Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas is coming!

Christmas is coming and I can't wait! This time next week I'll be at home with my family and friends with British shops, British food and speaking English without feeling guilty! I've been busy wrapping presents that I bought here as I thought it would be nice for my family to try some Spanish things. I'm also bringing back some alcohol because its ridiculously cheap here, although I'm worried about how heavy my suitcase will be and whether I will be able to bring back the amount of alcohol that I have. I'm trying to pack light because I don't really need to take as much with me to England as I brought here. When I come back I'm hoping to bring some clothes and food that I can't get here.

Taking precautions with the
bubble wrap

This week hasn't been too bad. The pupils in one of my English classes are starting a project which involves making tourist brochures about cities in the UK. London is a popular choice, so instead of allowing everybody to choose their own, the teacher asked me to make a bag of city names so each pupil selects one randomly. I thought it would be nice to put Reading in and the girls who picked it out of the bag seemed happy to be researching my home town. 

Next week I'm hoping to do another lesson about Christingles and I might even attempt to bake some mince pies, although I'm not sure if I can get all the ingredients here, also the utensils we have in the kitchen are pretty limited and I don't see the point in buying loads of new ones when I'm only here for 5 more months. I did bring some mince pies with me but they got squashed and went out of date in October. I ate them anyway but they were quite chewy! I really wish I could take some photos of the Christmas lights here because they are really pretty. My phone camera quality has got so bad that I use my laptop to take photos, but obviously that's only really practical inside the flat.

I've also been busy working on my project about illegal immigration, which I submitted online and posted yesterday. I managed to interview 2 people at the government offices about the issue and it was interesting to hear their point of view. I managed to get the interviews using contacts in my network. Don't be surprised if people don't answer calls or respond to emails. Sometimes its better to be proactive and just turn up at the office in order to talk face to face. Unfortunately my research was a bit limited by the language barrier. Here's the conclusion of my project:

To conclude I think the fence is not effectively controlling illegal immigration between Melilla and Morocco. Dangerous and negative consequences mentioned in my sources and the interview show that the fence is not a secure border between Europe and Africa. Also the two communication consultants from the government that I interviewed think the fence is not sufficient, but did not discuss any current or potential solutions except CETI (Centro de Estancia Temporal de Inmigrantes, Centre for the Temporary Stay of Immigrants) . Maybe if I spoke to someone who works in CETI or another non-governmental organisation their response would be very different.

Sadly my flat mate is moving out this month, so I'm trying to find someone interested in moving in after Christmas. I'm a bit worried about it because I don't want to have to pay double rent if I don't find someone, which would be 
almost all of my monthly income. Anyway, if I do find someone I hope that it will be a good opportunity to make a new friend.

On the upside, I received some really nice post earlier in the week including some vegetarian English food and drink from Terry, chocolates from Julia, postcards from Jess and my tax rebate money. I also received a Modern Family DVD and a new hoodie and coat which I bought online, but seemed to take quite a while to arrive. 

All I need to do now is finish my Christmas shopping, send some post, clean the flat and pack everything then I'm ready to go!

P.S. I've started blogging for Student Christian Movement

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Good news!

This week I've had some good news! The school recently had an exam to hire a new English speaking Geography teacher, which, if all goes to plan, means I won't need to struggle with Geography lessons any more after Christmas! I've actually been getting on with the Geography teacher quite well recently and she sometimes gives me lifts home, but I'm really looking forward to just teaching English lessons. At the moment I only have 2 English lessons on Wednesdays, but I feel that I know the pupils in both of those classes better and I usually find myself smiling and happier afterwards. I know it seems a bit too early, but I did a lesson on Christmas in England this week because I only have a few weeks left before I go home for Christmas. My lesson involved a Christmas quiz and I gave the winner a Christmas cracker (they don't have them in Spain) which the class seemed to get excited about. I also taught them about Christingles. Christingles are a Christian tradition for children in churches in  England and Germany during Christmas. The orange represents the world, the red ribbon the blood of Jesus, the 4 cocktail sticks the 4 seasons, the sweets God's gift to the world and the candle Jesus as the light of the world.

One of the better Christingles,
the rest of them had faces drawn
on and the sweets didn't last
very long (My phone camera is
broken so all my photos will
be bad quality until I get
a new one)

During my time here I have to do some work for the Spanish part of my degree. So far I've had to write learning targets and a monthly reflective blog. This month I have to do a project of my choice, which includes reviewing Spanish articles, recording an interview with a Spanish native speaker and writing an essay on the topic. I have chosen to research illegal immigration between Morocco and Melilla, which isn't the easiest topic to talk about. However, I went to La Cruz Roja (the Red Cross) because I completed the online course for volunteers and received my certificate. I asked if they had anyone I could talk to about immigration and they said they would contact CETI (Centro de Estancia Temporal de Inmigrantes, Centre for the Temporary Stay of Immigrants) to find someone. I also went to the government offices and they gave me an appointment for Tuesday, but I'm not entirely certain that I will be able to do the interview. I'm feeling slightly worried because the deadline for my project is Thursday 12th December. Tomorrow is a public holiday and I'm at working Monday to Wednesday, which makes it difficult to find a time to do the interview, especially with Spain's early closing times.

La Cruz Roja certificate

It hasn't been the easiest week this week partly because the gas ran out at the weekend, which is the source of heating for the water (unfortunately I don't have any central heating). I could either go to a petrol station to buy a gas can and attempt to carry it home or wait until I had a free day when I could stay in the house in order to call the gas delivery in the morning and wait for it to be delivered later that day. I chose the latter and waited for the new gas can to be delivered. Lo and behold, the gas still didn't work and I was starting to feel pretty desperate and concerned about my body odour after not showering for 5 days! I asked the person who delivered the gas to help me and he said it needed a new battery. I later replaced the battery and to my frustration, still couldn't get the fire to light. I have a really nice neighbour who lives above me and who sometimes brings Laura and I cakes, so I asked for her help and she managed to get someone from a maintenance shop across the road to come and have a look. After all the fuss, it turns out this idiot didn't know how to light the gas. Anyway, more good news is I now have hot water and can enjoy the luxury of a warm shower again!