Several of you have been emailing and asking exactly what I am doing. Well after being CEO at Lifeline Top End I am now teaching English as a second language. This is not a complete surprise for those who know me. It’s been something I’ve been working on for about 3 years now which has included doing Cert IV, private clients in Darwin as well as working as a volunteer with asylum seekers and refugees (yes, while I had my regular job). I have 2 conversation classes, 1 business English class, one class of teenagers who come in twice a week, a class of advanced English students once a week and a class of uni students once a week, and the rest are two different levels of English all preparing to do the Trinity College exams that come in twice a week for sessions of 2 hours each. My class has several Manuel’s and lots of Maria’s but thankfully they all have their own nicknames so it makes life easier – and no, the Manuel’s are not like the one in Fawlty Towers!
I have formal Spanish lessons starting Thursday and thus far have managed to get by with rusty memory of school days lessons and Italian words hoping I get a hit! So far no great disasters apart from the extra bread rolls I mentioned last update. Have managed photocopying, domestic tasks (with lots of hand gestures to help along the comprehension) and shopping.
Today I tackled social security which was the biggest challenge! All the paperwork that I had to fill in was in Spanish but you have to go to Social Security to get a number that goes on your work contract. Next, I have to go to Seville to the police to get a Spanish ID card. That cannot happen till I get my Social Security number, then when I have the ID card I go back to Social Security again for them to note it down.
Yes, it’s a bit of to-ing and fro-ing but everyone is extremely pleasant to deal with and it’s the system. I just go with the flow – take a number, go have a coffee across the road, come back and check what number they are up to, go to the supermarket, come back again and check the numbers – you get the idea.
On the whole life in Spain is very pleasant. Work days are most civilized with a start of 10am every day except Thursday when it is 9. Long siesta break from 12 till 4 (just about everything shuts) then a few more hours work in the evening. It’s totally different to Australian work practices and I know it could drive some folks nuts but it’s working for me. Sunday is also a day when everything is shut so you have to get organised and do your grocery shopping in advance – none of the 7 day a week trading nonsense/convenience depending on which way you choose to look at it!
The only thing that is a little hard to get used to is the fact that the church bells ring through the night – yep, every hour! I must admit I must be getting accustomed to the sound as now I only hear them about twice a night. Give me another week and I reckon I might be able to sleep through them all night 🙂
Why did I decide to make this change of career is another question several of you asked. Promise I will answer that one in my next blog.