A short vignette of the chaos: Our apartment building last night
Our upstairs neighbour arrives home at 10:00 p.m. and neglects to remove her high heels that go clickety-clack clickety-clack against the marble floor (which is, of course, attached to our ceiling) announcing her every movement. From the kitchen… to the bedroom… into the bathroom… and back to the living room. Clickety-clack she goes. Her partner gets home and they exchange words. Loudly. Are they actually genuinely angry with each other or are they discussing the fact that they are low on milk? It is impossible to say. One night a few weeks ago, he called her a “Puta” (whore) and the whole building shook with the violence of that word. A few minutes pass and again I hear the front door bang closed several times. Keys jangle and click in locks as all of the building’s people make their way home, some of them carrying groceries. Laughter tinkles and then explodes in the street under our window. A gaggle of dinner guests buzz up to the apartment beside us and the woman who lives there opens the door and calls down to them, until the stairwell reverberates with their greetings. The smack-smack of kisses and “Que tals” ends with another heavy-oak-door slam as they move their party inside the piso. Our neighbourhood is blazing with light, blaring with music, and filled with the smell of sizzling meat at 11:00 p.m. At the same time that we are going to bed, the Spaniards are just warming up. Just sitting down to dinner with family and friends. They amaze me.
Funny cultural contrast moment:
Yesterday, in Wellness Class, we were watching an episode of “Freaks and Geeks” called “Kim Kelly Is My Friend” in which Kim tells Lindsay that she will pick her up for dinner at 5:30 p.m. “5:30?” one of the Spanish kids yelled out in disbelief. “Why so early?” The American kids admitted that it was true… that the latest they eat is 6:00 p.m. Many Spaniards still have two more hours of work at 6:00 p.m. – certainly anyone who works in a shop is there until at least 8:00 p.m.
So I was saying that ours is a normally peaceful home in which there is no “Puta” name-calling and where everyone is tucked safely into bed and fast asleep by midnight. It’s a nice life, safe and perhaps a tad boring from the outside but this week, however, there has been nothing but Drama, Drama, Drama.
Well, mostly, it’s been Drama, Drama, Drama for DP who has just learned that he will be teaching only arts and technology integration next year. In his second year at the school, and in the second year of the Drama program that he developed, he will become the only Drama teacher at our school, teaching students in grades 6 through 10. He has also pitched a couple of arts electives and will direct a school play.
We both love our work as educators and get charged up from working in schools. When a school is healthy, there is no place on the planet that is more fun to spend the better part of each day. Healthy schools are brimming with teachers who know their own strengths and weaknesses well enough to choose the right work within the field of education. Administrators must also see those strengths and weaknesses and provide faculty with opportunities to change directions. Finally, there must be opportunity in the school for teachers to move into new roles for which they are better suited. That’s tricky as the job for which you are “perfect” might already be filled by someone who has been in the job for 10 years or who is a close personal friend of your head of school.
All of DPs stars became aligned this year after he got serious about being SO done with the soul-smashing marking-load of an English teacher. He pitched his dream job to our Director who was wildly supportive of DPs request to change school-teaching gears; this Director is definitely the right leader at the right time. The Director and Principal were then able to create this job (one that has never existed at our school) and that fact is nothing short of miraculous, given that they made this change without hiring another staff member.
So DP will be teaching Drama, Film and helping other teachers integrate technology into their classrooms. Cool, no?
This also means that we will be in Barcelona for two more years… both of us in jobs for which we are really well suited.
When she appeared on “Inside the Actors Studio” Barbra Streisand quoted the philosopher Goethe as having said, “At the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you.” Thank you, universe!