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The Madrid Diaries: A Week in the Life of a Language Assistant

In my previous post, ‘With Every Negative Comes a Positive’, I gave a little insight into the reality of living abroad. Following that, I thought I’d share a week in my life, delving deeper into the reality of working as a language assistant.

I was debating whether to upload this. Of course, I would choose the week in which I have zero plans so this has probably wound up to be the most uneventful, and therefore, most uninteresting blog post yet. Nonetheless, I wanted to share my routine while working as a language assistant. It’s more than the 16-hour job which you anticipate it to be. From early mornings and long commutes to meal prepping and lesson planning, the routine can get tedious.

However, for those who are considering the language assistant route in the future, or for anyone who, like me, loves having a good nose, here was my uneventful week:

Monday, 12th November

Oh, Monday, what a joy you were as always. I normally wake up naturally, but my alarm alerted me awake from my slumber. In the usual morning daze, I woke up confused as to what day it was. Monday, right, the early start.

I rolled out of bed, thanked my Sunday-self for prepping some overnight oats and left for my hour and a half morning commute. One thing which made the morning slightly less miserable was listening to Rhiannon Lambert’s new podcast. This boosted my mood during my 20-minute walk from the station surrounded by the pink blush of sunrise as the abyss of the early morning sky begins to fade.

It was like any other day really; younger students more attentive than others while I teach them how to ask for directions, the older ones squeal over a video of Fearne McCann eating a live spider on ‘I’m a Celeb’ during my British TV Lesson, and in music class I, the B grade GCSE music student, taught a lesson on the qualities of sound.

I spent my two-hour long break wading through Wikipedia doing my research on Thanksgiving and watching that clip from Friends when Joey has a turkey stuck on his head. This was followed by the episode where Brad Pitt comes to Thanksgiving dinner. It’s a ride.

Image result for turkey stuck on head gif

As soon as my growling stomach and I returned home, Sunday night’s chilli was shoved straight in the microwave, followed by an hour lost to catching up on emails, social media and general aimless scrolling.

After an hour of work, the 5 am wake up undoubtedly left me exhausted. The evening solely consisted of snacking on a bowl of cereal and an early night.

Tuesday, 13th November

I don’t start teaching until midday on Tuesdays, but I kicked the day off with an early morning workout nonetheless. The later start also meant I could spend more time on breakfast, i.e. my favourite time of day. Besides tragically dropping half of it on the floor, what I had of my French Toast was delicious.

I stopped off at the bank before trekking to work. After nearly two months of waiting, I finally received my Spanish bank card. My money only goes towards food really anyway, but at least now I can actually spend my wages.

After a slow three hours of teaching, I spent the evening meal prepping my meals for the dreaded long Wednesday. Then, getting in the festive spirit, I tried to concoct ideas of what my parents possibly want for Christmas. I am the worst at Christmas shopping.

Not a lot more to report really. This is looking out to be a wild week so far.

Wednesday 14th November

Wednesday was mostly spent wishing I was home celebrating my brother’s 18 birthday (or just enjoying his birthday cake). But seriously, how is my LITTLE brother 18? Like, an adult? He’s already a solid head taller than me, but I can’t help but reminisce on the days we played Pokemon on the landing or sported matching white polo shirts with Dora the explorer iron on stickers.

But back to adult life, Wednesday are the longest days of the week. I wake up at five and return home 12 hours later. To my delight, some students were striking today. Of course, only my first and last period students were not taking part. Yep, I pretty much had a five-hour break spent in a box, otherwise known as the English department office. I would have got some work done if it weren’t for the Internet deciding to play up halfway through the day.

After another microwaved meal straight from the freezer, I had a little Primark shop. I initially intended to buy an umbrella, the previous days’ winds practically destroying my other one. However, I came out with a new black skirt, a water bottle, and I couldn’t resist buying a festively decorated tube of mini rolos.

Thursday, 15th November

Honestly, Thursday wasn’t a good day.

It was my final day of teaching before the long weekend. However, my patience was running thin while students refused to pay attention or interact with anything I asked them. This was followed by another hour of trying to maintain the attention of an entire class of 11-year-olds. It all got a bit much. Basically, panic took over and I went home at lunch.

Some days are easier than others. Weeks of incessant lesson planning and trying to control and entertain a classroom (with no prior experience) is taking its toll. It’s not easy. But, I went home, forgot about teaching, and after tearing up at the new John Lewis Christmas advert, switched off from social media by reading a good book from start to finish. For any fellow bookworms, it was ‘Outside’ by Sarah Ann Juckes – so good!

Friday, 16th November

Do you ever wake up after a day of feeling miserable and feel kind of pathetic, or as if it was all for nothing? Part of it was probably down to being relieved it was a Friday.

I should have pushed lesson prep to the side. However, I wanted to finish off everything for the upcoming week so I could relish in my three days of freedom. I did, however, decide to go to the cinema with the intention of cheering myself up after Thursday’s antics – I came out bawling. Bohemian Rhapsody was amazing. Yes, maybe not the happiest of endings to raise my spirits, but if you only do one thing this week, go see that film.

