Thursday, 24 October 2013

Being an English Language Assistant (ELA)

At the moment I am working in social science classes (Geography and History) and English classes for a variety of ages. The social science classes are taught in Spanish, but the textbooks are in English because the school is multilingual. In these classes I read the textbook aloud for the pupils to hear the correct pronunciation and help them with any words they don't understand. As the lesson is taught Spanish I do struggle to understand sometimes, but the pupils speak English very well as most of them have been learning it since they were three years old. The majority of pupils seem very well behaved, especially compared to the UK, although I was told that I have been put into the higher level classes, which tend to have the best behaviour and that bad behaviour does exist within the school. I am hoping that as the lessons progress perhaps I may be able to organise some activities for these classes, because as a student of International Development Studies I feel that I have a fairly good knowledge of these subjects.

When I tell people what I am studying, most people don't know what it is and for some reason jump to the conclusion that I study Business, which is almost the opposite of what I actually study. International Development is the study of the development of greater quality of life for humans, particularly those in third world countries. This therefore includes foreign aid, governance, health care, education, poverty reduction, gender equality, disaster preparedness, infrastructure, economics, human rights, environment and issues associated with these. I believe the majority of businesses are solely profit orientated, whereas International Development is people orientated and critiques businesses for being profit orientated and consequently lacking corporate social responsibility.


I only teach social science classes on Mondays and Tuesdays and I always look forward to Wednesdays, when I also teach English. The teachers in the English classes have allowed me to plan and conduct my own lessons, which felt very daunting. However, through planning thoroughly and trying to organise a variety of activities to keep the pupils focused throughout the lesson, I haven't been too nervous and the lessons seem to go by really quickly. For example, I start with a summary worksheet about the topic, follow up with an individual worksheet such as filling the gaps or crosswords and finish with a group activity such as giving each pupil a piece of paper with a question or answer and they have to find their matching pair. One of my colleagues said she has been teacher training for 6 years and has never seen someone make their own worksheets! However, organising this for each class is very time consuming and I can understand why teachers wouldn't do this very often.


I am learning how incredibly frustrating it is when you've spent a long time trying to prepare a lesson that is both fun and effective for their learning and the pupils in the class can't be bothered to do the activity or start doing homework for another class in your lesson, both of which have happened to me. I must say that generally most pupils engage and seem to enjoy my lessons. However, Jack, the other English Language Assistant (ELA) at my school seems to have gotten himself a fan club of teenage pupils who demand for him in every class and ask me for his personal contact details!


The sizes of the classes in which I teach vary, the smallest being around 20 pupils and the biggest 36 pupils. I couldn't believe it when I walked into the classroom and saw 36 pairs of eyes looking back at me. The room was so full of desks that its almost impossible to get to the blackboard and even more impossible to try and keep an orderly classroom! Today some of the teachers have gone on strike and when I asked why, I was told the Spanish government are planning cuts in education due to its budget deficit and with Melilla only having 127 teachers and classes as big as 36, I can understand why people would want to strike.


There is a British centre and an adult learning centre in Melilla and English is probably one of the most popular languages to learn, therefore there are many English teachers. Whilst socialising with some of the other ELAs I have met some other teachers who are native speakers of English and after hearing how well they have picked up Spanish here, I am hopeful that I will be able to do the same. One of the teachers at the school has asked if I want to do adult English classes outside of school, which would give me the opportunity to obtain another perspective of teaching and earn myself some extra money. I am already doing private classes for 2 adults and two 7 year old twins and its interesting to see the different ways in which people want to be taught. Someone people just like to sit and have a conversation and others like to use books and study grammar (although I can't really say that I know much about the complexities of the grammar of my native language!)


I definitely know that I want my future career to contribute to society, improve the world's quality of life and challenge people's thoughts, but at the moment I don't feel that I can be more specific than that. I've really enjoyed my teaching experience so far, so maybe that could be the answer.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Exploring Melilla and Morocco

On the Sunday before last I went to church feeling nervous about my ability to understand and communicate. I arrived early, leaving myself plenty of time in case I got lost. This time I didn't get lost though and I arrived at church a few minutes before 11am just in time for the service. I was actually the first to arrive except the pastor and his wife, who reminded me that the Spanish idea of punctuality is very different to that of the English (the Spanish are always late). People gradually arrived and I probably kissed half of the congregation (a kiss on each cheek is the normal Spanish greeting for women) and everyone was friendly and patient with my Spanish. I managed to understand a little bit, but listening to most people speak here is usually too fast to comprehend. I hope by the end of these 8 months I will be able to understand and speak a lot better.

