Feeling More Integrated in the Spanish Classroom
Before I start my long reflection as to the woes and joys of being an exchange student in a Spanish classroom, here is one of my most favorite media clips from Spain thus far. Last Friday in school, our math teacher was absent and given we had a substitute who didn’t care, my classmates recorded a video for “future me” to look back on although it ended up being much more of a farce rather than an outpour of sentiments. The video quality ended up being lost between endless shuffles from my iPad (the original recording tool) to my computer.
I deliberately kept the content in this video "un-translated" (the subtitles/captions) so I could look back on this and show myself the progress I've made with the language (by understanding what was said). That being said, here is a brief timeline of the words said that most stand out in this video.
(0:02) Claudia: Hola Vismajah!
(0:04) Patricia: Hola Bismajah!
(0:07) Patricia: Qué tal? Espero que te hayas pasado bien… (“What’s up? I hope you’ve had a good time…”)
(0:09) Javier: Espérate, espérate. Como si fuera un mensaje del rey. (“Wait, wait. As if it were a message from the King.”
(0:12) Patricia: Hola Bismajah, espero que te hayas pasado bien en España. (Dani: PATRI) Dani, cállate un momento. (“Hello Vismaya, I hope you’ve had a good time in Spain. [PATRI] Dani, be quiet for a second.”)
(0:21) Patricia: Mira, ese - la persona más pesada que habrás tenido. (“Look, this guy - the most annoying person you will have met.”)
(0:26) Patricia: I love Bismajah.
(0:29) Dani: Hola Bismajah. Fino fino filipino*. (“Hello Vismaya.”)
(0:41) Elena: Bye
*Fino fino filipino is a Spanish expression used to express a job well done. He had said that expression earlier in class, and my classmates found my puzzles face hilarious; Dani explaining the expression to me was even more funny. It subsequently became an inside joke between all of us.
One of the best days of school I’ve had in Spain was the second Friday of March. That week at school was some form of religious week heavily incorporating the theme of kindness in almost every class. The week terminated in a class activity to create both a class banner and a “kindness poster” to write and post quotes about kindness in our school. I, along with Iréne (one of my sweetest classmates), designed the kindness poster while the rest of my classmates worked on the banner (given the banner was a much bigger project). How I came to work on the kindness poster (muro de la amabilidad or “the wall of kindness”) is a funny story in itself. Our philosophy teacher loudly asked the class if anyone with good handwriting would be willing to design a poster to write kindness phrases. Attributing to the fact that the resident artist was out sick that day, Patricia (the “I love Vismajah” girl) loudly exclaimed to the class that I had good handwriting proceeded by a “follow me Vismajah” as she took me outside the class to design and plan.
While I worked outside on the poster, most of my classmates were inside working on our class banner. The class banner was a cloth “flag” of sorts that demonstrates what unites my class. Since we are the class in the science track, we put some symbols of science, and my lovely classmates put a flag of California (along with the flag of Extremadura, my province) in honor of me as well. Our English teacher (and counselor) saw me working outside all by myself and loudly announced this to the class; five seconds later, I was working with Iréne who volunteered to give me company.
The classmates who sit around me talk to me way more now that they did when I first arrived. In fact, I was talking to my classmate Dani last Friday and he thought I had only been in the class for three weeks; his genuine shock at the fact that six weeks had passed was so funny to me.
It’s been really nice getting to talk to more people in class every day. Some of my classmates will randomly come up to talk to me when they are bored or if they see me sitting by myself. My adorable friend Alejandra comes to my desk every morning to chat about life while Adela is always very curious about the earrings I wear. Natalia teaches me about Spanish desserts such as natilla and Elena loves to explore drawing applications on my iPad. We’ve had so many incredibly funny moments in class, especially in my English class! I really appreciate all the friends I’ve made here, and my teachers have been so kind in helping me with anything I need. I wake up everyday wanting to go to school to be with my friends because I know we’ll share many laughs together. Here’s to the few months of school I have left with all these wonderful people. I know this one’ll pass much quicker than I expect, and before long, I’ll be reading these words back to myself in hopes of reliving everything.
I don’t know why we find such random PhotoBooth filters so funny but here we all are - bored in class.