. I always laugh at this. I know its cultural and all the people from galicia that are old and live in little towns with deep rooted traditions believe in this and I think its fun.

However, I am starting to suspect something. I may sound ridiculous, but lately there are many things that turn bad. Let me tell you something that has broken my heart. Two nights ago, my dog, Mufy, passed away. I saw it, and impressed me so much. I know it is soon, but since that moment I have been feeling terrible.




Daddy cool


Since I got home I had time to think about staff that was there before, but never sat to really analyze it.

One of them is the relationship with my father. I think is the person that annoys me the most in my family. However, I love him. So much. But can’t help to feel angry at him almost every day. But I think it is because I care.

My mother never liked children, so when I was little she was in charge of taking care of me regarding my baths, my foods, and trying to educate me. My father, on the other hand, was my playing mate. He was always happy to help with me, to take me to Disneyland, to amusing parks. He bought me every single Disney movie. We had such a great time. I used to say, my mother did not belong to the same “ethnicity” than us.

I started growing up, and my father was still in charge of my fun time. I have to say, that he was really really strict when it came to school, and put a lot of pressure on me, because I had always to get the highest marks in everything (even in music school). Those were the only moments I was afraid of him, because he was all the time in a good mood, but when he got angry… you better not be present.

Anyway, the thing is that something occurred and our relationship change completely. Like we don’t talk that much, and do not have anything in common. There are several reasons. One of them is that my father still loves children and becoming and adult kind of disappointed him. Like I think he wished we could play forever. He does not think adulthood is insteresting. He used to buy videogames using me as an excuse, but actually, they were for him (thats the only reason why all my videogames are football related or with car races… ). Plus, I did really disappointed him when I left music school. for real. One day I asked him for advice when I had to choose a major for university… and he said ” you know, my dream was for you to become a piano player, or a math expert and you dropped all of that so I do not care what you study anymore”. That hurt so much, that I still feel resentful. I still remember that perfectly and I whenever I think about that sentence I get mad at him. He probably does not even remember. But I am not brave enough to tell him.


There is something else that makes me act this way towards my dad, and its that I feel sad he has changed too. I remember my dad as an admiring person. He had plenty of interests. There was so much he wanted to learn about. He was involved in everything, NGO’s, Sahara, he loved traveling, he had great ideals. Something happened. He got tired of getting involved, and in order to avoid conflict he does not fight for anything anymore. He does not read anymore. He does not watch documentaries anymore. He does not like to talk, and argue anymore. I want my daddy back. And I know I am unfair most of the time. I know I have changed to, and he did not stop accepting me just for that.


Dad. He is nervous. He gets excited easily. He loves fishing. He always walk a few steps ahead. He can’t stop with his hands, always scratching his skin. He loves the beach. He enjoys being busy and working. He is happy if his family is happy. He cares, but he does not know how to show it. He is demanding, strict. He likes things done in a good way. He has made great achievements. Sometimes he talks too loud, when it is not necessary. Sometimes, when it is necessary, does not say a word.  He is sensitive. He loves table games. He wants me to be healthy.


Thanks, dad.




I have something to confess. One of the things that scared me most of spending this year back home, it was the feeling of having to “not learn” anything for a year. After many years, two degrees, I have the feeling that I have to study for the rest of my life. Not only as a responsibility task, but also because I simply love it. I do not want to stop learning. And it is never enough.

Of course I have always heard that “life is the best school of life” bla bla bla, but I did not actually believe it. The thing is that yesterday I realized how much I am learning this year. One month at home and I have already the feeling of having experienced and learnt as many things as I did this past years.

Yes I am learning in this classes that I am taking, some drama skills, yoga, belly dancing steps… but I am not referring to that.

For example, yesterday, despite the fact I worked from 8.00 a.m until 19.00 p.m was one of the most fruitful days I had since I got here. The day started teaching Spanish to my Chinese student. Because we have been practice the “restaurant” topic, I took her out for breakfast to a really really nice café. I told her to order everything, ask for explanations on the menu. At the end we ordered coffees and freshly made croissants. I could see that my student was happy having that “different class”. While we were having breakfast I taught her many things on flavors, textures, and how to become a good gastronomic critic in Spanish.

