En mi salsa

This is the beginning of my second week in Almeria--which means that I'm doing things for the second time around rather than the first! It strikes me that there's a lot of anxiety in experiencing the new, at least when absolutely everything is new. The second week is therefore much easier!  Though maybe I should wait until Friday to say that for sure.

My schedule is still in process, but certain things are certain. Until the end of January, I will teach Spanish classes (basic vocabulary) on Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-7:30 pm. We're working on the rooms of a house and the types of furniture in each room. Spanish seems to have a richer vocabulary than English. I keep finding things that have multiple words in Spanish and only one in English.. For example, a "sink" can mean basically any basin with running water. In Spanish, there's a word for the sink in the bathroom (lavabo) that's different from the one in the kitchen (fregadero), which is still different from the one you use to wash clothes (lavadero), which, by the way, every house has. And, the machine used to wash clothes is a lavadora. In other words, I'm very often confused! 

Anyway, to continue with my schedule. I'm teaching computer classes Tuesday and Thursdays at 6 pm. It's basic basic--we started with vocabulary and "how to turn on a computer." Part two was "how to use a mouse." Fun stuff. And they are very happy.

I also learned a phrase, "estoy en mi salsa." "I am in my sauce." Which is to say that I am where I feel like I belong. And "estoy en mi salsa" when I am teaching, so I am glad to be in the classroom.

Additionally, I am helping out at a center that helps migrants get a health card so that they can use the local medical services. It involves filling out a paper with basic information from their passports or other papers. I'm working side-by-side with someone there every Thursday morning. She's also teaching me a bit about the system of immigration here in Spain. It's strange, but not seemingly as broken as that in the US. If someone is here illegally (which most that I am seeing there are), and the police ask for their papers, they can be deported. But, if they manage to stay and contribute to society for three years, they can petition for permanent residency. It makes no sense. But neither does rejecting everyone at the border or preventing them from coming in at all, especially when not enough US citizens are willing to work the fields to provide food for our tables. (Sorry--enough of the soapbox.)

We met our next door neighbors yesterday, a lovely Moroccan family. Moroccan hospitality means that we were offered sweet herbal tea and a bread that's sort of like a tortilla--delicious. They are lovely, a couple with three children, ranging from 20ish to around 10 years old. Their story is a mini history of many families here. The father came 25 years ago and worked in the greenhouses for 12 years or so before he brought the rest of the family. Now, his oldest son and wife work, he spends days at home, they have a house, and their daughter is in the university. Other members of the family live nearby, and one came over while we were there. We learned that his wife is pregnant with their third child. They live about a block away.  I enjoy seeing the way ordinary people are living, and that their hard work paid off and they are a happy family who is together.

There are a few other things in the works for my time. I met the librarian, who also has a study room for children to use after school. I'm hoping to spend an afternoon or two there each week. My students are adults, and it will be fun to add children to the mix. Additionally, some are taking English class, so they could use the help.

Things are good here, though I do miss home. A dear group of friends (young nuns, shout out to Giving Voice!) met this past weekend, and of course I couldn't be there! Such is life. I also look forward to having less newness and getting used to the routine.

Blessings to each of you!

Ah! Two more pictures. The first is a bonfire--the preferred way of celebrating -- for the feast of San Antonio the other day. The second is from an adventure to see the sea. :D


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