With Queen’s entire discography as a backtrack, I spent the rest of my Friday writing a few book reviews and generally dawdling around.

Saturday, 17th November

I said it. This will wind up being the most uninteresting blog post to date.

After a morning workout, I popped to Mercadona for my weekly shop. I walked in with the intention of just picking up a few weekly essentials. I walked out with smoked salmon, guacamole and a fridge full of food I now need to get through (shouldn’t be difficult by any means). Does anyone else just love food shopping? God I’m dull.

I had a leisurely Saturday planning meals for the week, compiling a list of books I want to read from my Goodreads TBR shelf and started watching Killing Eve after finishing up the second season of The Sinner which I absolutely loved.

Sunday, 18th November

Sometimes I feel as if I should be exploring Madrid at every given opportunity. However, sometimes I just want to take it slow. I had a wander around the Puerta del Sol and noticed they had their Christmas tree up! It’s not being lit until the 23rd November but it made my Christmas-crazed self all excited anyway. Returning to the flat, I swapped my jeans for my pyjama bottoms and finished up this blog post. Also, I always crave a Sunday roast once it hits the afternoon, my chicken and frozen veg a disappointment in comparison.

So, as predicted, this was the most uneventful week. Nonetheless, I hope to have shown that your year abroad isn’t always going to be full of exotic food and trips away. I completely romanticised this year before arriving. The reality is, after standing up in front of four different classes full of thirty kids who can’t stop talking, I’m too exhausted to do much else. Yes, this week was a dull one in comparison to others, but I can’t say I’m sipping on Sangria and delving into the Spanish cuisine all too often.

If anything, this blog post has made me realise that perhaps I’m not making the most of the experience, letting my stress, homesickness and anxiety dominate my time here. But anyway, that was my week! If you managed to get through it all, you deserve an extra chocolate orange this Christmas.

Thanks for reading!

Evie.

20 Comments

  1. Chloe Elizabeth Chloe Elizabeth

    Gosh, Madrid looks so pretty! This post wasn’t boring in the slightest and I really enjoyed it. I hope you are enjoying your time! xx

    https://www.chloexlizabeth.com

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      It’s such a gorgeous city! Thank you ✨

  2. Loved reading about how your week went – even though you said it’s uninteresting, I loved hearing about the little things! Not every week can be exciting so definitely take your time because anxiety and home sickness can be really hard. Maybe you can make a little list of things you’d like to do before your time there is up (: a list of achievable, small things that you like the sound of but with no pressure attached. Thanks for sharing your week with us! x

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Ah thank you! That’s a great idea! I definitely do want to see/do more while I’m here, but yeah taking it slow is the way forward. Thanks for reading ✨ xx

  3. I always enjoy your adventures in Spain and teaching! Not everything can be crazy, wild fun or we’d never have time to recharge and just breath 🙂 Great pics as always!

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Ah thank you so much! Yeah so true, taking it slow sometimes is just what’s best 🤷‍♀️ thanks for reading x

  4. I really enjoyed your post! And Madrid looks so lovely! ‘Walked out with a fridge full of food’ hahaha that made me laugh.
    Anna x (One half of the Cinnamon Buns and Roses Blog)

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Hahaha can never say no to good food 😂 thank you so much! X

  5. This honesly wasn’t boring at all my lovely, I loved it! It is so interesting to see what people do on a daily basis and not only that you were so honest. I can’t imagine how tough it must have been to be away from your family on your brothers birthday but you’re doing an amazing thing!

    Love, Amie ❤
    The Curvaceous Vegan

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Ah thank you so much! Yeah homesickness is hitting me hard, but trying not to let it get to me! Thank you for reading 💖

  6. Your job is honestly amazing! I love the fact you get to see so much more of the world living abroad. Your uneventful week has been 10 times more exciting that mine!

    I really enjoyed this post, thanks for sharing (:

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      It can be so stressful at times but is such an amazing experience! Thank you so much! ✨ xx

  7. Loved reading this! And the pictures you took are stunning! 😍 Thanks for a great read! 🙂 x

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Ah thank you so much! 💖

  8. I enjoyed reading this and your photos are lovely (I need that avocado cushion!)
    I was a language assistant last year and fully understand the pressure of feeling like you should be exploring at every moment, but the yeat really taught me about listening to myself and taking time to relax. To be honest I was still a bit homesick / overwhelmed right until Christmas, but as soon as I went back in January everythìng seemed so much more comfortable.
    I really hope you enjoy the rest of your time there! X

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Ah thank you! That’s great to hear! I never thought I would have been this homesick, but hopefully it’ll pass. Thanks for reading! X

  9. Wow, I loved this post. I loved hearing how your week went, it is so interesting. Living in Madrid sounds like such an amazing thing to do; although I can imagine there are times when you get home sick because I certainly would!! Still, I loved this post and I look forward to reading more about your experience in Madrid 🙂
    Abbs xo
    http://www.itsjustabbsxo.wordpress.com

    • eviejayne eviejayne

      Yeah it’s such an incredible city! I’m home sick all of the timee, but not long until I can go home for Christmas now. Thank you so much x

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