When we finished class I was really tired and stressed out because in the afternoon I had to teach a 6 year old Spanish (and wealth family) child in his (amazing) house. I had never taught a child that small, and I sincerely did not know how to prepare for that class. I did not even know how a 6-year old is… do they know how to read? … but one of the most challenging things is that I had to teach him CHINESE! … well, i have to say. I was FRIGHTENED.

But, you know what? It went great. We had a lot of fun together. I manage to handle him. He learnt many things. He is smart. He understand tones! I think he can pronounce even better than me. Like, it was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. His mum was happy too.

My parents picked me up and I rushed to Tui (hometown) because I am taking some math private lessons to prepare for the GRE (that I am taking in MAdrid this Tuesday). And that was another discovery. That private teacher is so amazing that my relationships with maths have completely changed. I used to terrible hate them (my dad used to love them and pressured me during school), and know… they seem so much fun. Class started at 7.30 and at 9.30 I did not realize that two hours have passed.

The end of the day had a wonderful last touch. We went for dinner to my grandma’s and goian and ate fresh razor clams! delicious, for dessert: crepes.

But oh well, its weekend already and nightmare starts… two last days of intense study!

Thanks for reading.

On teaching


I have never thought about being a teacher. I mean, I did think about it, and I have been always sure about my feelings towards it: hate it. It could be an easy option If I liked it, having studied translation and interpreting I would be able to teach English, Spanish, Galician or even Chinese after taking a masters in Education as most of my classmates did, but I have been always sure that that was not the profession for me. I had amazing teachers through my life, that, actually, turned me into who I am now. But, since I heartily respect that profession, I believe that no one without vocation should become a teacher, that is why I have never considered joining the profession.

However, life took me to work as a teacher several times. I started teaching music (I played the piano for more than eleven years) to one of my mum’s friend daughters. Then I taught English to my aunt. When I became interested in Chinese i taught Spanish to Chinese students in exchange for they teaching me Chinese. I ended up teaching Spanish in Beijing so that I could afford paying for a Mandarin course at the university. Then, as part of the collaboration scholarship with my university in Barcelona I had to teach during a year. And now, the only single job that I found: teaching spanish to chinese students.

Surprised? I am. Why? Because I have always loved it. During previous experiences I have always thought that I loved it because of the context, because of a particular student, etc. But now… I am just realizing how motivated I feel preparing lessons for my student, how proud I feel when I see her improvement, so enjoying those hours I am explaining grammar (yeah!) unbelievable. And today… After teaching her all the vocabulary about shopping and clothing I took her to a shop, right down the building. I made her practice in real life. I asked her to ask for sizes, to ask for trying etc.

Despite the fact she was embarrassed, I think she enjoyed a “different” class. And I had such a great time. Like I am feeling that I can do this in a proper way.

Notes on me…. I found someone to drive me to Vigo at 7.30 every morning (so I am one hour early at work). Dad is picking me up with the ambulance. My boss told me it was obvious I was sick 😦 – I though i did not look ill- . And tomorrow check up at doctors. scary!



First weekend of my life


I have just got the feeling of Weekend.

I mean, it is maybe a little bit exaggerated to state that it is the first time of my life that I feel like it’s weekend, but, at least it is the first time since I was jobless. Having this new jobs and all the activities and busy life made me “desire” this weekend and actually enjoying it. It was profitable, too. Like, I worked (prepared my lessons) went shopping ( I went to O porto with my family), I had family dinners ( last night in Goian and today at my dad’s grandma– churrasco! ), I studied ( few hours for the GRE), I am going to the movies (right now), I went to the theater to watch a play (amazing, by the way, it was about Stefan Zweig’s life, and the galician actors made a great job. Spent a lot of quality time with my family (dad teaching me maths, grandma showing me flowers…) I had also break downs, like yesterday I was trembling really scared about my health, and having some anxiety, but over all I have to say it was positive.

