Blair

Blair
Age: 27

Hometown: Winnsboro, South Carolina

School/Major: I studied undergrad at Clemson University and majored in Spanish and International Trade. I went to grad school for French Studies and Poly-Sci at NYU and Sciences-Po.

What I was doing before I moved to the island: I had just spent a year doing the same program in Digne-les-Bains, France.

Schools I worked at: I worked at CEIP Son Verí, an elementary school in s’Arenal de Llumajor. 

First impressions of the island: I had traveled a lot prior to Mallorca, and had already lived in Europe for two years at that point, but when I was flying over the island from Barcelona, I thought “That friend of mine who advised me not to go to an island must have been stupid” and “Is this real life?”.

Living situation: I had no leads at all on housing when I got there so I booked 4-5 days in a hostel. I spent the first day looking for internet and looking up various options on loquo.com, the next two days I visited around, and then picked one and moved in the following day. I shared a flat with two Mallorquinas on Calle Nuredduna, yards from Corte Inglés and just feet away from the Avenidas, on the outer area, about 5-10 min walk from Plaça d’Espanya. The apartment wasn’t all that nice, but it was very cheap, very spacious, and had a huge balcony that had views of both the sea and the mountains. My roommates were fine and we had no problems at all, but we never hung out much. I had the desire to learn Catalan before I came, and so I thought having two housemates who spoke Catalan would be great. However, I didn’t speak Catalan well enough to converse until months in, and they only spoke to each other in Catalan, and after four months of hardly talking to them it was awkward to just change that when my Catalan had progressed enough to be able to.

Experience on the job: My job wasn’t the best. I worked mostly with only one teacher, born on the island to Scottish parents. She and I had no major issues, but we weren’t the best of friends. I will admit, though, I was wanting to work in a high school and I had no idea what to do with little kids. We taught art in English. I was more of an errand boy, making copies and organizing, stapling, basic prep work. It was boring. Towards the end of the year, the teacher had to be absent quite frequently and would then want me to substitute for her entirely, with no other teacher in the room, after having minimal contact with the students prior. Also, I was there right as the Spanish economy fell out, and the last few months I had issued getting paid – as in, there was no money to give me, and I just wouldn’t get a paycheck. I made sure I recouped what I had earned, sometimes weeks late, but I once had to go visit the consellería and complain to them. My experience was not the norm, however,  and most people seemed much more content at their schools. And mine really wasn’t all bad – I did sometimes get to have quite a lot of fun playing games with the kids!

What I did in my free time: I spent a lot of time exploring the island.  I would go out a good amount, but I’m not normally a huge partier. I made friends with other auxiliars just as curious as I was, but also with local Mallorquins that had cars and could take us around. I got a lot of nice insider information. Other than that, during the week, I tutored about four hours a week and would spend a good amount of time either watching TV or finding neat little cafés to read in.

Favorite drinkery:  I frequented various bars around the Ruta Martiana mostly (Ca Na Seu, for example), Paseo Marítimo was a bit out of the way for me.  And Can Joan de S’Aigó, of course – great café, great ensaïmadas. 

Favorite eatery: With my auxiliar friends, we would go to Sa Gavina EVERY single Friday afternoon for amazing, and cheap, paella with great service.  With my Spanish friends, we would often go to various Chinese restaurants or Al Andaluz (a bit far).  Celler Sa Premsa in Plaça dels Patins was a decent place for cheap, traditional food – mediocre quality, good for the price, not the best quality.

What I’m doing now: I just finished a master’s thesis in French for Sciences-Po and will be defending it next month, otherwise I’m just job searching at the moment – primarily in the study abroad field.

Words of wisdom: One thing to note is how important Catalan is – learning Catalan really was a big part of my socialization with the locals, and without it I wouldn’t have faired as well with them. Also, try to know someone with a car.  Explore every inch of the island you can – you will never see all you wish you could. Most people end up staying for more than one year – some 2+, some people just don’t ever leave. Finally, winter can get deceptively cold – not cold per se, there’s just very little heating and it often felt colder inside my apartment than outside! Bring a coat and buy a space heater! Definitely be there during the summer!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: