Well we finally made it out! A real bonafide night out on the town. We watched the sun rise and everything! Our british coworker offered to drive us (in her car (with air conditioning)) to the nearby city of Santa Pola to go to the beach bars and see the nightlife! We were all excited to be able to go out and leave when we wanted and have a bed to sleep in and know people (or person, rather) and stuff. So we all piled into the car and went out to the beach bars. At this one place we went if you ordered a mojito you were rewarded with a hat. I ordered said mojito and promptly lost the hat. Whoops. We then decided to go to something called “Camelot” which should really have been called “Sweaty Mc90’s Music” but I was cool with it. Renee and I had a couple shining moments when we were the only ones who knew all the words to “Backstreet’s Back” & “Wannabe” other than that we didn’t recognize much of the music and knew no one. The Spanish are more of marathoners when it comes to going out…I consider myself more of a sprinter so by 6 I was ready to hit the hay.

This week in my class we have been playing a game called “Name That Tune” where I put on a song and students have to write down the artist name on a piece of paper, ball it up and throw it to a bullseye on the floor. Unfortunately they failed to recognize the musical stylings of Hall & Oats, KC & The Sunshine Band and Lil’ Wayne (I’m going for breadth here people) we finally found common ground in Beyonce, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga and Shakira. I have compiled a list of the best submissions, with regards to spelling. These are all verbatim.

Taylor Swift:
Lady Gaga:
Laidi Gaga
Michael Jackson:
Mikel Zombies/Jackson
Miquel Blosson
Miley Cyrus:
Mili Sairus
Mayly Saurus
Selena Gomez
Alvin & the Chipmunks…

I’m dead serious about that last one though I’m still struggling to find the connection. My personal favorite is Maillisaurus. I like to think of it as her Salvia smoking-Dinosaur alter ego. “Run! Run! It’s Mailisaurus!!”

Not Beyoncé

My group has grown by 4 children in the past week. Here are some things I have learned. Kids cry about weird things. Example: One day in the locker room I had a 9 year old girl burst into spontaneous tears. When I went over to investigate all I could understand was “I can’t stop turning in circles!” It turns out she had put her t-shirt on inside out 3 times in a row and for some reason this was cause to cry uncontrollably for about 5 minutes. I offered to braid her hair and then everything was cool. Certain children would never survive in the wild (which is where I assume all children now come from). Example: Spanish kids often have to repeat subjects in summer by completing a workbook. They all hate doing their homework and making them do it is equally as rough as getting them to eat their daily weekly helping of snails. But I digress. Avoidance strategies vary from feigned deafness, screaming denial all the way to what we will call here the ‘dead fish maneuver.’ He simply goes completely limp and looks at you with the biggest puppy-dog eyes I have ever seen. He has also been known to fall asleep during outdoor game time and on the golf course.

The household has recently acquired the entire works of Audrey Hepburn. If we have any free time I finagle my way into popping in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” or “Roman Holiday.” Watching Igor watch my fair lady was highly entertaining. I forgot how extremely long and musical that movie is. We will continue watching them until we’ve seen them all…or Igor implodes from overdose of cute. Whichever comes first.

In other news: Last friday I accidentally told the lifeguard I loved him. What I meant to say: “Hey, Alex needs you.” What I said “Hey, Alex, I love you.” Mistakes happen. Plus I’m pretty sure he didn’t hear me. By now I’m used to it.

Something strange is happening to my skin. I’m considering consulting a doctor. Instead of its usual mid-july shade of 3 week old milk it has taken on a darker tint. I think it’s full body rash from too much exposure to small children but Renee keeps writing it off as something called a “tan.” Yeah right. It’s probably malaria.

One of my favorite pastimes has become getting the Spanish to talk about their beaches in English. Mostly because when they say “beaches” it sounds more like “b*tches.” Some of my favorite phrases to hear include “Spain has the most beautiful beaches in the world” “This is the most beautiful beach in all of Spain” “This is a dirty beach.” This also applies to the word “sheets” as in “Those are dirty sheets, here are new ones”…If you’ll excuse me I have to go wash my sheets…


Which Juan Are You Talking About?