The church has a meal on the first Sunday of every month, which I wasn't expecting and hadn't brought anything. I investigated the food and realised that as a vegetarian, there wasn't really anything I could eat. I felt bad didn't want to seem rude or make a fuss, but someone kindly took me to a nearby shop and help me find a vegetarian option. I don't think people here really understand vegetarianism and people seemed to think I was a vegan, which would be even more of a nightmare. The Spanish certainly like their meat, especially in this part of the world, and even at restaurants when I order food which I expect to be vegetarian, it usually includes some kind of meat of fish. Its very frustrating and I'm learning to live on eggs, cheese (which, after eating British cheddar, isn't the best in the world) and salad. Hopefully this will help me to lose some weight!


After church I decided I wanted to explore the area, as the church was located uphill on the other side of town, quite close to Melilla la Vieja (Old Melilla, the fortress north of the port). I got a bit lost and had to climb up and down the hill to get there, but it was definitely worth it. I couldn't find the entrance to get into the fortress, so I'm hoping to visit again on another day and look inside.





Church of the sacred heart 
(this isn't the one I went to)




A view across Melilla with Moroccan 
mountains in the distance




Melilla la Vieja


On Monday I went into school to attend the English department meeting and received my timetable. I'm only working 12 hours a week and the school kindly scheduled my hours for Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Jack's for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday so we could both have 4 day weekends, which I hope to spend travelling, exercising and improving my Spanish.


What I do each class really depends on the teacher. On Monday I was reading aloud to the class so they could hear native English pronunciation. On Wednesday I was asking the class questions about the book they were reading and helping them to prepare their group speaking activities. One of my Wednesday classes has asked me to prepare the whole class for next week, which I'm excited and nervous about! I think Spanish schools are quite laid back and don't always use thorough lesson plans, so I should be fine. I've been put into some History and Geography classes which are taught in Spanish but have English textbooks (the school is multilingual), which should be interesting as I am a student of International Development. At the moment I haven't been working my full hours because I think the school are still trying to schedule my classes and my timetable has been changed, but hopefully soon I'll get into the routine of things and start knowing where classes are and start learning students' names.





4 day weekends!



Many people have approached me asking for private English lessons, mostly conversational, which I am doing to earn some extra money, as for some reason or other I won't get paid until December, which might cause some difficulties. I currently have 3 hours of private lessons per week, two with the head of the English department's 7 year old twins (who are very sweet) and one with an English teacher. I think I will be starting an extra hour next week with another teacher and I'm trying to charge around 10 euros for me to meet people somewhere that is easily accessible to me and 15 euros for places that aren't so accessible, such as people's houses. With so many people approaching me about private classes, not having a Spanish number that works is making them difficult to organise. My provider in the UK is Vodafone and I assumed that my phone would be compatible with the Spanish Vodafone. After buying a Spanish SIM card, I found out that it isn't. I've also damaged my phone, so it is no longer fully functional (but usable) and for this reason I'm thinking twice about paying £20 to unlock it so I can use my Spanish SIM. Whilst organising insurance I thought I would need to obtain the proof of purchase for my phone from the store I bought it from, which was in Chester. As you can imagine, I'm probably not going to get the proof of purchase any time soon. However, the insurance company has accepted my claim and I think its best to wait until I return to the UK to buy a new one.

My flatmate Laura came back on Friday and it's nice not to be living alone any more. We seem to be getting on really well. I didn't get to spend much time with her because at the weekend I went to a city called Fes Morocco with 2 other English Language Assistants and a girl who works in the British centre here. We met at 7am on Saturday and walked to the border, which is only about 10 minutes from my flat. I haven't been outside Europe since I went to America when I was 11 and I certainly haven't walked across a border (except the border between England and Wales) and so walking through the border and having my passport stamped was quite an exciting experience for me.





My first stamp in my passport


It felt a bit strange walking across a border to another country with different languages, culture and food. We got a taxi to Nador station and had a Moroccan breakfast, which consisted of bread, jam and cream cheese which was simple but nice. A return from Nador to Fes only cost 200 dirhams (20 euros!) per person. I have never been on a train like the Moroccan ones before because it doesn't have rows of seats, but compartments with seats inside. This is bad because there isn't much space to sit, but good if you want some privacy. However, we were sharing with some Moroccan women and their small children, who were sweet at first but incredibly irritating later when I kept being woken up by screaming. Some of the windows were also broken and the toilet was incredibly close to overflowing, so it wasn't the best journey but I'm sure there's worse in the world. Although the train journey was 5 hours, it was amazing to look out the window at the dry landscape and Moroccan architecture. Once we arrived we took a taxi to Bab Bou Jeloud. There weren't many traffic lights, the driver went quite fast and there weren't any seat belts in the car so it didn't feel particularly safe! We found 2 rooms for the 4 of us in a hotel for 125 dirhams (12.50 euros!) each. Things are incredibly cheap in Morocco and although the standard of living isn't particularly high, most people seem to manage to get by without many difficulties. After leaving our stuff at the hotel, we had Moroccan couscous at a cafe for dinner and went to explore the ruins of the Merenid tomb. I didn't sleep particularly well that night because there are approximately 360 mosques in Fes and they all have loudspeakers outside them for some kind of Muslim prayer announcement, one of which was in the early hours of the morning!


Moroccan dirhams (only a third are mine!)



Bab Bou Jeloud (The Blue Gate) of Fes



Moroccan vegetable couscous



Ruins of the Merenid tombs




Ruins of the Merenid tombs



Goats and sheep suddenly emerged


The next day we had another Moroccan breakfast of bread, honey and jam on the hotel terrace where we could see amazing views of the whole city. We checked out of the hotel and found a tour guide in the city who was of Berber origin: the ethnic group indigenous to North Africa west of the Nile Valley. He had moved to Fes and taught himself many languages and spoke very good English. We went into the medina (old city) and saw all the markets selling many different things, especially shoes and scarves. There seemed to be more scarves than Moroccans! Cars can't go in the medina so people were using donkeys, horses, carts and sometimes mopeds or motorbikes. The guide seemed to know lots of the locals, so we were able to go inside some houses, hotels and restaurants with really beautiful Moroccan architecture, many of which were much prettier on the inside than the outside. We were also able to see some of the local businesses, including some leather tanneries, a bakery, carpentry, art and wedding decorations workshops and dressmaking. The guide then took us to a restaurant afterwards where I had my second (and best) Moroccan couscous. Finally we saw a Berber rug making shop where rugs were woven by hand. The tour only cost 200 dirhams (20 euros) between the 4 of us for 4 hours!




The view from the hotel terrace




A mosque



Inside the mosque











A really beautiful house


Intricate Moroccan artwork in the making




The best couscous!




Moroccan green tea with mint




Wedding decorations




More mosques


Rug weaving


We continued to explore the medina until dinner time and we had something to eat. I had a 3 course meal, which included a Moroccan salad, fried aubergines and courgettes and for dessert kaab el ghzal (gazelle's horns), a pastry stuffed with almond paste and topped with sugar and halwa shebakia, which is pretzel-shaped dough deep-fried, dipped into a hot pot of honey and sprinkled with sesame seeds. For the whole meal it cost me just 50 dirhams (5 euros)! We then took a taxi to the station and at 12am we had our 5 train hour journey back to Beni Ensar, the closest city to the border with Melilla. The journey was relatively quiet and I managed to get some sleep on the floor! I got back to the flat at about 8am (Northern Morocco is 1 hour behind Melilla and so is in the same time zone as the UK) and slept for 1 hour before getting up and going to work!




My second stamp!


Before I went to Morocco, I wasn't really sure what to expect. I was expecting poverty to be more prominent than it was. Of course there seemed to be poor areas and beggars but I guess you can find those most places in the world. I don't think my photos accurately reflect the standard of living in Morocco, because we mostly only saw the tourist areas. As with many places, there are developed areas within underdeveloped areas. I'm sure if I travelled to other cities it would be different, but for the most part, it wasn't that bad.


Yesterday was a public holiday in Melilla because it is Eid al-Adha, an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims to honour the willingness of the prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his young first-born son Ismail (Ishmael) during which they sacrifice a sheep. Sadly, due to this festival I saw many sheep in Morocco being carted to their deaths. I seem to have a lot of holidays because Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Hinduism are all prominent in Melilla, which makes it very interesting culturally. As I couldn't go to work, I went to the beach with Laura and her friends, swam in the sea and got thoroughly burnt.


Today I did my first lesson alone (with supervision from the teacher) and I felt like it went better than expected. I used the newspapers and magazines that I had brought with me and taught the children about English culture. I've been asked to prepare a lesson about English literature for next week and I'm hoping that will go well. Today is the end of my working week and I now have my 4 day weekend!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Dealing with Spanish bureaucracy

Jack and I went into school on Wednesday and had a quick meeting with some of the English teachers at a local cafe. They said that one of us will be teaching in English classes and the other in history classes, which are in English, as the school is bilingual. They said they will give us our timetables and will try their best to give one of us Monday and Tuesday off and the other Thursday and Friday off, which will be fantastic if we want to travel around a bit.

Then we went home early and I was planning to go to bank to pay the fee to get my NIE, but when I got there they said something I didn't understand, showed me a form and gave me a piece of paper with the number 790 on it. In my desperation I posted a photo of the piece of paper on the British Language Assistants' Facebook group and someone said I need to get the 790 form to take the bank in order to pay the fee. I had no idea where to get the form and ended up in the police station, where they told me to go to the migrant office to get the form. Due to shorter Spanish working days, the migrant office was now closed. I then broke down crying at the idea of another ridiculous queue to get a form that I should have been given in the first place, going to the bank to pay the fee and then returning to the migrant office to queue yet again in order to receive the NIE. The deadline for sending my NIE and bank details to the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport was Friday 4th October in order to receive my payments and I had no idea how I was going to get everything sorted in time. The situation seemed hopeless and I felt like giving up. We had already been told that we may not receive our payments until December, but luckily I worked for the entire summer and have a considerable amount of money saved up.


In some ways I love how laid back the Spanish are because they are very understanding if you need a day off and we were given Thursday off, as we needed to go to the migrant office to get the NIE. In other ways it can be incredibly frustrating when you're trying to get something done. We got to the migrant office early and asked for the form, but were given ticket numbers and sent straight into the waiting room and I was preparing myself for another long wait. However, they called us in first and gave us the forms, so we were able to go straight to the bank to pay the fee and I then went to BBVA to open my bank account. I also managed to get to the tourist information centre and the pharmacy to ask for cream for my mosquito bites and a mosquito repelling bracelet. I felt that this day had been successful and was relieved to have sorted everything in time for the deadline.





The morning sunrise on the way to the migrant office


On Friday we had our first classes. I was quite nervous and wasn't really sure what to expect. I arrived at the beginning of the school day and really enjoyed the first class of 14-15 year old students. I was told to introduce myself and answer questions from the children, which included my age, my siblings and whether I have a boyfriend! The class seemed engaged in the activities and their English was at a good level considering their age. I was mostly observing the class, but the teacher sometimes asked me to read aloud so they could hear a native accent and I also commented on their performance, as they were doing restaurant role plays. The second class was similar, although there were more pupils and they messed around a lot. I think they were either younger or the lower set. They were still fairly friendly and the teacher said I could organise activities for them in the future, which I'm looking forward to because I brought lots of English things with me for them to see and try, including newspapers, magazines, train and bus timetables and tickets, leaflets, photos, postcards, tea bags, sweets, shortbread, mince pies, a Christmas cracker and a Christmas pudding (which all took up a considerable amount of space in my suitcase)!


I was only in the school for the first 2 lessons and nobody else needed me, so I had some free time. I went to the post office and got my ticket number for the queue. I had previously been in the post office, waited 30 minutes and been nowhere near to having my number called. Whilst at the post office I saw someone take their number then leave, so then went to the Vodafone store and the supermarket, returned to the post office an hour later and still had to wait half an hour before my number was called. I hope whoever receives post from me appreciates it!


I then went with Jack to meet the head of English in the city centre (by which time my feet were hurting considerably from walking up and down the hill to and from school and around the shops). She told me I have to be in on Monday at 10:30 for the English department meeting and she asked me to do private classes twice a week with her for her twin children (she says its easier for the twins to have a teacher each), who are 7 years old, which should be sweet and will help with the money situation. I may be doing more private lessons and also helping out during teacher training courses, which will fill my free time. I'm looking for a bike to save me walking long distances and the head of English said she knows someone who can sell me a second hand bike for 40 euros, which is pretty good and then I can sell it again when I leave. I don't want anything expensive because I won't be here for that long.


I felt like going out to celebrate my achievements over the past week, so I went out with the other assistants for a few drinks and then we found a club at near the port, which was small but still pretty good and we got talking to some locals. The Spanish daily routine, especially eating, is a lot different to that in the UK: they eat a big breakfast, a snack around 12pm, lunch around 3pm and dinner around 10pm. Therefore, if they're going out its usually quite late and bars seem quite flexible about what time they close, depending on the bar. I ended up coming home around 7am, so today I've been resting as I'm also pretty tired from the events of the week! I also think I've got a cold or something because I have a sore throat and the sniffles, even though that seems a bit strange in 30+ degrees heat. I don't have any plans for the rest of the weekend, but I'm really keen to make some Spanish friends so I think I might go to church on Sunday, although the idea of being a stranger and trying to understand everybody is a little bit scary. I want to see the other side of the city because from what I can see it looks quite historical  Maybe I'll see it tomorrow, because the church I might go to is over that side of town. I'll see what happens!

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Settling in

I arrived in Madrid with Ruxi and Amy on Thursday afternoon. I didn't get off to a great start, as I had some issues with luggage. I had found it somewhat difficult to pack everything I needed and keep to the 20 kilogrammes suitcase allowance. There wasn't a weight restriction for the hand luggage, so I crammed 13 kilogrammes of luggage into a bag that was the right measurements and hoped for the best. I had no problems until boarding the flight, at which point the attendant complained that my bag, unsurprisingly, wouldn’t fit into the measurement cage. Despite her angry temperament she was sympathetic and said she would put my over sized hang luggage into the plane's hold with my suitcase without extra charge. I was fairly concerned what the state of my ghd hair straighteners inside my hand luggage would be after the flight or whether my hand luggage would appear at all, but it appeared intact alongside my suitcase when we arrived.




Celebrating exactly 20 kilogrammes!


We then met up with a group of other Language Assistants and went on what we thought would be a simple bus journey. However, we missed our stop and ended up taking the metro (underground train), which wasn't the easiest choice due to carrying my total of 33kg of luggage whilst climbing up and down steps, as most stations seemed to lack lifts. After realising I had left one of my favourite jumpers in the overhead cabins on the plane and opening my suitcase in the middle of the street to find a map, we finally made it to Hotel Convención despite being too late for the evening seminars.

Whilst checking into the hotel the receptionist told me they were expecting me to be a man. I'm not sure if this was because I'd filled in a form incorrectly or if my name sounded male to Spaniards, but I had to be given another room because all assistants were sharing. Then my room card wouldn't work, at which point I just felt like giving up. However, I managed to get my room card sorted out and my mood improved significantly after a buffet dinner. I was keen to experience Spanish night life, but simply didn't have the energy after the events of the day.

Friday consisted of seminars about our role as Language Assistants and instructions on preparations when we arrive at our cities. I found a lot of the information difficult to understand, depending on the speaker's accent and speed. I managed to find some of the English assistants who were going to Melilla and met lots of other people going to different places. The hotel was inclusive of all meals so I was able to try a lot of Spanish cuisine, including Spanish omelette, olives and different salads. Spanish olives are the best I've ever tasted!


We checked out of the hotel on Saturday morning, and then went back down to the depths of the metro in search of a hostel with some of Ruxi's friends. Just under an hour later we arrived at a hostel, which to our dismay had no rooms left. We were then given directions to the nearest hostel and finally found a free room. After the relief of putting down our luggage, we set out into the city to see some landmarks. 





The senate




The royal palace








Bank of Spain




Jeronimos church




Alcalá gate


Ruxi had an early flight the next morning so we tried to have an early night, despite a rock concert across the street and a drum and bass rave downstairs. I managed to get a decent sleep after Ruxi had left; the hostel was actually the best I have stayed in so far. We had a twin room, whereas the hostel rooms I had been in before had had over 10 beds, which wasn’t always the best experience. Later that morning I left in plenty of time because I wasn’t entirely sure how long it would take me to get to the airport. I dragged my luggage down into the metro once more and I could tell that people were looking and probably wondering how on earth I got in down there. I have to say my arm muscles are aching considerably and I have quite a few bruises on my arms legs, but I refused to pay more than 30 euros for a taxi to the airport.

Life lesson: don't take luggage 
into the Madrid metro


After several laps of the Plaza de Cibeles roundabout, I eventually found the bus stop and somehow arrived at the airport 4 hours before my departure. I was thankful that my suitcase allowance was 23 kilogrammes for the second flight, so to the amusement of other passengers, I opened my suitcase at the check in area, layered up with some extra clothes that were in no way colour coordinated and stuffed some of my hand luggage into my suitcase in order to avoid another angry flight attendant.