I have to say I miss Barcelona. I miss that freedom. It is not that I do not get along with my parents, but it feels weird, uncomfortable, just having someone giving an opinion on what you are doing all the time. Although I should be thankful for all they are doing – having me home in order to take good care of me- but I just do not need to hear how do you think I look today, or what do you think about my breakfast, or what do you think about me meeting somebody, or how do you feel about my new job being too tiring for my situation. They are good intentions. But I feel uncomfortable. And I feel bad for feeling that way. Like I am to blame. and its true. Its my fault.




New life.


And just before summer ends in Galicia (it is still really sunny and hot, unbelievable) I am starting my new life, and really, really enjoying it.

I am talking about my new job. I’ve just worked a couple of days, teaching this Chinese girl spanish, but it was nice. My student is nice. I believe she can learn a lot. The only problem is, that she is really shy and does not talk much (in Spanish) so it is hard to teach (with a communicative approach that she wants) someone that shy. But it is a challenge, and I can face that. After teaching 2hours and a half of Spanish, I have to reach my four- hour /day job by developing materials for children studying Chinese. Which is fun. I have to think not only about what they should have learnt at the end of the course , but also I have to prepare didactic activities. They are designed for 7-8 years old so I should make exercises and activities really fun. I thought I would not like this part of the job but actually is incredibly creative, and I am feeling enthusiastic about it. Yesterday I felt, for the first time since I got here, that I have a real, stabilized life, and I am ready to tackle my health issues from now on.

About health, after two days of hospitals, no real improvements. Actually, what they say was not encouraging at all, and everything looked so dark. Anyway, I know that I have faced bigger challenges before (getting my scholarship, surviving in China, working as an interpreter, working as a scientific translator) I went and overcame all of that so, a little health issue is not going to get me down.

There are so many so many so many things that I want to enjoy. I have many plans. I have many ideas. And I am going to do everything in my hands to achieve all of them.





ChangeS II


There is one main reason why I am turning this blog into English. And it is that I am taking the GRE exam on the 25th in Madrid… so … since noone is reading me anyways (not a big loss of readers) I guess writing in English is going to do no harm to me right now…


Specially since , big news! know what? I finally found a job! I will be teaching spanish to foreigners every morning. I am not getting paid much, but still, is going to make me feel busy and keep my mind occupied. In the afternoons I will be coming back home (studying GRE) and evenings I am keeping with my activities schedule …. monday and wed yoga, tuesday belly dancing, thursday drama and friday private mandarin lessons.

As If it was not good enough I’ve got more news. And good ones. First, I had my first drama class yesterday and I have to say that it was amazing. The teacher is just Willy (the teacher I used to have at my other drama school), the group is fantastic, and encouraging, and I think I learned a lot and did well. I really miss drama lessons, because, not only I love drama, but it helps me. Trying to be so many characters, believe you have other life for a few minutes, makes you forget about everything else. You can experience great things just by playing a role.


And also I had today, after a visit to the hospital, my first private Mandarin lesson. It was great also. The teacher is really really nice, friendly and serious enough for private lessons (I had many experiences where the teacher would just try to be friends and not teaches you anything)… I freshed up my chinese, and already have homework…


There has been some downers though… not everything can be great I guess. I usually go to my grandma’ s for lunch. So today I got there and she was really mad. And it is common, because she always gets mad with my grandpa… you know, they are retired and they have fun just by having these little arguments … but it really annoys me than when she’s mad at him, she would not talk to me either (my grandpa and I have a good relationship) and even if I do not know about the stuff, so she just did not talk to me, served the food in not very polite manners, and so…

I understand her. and I love her. but it is just really unpleasant having lunch like that. so after lunch i told her that since i am working now, i might just come on Sundays, and eat at my own house. She and grandpa, too, got really mad at me; they say I do not know how to be thankful to everything they have done for me, and I am childish for not even try to comprehend them….

oh well. at the end I am the bad granddaughter.

Thats all for today I guess. My mum bought me a really nice and ecologic notebook to write down my thoughts and take them to therapy, so since I gotta write there, I better not get tired already.


Thanks for reading.