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MM Monthly Thoughts: April 2016

This is the second instalment of MM Monthly Thoughts! Since my blog doesn’t run in chronological order, I decided to post an overview of every month. I like being able to summarise what’s happened, and keep everyone in the loop!

Almeria Spain

So where am I at?

This month was my fourth month living in Spain. It seems to have gone so fast! I’m still enjoying teaching english with the Auxiliar de Conversación program, and I feel like I’m gaining more and more confidence as time passes.

This month I’ve become really aware of how little time I have left in Spain and in Almería. At least this time around. I’ve applied for the program for another year because I feel like I’ve invested time in living in Spain and I want to stay for a bit longer. I’d like to continue to improve my Spanish, have the freedom to keep working on this blog (since it’s a lot of work!) and keep teaching.

This month became the month of visitors. I had some fellow Kiwi Auxiliars come to stay, my parents, and the boy, EB.

There’s plenty to do here, which I finally wrote about in the top ten things to do in Almería, but I also finally made it to Cabo de Gata! Everyone here raves on about Cabo de Gata, and now I understand why! These beautiful and largely unpopulated beaches really are the place to go here. We were able to visit the main beaches, the Tabernas Desert and some of the villages of the Alpujarras in Almería all in two days. Posts coming very soon with more details about things in Almería like Los Refugios, and Cabo de Gata!

Cabo de Gata, Almeria

The colour of that sea!

In the final weekend of April I took my first trip out of Andalucia, to meet a friend in Barcelona. It was a COMPLETELY different side of Spain and I have to say I was surprised! Here’s a sneak peak photo taken at Park Güell, with some more posts also coming very soon. Keep an eye on Instagram in the meantime!

Barcelona Park Guell

Thoughts for the month

On learning another language

My Spanish is still coming along, slowly. I guess I was hoping to reach a certain point where the language just fell into place and it become a lot easier, but since this has been the month of visitors I almost feel like my Spanish language has gotten worse. it could be that it’s become more apparent to me when I’ve been trying to translate for other people who know absolutely no Spanish, or it could just be my own self confidence.

My Spanish tutor assures me I’m progressing, but I think it’s my inability to speak in social situations that gets me down. In a one-on-one conversation I feel I can do ok, but in a group I’m more likely to stay quiet, listening and understanding a lot, but not really contributing. In all honesty I’m often like this in a group of English speakers too!

So what’s coming up?

I only have one more month in Spain, which just seems crazy. Where did the time go?! Although I’ve applied to renew with the Auxiliar de Conversacion program I won’t hear if I’ve been successful in my application to stay at my schools for a couple more months. That means everything is a little uncertain, although the chance of returning is really high since I’ve already been living and teaching here.

I’m in summer planning mode, and I’ve actually booked my ticket back to Edinburgh, my base for the summer! I can’t wait to spend more time in this amazing city and my former home in the UK. While I’d love to travel for the entire summer, I’ve decided instead to make my home in Edinburgh and take trips where I can. Maybe more on the reasons for that one day too…

I plan to spend time seeing even more of Scotland, since I love it so much, including going back to the Shetland Isles, a highly underrated tourist destination, where my family moved to New Zealand from. Other than that I have some exciting plans for Stockholm and Copenhagen, the relatively new Electric Fields Festival in Scotland, and whatever else looks good on Skyscanner! Plus spending as much time as possible in Edinburgh in August for Festival of course.

CHurros Almeria

Eating Churros in Almeria

Goals for May

Last month I said I wanted to continue to learn more Spanish. I think that’s happened, but not as fast as I’d like. Teaching English kind of puts a roadblock in the immersion way of learning!

I definitely explored more around Almeria, and I can’t wait to share my new findings with you all. So many posts in draft fight now!

As for the exercise, and the reading, that didn’t happen so much…

So here’s this month:

  • Cram as much Spanish in as possible, so I can have a lot to practice in the summer
  • Find fun games to play for the last month of teaching. Calling all English teachers?!
  • Finish and publish all the Almeria posts I have ready, you guys need to know more about this place!

As always, thanks for stopping by, and please let me know if you did! How was your April?

Sonja x

4 thoughts on “MM Monthly Thoughts: April 2016

  1. Amy says:

    Oh my god you’re killing me with that churro picture. I’m so deprived of fried dough over here. I enjoyed your snaps or Barcelona and am super interested in the Shetland Islands. That picture of you in Barcelona is gorgeous!

    I’ve got some random games for you. You might already know some of them.
    1. A-Z board race. Write the alphabet on the board twice, vertically. Split the class into two teams. Give them a topic and a time limit. Each time has to think of as many different words in that topic as they can and fill in the alphabet. If they have the same words as the other team, no point. I justify this as a vocabulary game.
    2. “I have…” chair swap. I use this to reinforce present perfect for experiences. Make a circle with chairs and have one person stand in the middle. They have to say a positive statement about a life experience, i.e. “I have been to Paris,” and everyone who has also done that thing has to swap seats. Sometimes people switch to “I’ve never” because they’ve played this as a bar game. 🙂 Students get, um, enthusiastic quickly, so I always call it before it gets too dangerous.
    3. Snowball fight. You can use this for a lot of different grammar or to reinforce question structure. Give each student 3-5 pieces of paper and have them write down some information about themselves (depends on what language you’re working on). Have them be super specific. Then have them crumple up the pieces of paper, divide them into two teams, and give them twenty seconds to have a snowball fight, trying to get all the snowballs on the other team’s side. After the snowball fight is over, they pick up a snowball and uncrumple it and try to find the writer of the sentence by asking questions (which is key. Sometimes my students just go up to each other “Did you write this??” Not how it’s supposed to work. 🙂 ).
    4. Grass skirt error correction. Type up a sheet up paper with 6-8 sentences that have multiple errors in them. (Put the number of errors in parentheses after the sentence.) Cut the paper between the sentences and hang it on the wall landscape style, so that the sentences hang like a grass skirt. Have the students work in pairs or groups of three, pull down the first sentence, and try to correct it. Whoever finished first gets a point. Sometimes they’re over excited to start working on the second sentence, but I have the ‘winners’ first read the sentence to the class and then move on together. You can also give them a time limit, first finishers get two points and any team that gets it right gets one point.

    Phew. I hope one of those is new and useful! Have fun!

    • Migrating Miss says:

      Thanks Amy those are awesome suggestions!!! I’ll definitely be able to use those in some of my classes.

      I love the churros here, and the lifestyle in general. I’ll definitely miss it over the summer!

  2. Michele M says:

    Really enjoying your posts – great site too. I’ve spent a little time in Almeria 2 years ago and loved it.
    I am interested to know if you could recommend a Spanish Language school in the Almeria or surrounding area? I would really love to escape the Canadian winters and take an immersion course in January for 2-4 weeks. Tx

    • Migrating Miss says:

      Thanks Michele that’s lovely to hear! I’m glad you like Almeria too. A lot of people who haven’t been here seem to have quite an opinion on it… Unfortunately I don’t know of any Spanish language schools doing extensive courses around here. I have a private tutor but I have been thinking that doing something similar would really help me to improve quickly. If I come across anything I’ll be sure to comment back or mention it!

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