I arrived in Melilla in the early evening and it felt very disorientating when the plane descended over the sea! The sky was clear, the sun was shining and as I stepped out of the plane I felt the heat hit me and realised I had probably packed a few too many jumpers. My rather large hand luggage had been placed on in the hold whilst boarding the plane and for some reason the hand luggage was unloaded onto the runway for passengers whilst another plane landed! Going into the airport to collect my suitcase from the carousel then seemed a bit pointless.




Through being given the contact details of a friend of a friend of one of my English Language Assistant predecessors in Melilla, I was lucky enough to be able organise accommodation before arriving. I was careful and asked for some photos of the flat beforehand and had several conversations with my future house mate, Laura. From seeing the photos and speaking to Laura, I felt like I would be happy living there. It is a 2 person apartment which is 40 metres from the beach and only 300 euros a month! It's quite a lot compared to the rest of Spain (maybe because this city isn't particularly big) but not much compared to the previous accommodation that I've had in the UK! Due to the flight I hadn't checked my text messages for a few hours and to my surprise, a friend of Laura (who is away on holiday) arrived at the airport with another friend to pick me up, take me to my flat and show me around. Laura left me a letter with instructions for the flat, which included a warning not to drink the tap water in Melilla. I thought maybe people are just fussy here, so I tried some for the first and last time. It tastes like sea water, so I have to go to the shop to buy large bottles of water. Perhaps this is the result of being located on a third world continent.

The view of the sea from my 
living room






















A terrace area next to the kitchen 
where I hang my washing


After looking around the flat and finally unpacking my suitcase, I had a 30 minute walk to the city centre to meet up with some of the other assistants for a Chinese meal and drinks at a bar on the beach! I can't wait for people to visit me so I can take them there. Melilla is almost as beautiful at night as it is during the daytime. However, I think the mosquitoes mostly come out at night because I keep waking up covered in bites. Apparently you can get a mosquito repelling wrist band that lasts around 3 months for 5 euros, which I may have investigate at the pharmacy.











I couldn't be very productive yesterday, because we went to the migrant office to register for an NIE (migrant identity number) and they told us we needed to come back at 9am the next day. I need the NIE to open a bank account, so I had no choice but to relax for the rest of the day! We went out to a restaurant for lunch and I couldn't understand everything on the menu, so I ordered a three cheese salad that I thought would be vegetarian, which turned out to include tuna and I have now learnt my lesson to ask if the meal is vegetarian next time. I then went in search of a shop for mobiles with Siobhan, another assistant from Scotland. We came to realise that the Spanish really do take their siestas seriously, because many shops have strange opening times, including the Vodafone store, which is open 10:00-13:30 and 17:30-20:30 and so we couldn't get a Spanish phone either. We then gave up with productivity and procrastinated on the beach.




















Today I arrived at the migrant office just before 9am and the queue was already huge. I had to take a ticket number and it didn't get called up until 12pm! As the city isn't that big I foolishly wasn't expecting to have to wait very long, but as a European city surrounded by Morocco, undoubtedly it was very busy. The person I was talking to spoke incredibly fast and I couldn't understand, so I asked him to speak more slowly. He continued to speak incomprehensibly quickly and to my dismay he had to find someone who could speak English so we could communicate. Eventually I was told that the EX-15 form I had brought was wrong, so they gave me an EX-18 instead, stamped it and told to take it to the bank to pay a fee and return to the migrant office on Thursday to receive my NIE, which I have to say I'm not looking forward to. I then went with Jack, another assistant working at my school, to find our school a lot later than anticipated, which unfortunately is located a considerable climb up the mountains which more or less act as a border between Melilla and Morocco.





We met some of the staff at the school, were given a tour and will return tomorrow morning to meet the head of English. I earn 700 euros a month and I'm only working 12 hours a week! This is incredible compared to the amount I got paid and the amount of hours I worked in a pub kitchen over the summer. I will have a lot of free time, but I want to use it productively, improve my Spanish, travel and earn some extra money, perhaps through private lessons. I'm currently sat at home recovering from the walk in and out of town and up and down the hill, but I may go and take advantage of Vodafone's strange opening hours and try to buy a Spanish phone this evening.