Where can a language take you? (Part Three)


I woke up the following morning feeling a mixture of mild trepidation and excitement. My first day at school! As a teacher, of sorts. (This story may make more sense if you read parts one and two, in case you haven’t done so already. Here are the links!)



I had Kellogg’s Frosties for breakfast. I remember this because I suddenly felt very sick as I stepped onto the pavement with Sara to take the one minute walk to the school. Apparently, nerves and overdoing it on something as sweet as Frosties don’t mix very well! The thought that I could have to tell my fellow teachers that I was ill on my first day did little to settle my stomach.

Thankfully, I soon felt better. I probably didn’t have time to feel sick, as I found myself in the dimly lit school reception moments later. It was thronged with parents and children. When the children noticed my presence, they stared at me as only a child who finds something curious can do, with a mixture of ‘this person is different to us’ and shyness. I smiled a few ‘holas’ to anyone who I made eye contact with before being greeted by, I assume, the receptionist, who was expecting the arrival of a pale skinned, bewildered looking foreigner (I can’t quite remember who greeted me). She beckoned me to follow her.

We climbed up four flights of stairs to the staff room, where I met the English Teacher I would be working with. She was from Argentina and after our introduction, she in turn introduced me to the various ‘Javiers,’ ‘Beatrizes’ and ‘Marias’ of the teaching staff. I could safely bet now that, at that moment, I did not remember one of their names. They were totally different names to the ones that I was used to. Had they been called ‘John’ or ‘Larry’ or ‘Mary’ it would have been different, of course! The morning after eating snails for the first time, I was being smacked in the face with another reminder that I was no longer on familiar ground. I must admit, I felt the first pang of homesickness!  

I am sure it is the same for everyone who is reading this, but as we grow older time seems to pass more quickly. Again, that day seemed to pass in a flash. I stood in front of classes for the first time introducing myself and answering questions that ranged from ‘Do you speak Spanish? (mischievous glances were passed around when I replied ‘no’) to ‘What is your favourite colour? (the younger classes). I was also asked in every class, without fail, ‘Are you of the ‘Barça?’

‘Am I what?’ I thought, when I was asked the question for the first time.

The teacher promptly corrected the question: ‘Do you support Barcelona Football Club?’

‘Aaaah’ I realised.

I summoned my most mischievous smile and professed my ‘love’ for ‘Manchester United Football Club on the spot, to all the student’s great disappointment and jeers! I remember how everyone smiled, though, when the opportunity arose to put down each others football teams. Football is a universal language! As it turned out, Barcelona and Man Utd were to meet that season, albeit many months later, in none other than the Champion’s League Final. Had I known that at the time, I would not have proclaimed Man Utd the ‘best’ team in those first few classes. I received an unmerciful slagging from every class after the final, which ‘El Barça’ won three goals to one.  

I learned sometimes it is best to keep one’s mouth shut when in a foreign land! 

7 Comments Add yours

  1. Sue C. says:

    It had to be the snails! lol Another life lesson is that it isn’t just in foreign countries that we need to keep quiet at times.
    You make me smile. 🙂

    1. I’m glad I could make you smile Sue 🙂 Thanks for following me too! I’ve read somewhere that the wisest person is the one who says little, so I try to keep that in mind in my daily activities!

  2. EJ386 says:

    I just nominated you for a Leibster award…
    To find out what its about, here is a link to my post…
    Love EJ386

  3. kutukamus says:

    Yes, I think I remember that final (however vague). We (me and buddies) watched it together, way past midnight (our local time). I made some harsh comments about how bad MU (and their stars) played (right from when it’s still 0-0).
    Much later, when it’s all over, I knew that I just hurted some people’s feelings. My best friends’.
    Well I guess we can be wrong even when we’re right, can’t we? 🙂

  4. Ste J says:

    That final was one sided, classic Barcelona. Football is the world language, that’s why I love the build up to the World Cup where all the countries taking part are all hyped up and looking forward to it. I went over to the US for a bit and sadly I was the only one to talk football, that was one of the only good points of returning home.

    1. Thanks for commenting Ste J. Absolutely, it was pretty much as I expected, although I still held onto hope going into the match. Their victory in this years final was the same, you know, Juventus played well and gave them a reasonable game but in the end Barca were just better, as everyone knew anyway. Yeah the US is not the place for football I suppose, although it would seem to be getting a higher profile now, with premier league names heading over there once they are a little older. They even did well enough in the last world cup!

      1. Ste J says:

        Last I heard the US was averaging crowds of 18,000 which is pretty impressive, attendances have risen since the MLS’s inception which is heartening. If Juventus keep adding to their squad and those rumours are rife then they will be even more impressive next year even without Pirlo…you wouldn’t bet against a repeat of the same final next year. As long as Bournemouth stay up I will be happy though.

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