Week 3 and 4 – some traveling

My last two weeks of school have been excellent: major improvement and interesting people!

The third week has been all-involving because there were only two students in class, a Swiss girl and me => active participation 100% and lots of speaking. During my fourth and last week we were a bigger group in class but topics were also more complex and we covered quite a few grammar units, which is very good for my learning process. I can affirm to have the basics now, both in terms of grammar and oral skills. Now it’s time to practice them, with lots of conversation and exercises: I’ll basically lock myself up in the library or use Mc Donald’s Wi-Fi while drinking one of those semi-coffees in paper cups.

The highlights of the past two weeks have been my trip to Sète, a little town on the seaside some 15 min away(by train) from Montpellier, and my trip to London.

The first trip was a one day visit of the city. Veera, Aino (two Finnish girls) and I took it easy and left at noon, but in a little mote than 4 hours we made the tour of city, had lunch in a restaurant (a delicious salad with smoked salmon) and even bought postcards, so at about 16.45 we went back home. It was windy and a bit cold there, but we had a nice walk, great food and visited one of the most “scenicshops I’ve ever seen outside Disney World. The walls were painted in pastel light blue or white, in a style that gave the store a Cinderella-like look. The main products sold were magdalenes (sorts of plum cakes), cookies, and little cracker snaps, and all of which came in different flavors and/or shapes. All items were laid down in rows under a sort of a display case made of glass. The shop sold also chocolate and ice-creams, labeled with its own brand. All the elements of the store, from the walls to the shape of the cookies, created an environment of another place and time, somewhere between Pollyanna and Alice in Wonderland (besides, of course, Cinderella).

Both weeks run very smoothly (school, beer, friends, movies) but at the same time I developed a strong interest for teaching, mostly through my interaction with teachers at the language school and by speaking 4 different languages every day, something that most people might find stressful but that I actually find quite entertaining, like a game. I wrote to an organization that works in Spain and that provides training for its own teachers, sparing me a €1,200 TESOL certificate. With the help of Justine, a Canadian girl from school, I wrote what was probably my most genuine cover letter, and it worked, since the Recruiting responsible sent me back interview dates. Even though the company works in Spain, recruitment was held both in Madrid and London, and I chose the latter for it was easier to reach from MTP. I booked the flight and wrote to Kefa, an Austrian friend implanted in London, who welcomed me with open arms as usual, despite the 3-day notice. Kefa you’re awesome! Every time I go to London (which, for different reasons, happened 4 times in the past year), there are 4 things I ALWAYS do, sort of like a “must”:

1.  Go to a  musical or to a play.

2.  Wander through the streets of Soho (and possibly eat there).

3.  Purchase a bag of baked carrots and beetroots and a portion of lemon cheesecake at Pret a Manger and a Caramel Macchiato at Starbucks.

4.  Go to Camden Town and wander around the market. Every time I got here I always end up buying what I consider the best present for friends and family: little candles, hand-painted with themes like the british flag, John Lennon or phrases like I Love my Mom. They’re very cute and cost about £2.00 each.

This time I watched Thriller, which was AMAZING! More than an actual plot, the fil rouge of the musical was a chronological excursus of the artist’s career, from Jackson 5’s ABC to  Michael’s greatest hits, leaving out his private life. I was actually a bit disappointed by the lack of a narrative plot and expected at least a little insight on  Michael’s controversial life, but an exceptional casting made up for it. On top of amazing feature dancers, the leading performers either sang exactly like him (similar voice and the the ability to  give intense emotions to the audience) or danced like him. In particular, there was a guy who moved EXACTLY like Michael and he performed both Smooth Criminal and Thriller.

The interview itself went well, although it was only the first step to of a more complex selection process, which encompassed a 2 week training in Madrid for all those who had passed the interview. I thought about it thoroughly, slept over it for a couple of nights, and wrote pros and cons of each scenario. Can’t really explain it all here, but I concluded that my current tasks – finishing my master and reaching a good level of French – are my priorities now and the desire of taking a chance on New Zealand in January is stronger than this job offer. Strict timing, as well as costs, affected my decision too. Conclusion: I’m staying here until the end of November, with or without a job.

I am serene.

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