It has come to my attention that I must print a retraction. My roomie, Igor, is not, in fact, Moroccan. Nor is he Egyptian. He has Egyptian roots and resents being called Moroccan. For the record, he is really super extra Spanish. My B. Upside: I now have permission to use his name on here, so long as I write nice and truthful things. Here is my list: He helps us figure out what is happening and he breakdances real good. Stay tuned for more.

Renee and I have ventured into town on our own twice now. The bad news is that reading a Spanish bus map/schedule is like reading Egyptian Hieroglyphics that have been translated to Spanish, then to Chinese then back to Spanish and then printed in such a way that you can only use a mirror to read it. Fortunately, Renee and I have found a method of side-stepping this little hiccup by running into the street flailing our arms about until the bus stops and lets us on. My dad calls this Maximum Flail Mode. Next time you are confronted with public transportation I suggest you use it. I also have a method to determine if I’m getting on the right bus to go home. I check and see if the kid with the  pukka shell necklace is riding it. If pukka’s on board then Thundercats are go. I’d say it’s pretty fail-safe.

Unfortunately MFM cannot protect you from the surprisingly large amounts of PDA that seem to manifest themselves on the bus. Something about sitting in seats that hundreds of strangers (including but not limited to small children and old people) seems extremely unsexy to me but maybe I’m just missing the romance.

The other day Renee and I were shopping around, looking for interesting stores to go to, when she suddenly spotted something shiny. Her words were “Let’s go in there! That place across the street called Pré Na-tal…oh pre-natal….nevermind.” We did not go into pre-natal and now she has to pay me a Euro every time she tries to get me to go into a baby store or “gentleman’s club” because she has not properly used her context clues to see what wares the shop is peddling. I think it’s a win-win situation.

Renee and I have been playing a game we like to call “Which Juan?” It’s best used at lunch time when you have everyJuan assembled. It goes a little something like this:

Will you give this to Juan?
Which Juan?
That Juan.
The blonde Juan?
No the dark Juan.

I don’t know which Juan you’re talking about.

We try to employ it at every possible opportunity. For example, Juan got a little over-excited at the pool today, you could say that “it was too much fun for Juan to handle.” Or “Man! I don’t understand why kids feel the need to put french fries in their noses!” “Yeah, I’m glad I don’t have to see another Juan until Monday.” So Juan and so forth….

Did you know there are some children named “Nacho” in Spain? Apparently it’s short for “Ignacio” I always thought it was short for tostitos + cheese… I guess I was wrong. Anyway, there’s an adorable little plate of Nachos in Renee’s class who is blonde and smiley. We bonded in the pool today. By bonded I mean I would throw him and he would say “Again! Again!” This went on for a little under an hour. I have the sunburn to prove we are best friends (If you’re not my mom stop reading now: Yeah, I got a sunburn. Yeah, I put on sunscreen. It’s not my fault the sun is about a foot from the earth’s surface and the O-zone is like “whatever you and your pasty pasty self can just suffer the consequences for being pale.” I think the sun is racist.). Or maybe we’re frienimies because occasionally he would try to drown me. #LanguageBarrier

Today I Befriended a Small Plate of Nachos

I just got my S*#! rocked at the beach. My attempt at body surfing was mostly waves knocking me over and me trying to keep my bloomers from floating away. I have sand in places I didn’t know existed.

We are trying Alicante again tomorrow night. This time with our co-worker, who has a car and knows where things are. Also, Igor’s BBoy friends are coming into town to do dance battles with other BBoys. I hope it’s like the Michael Jackson “Beat It” Music Video. Hopefully we won’t have to sleep in anyone’s basement. We might also venture out to try and find an English movie theatre and watch Harry Potter. My decision on whether it will be worth the effort is going to be based solely on tweets. #I’mNotAshamed

Basement Camping & Norwegians

This weekend. What a doozy. After the last customers left the house on Friday we decided to go to Alicante (the neighboring city) for a night out on the town. What Renee and I didn’t realize, as we frantically readied ourselves, was that this meant an 8 PM to 7 AM experience. After dealing with kids from noon to 7 we may have rethought that decision. Alas, we were delightfully clueless. We loaded into the car with all the ‘kids’ of the house, the madre, and some guy who I haven’t seen before or since.

Anyway, it turned out that our friend who knows Alicante best scampered off to meet some friends and Renee, myself and our other roomie formed a little gelato-devouring trio. We ate dinner on the boardwalk and then sat at the gelato place for upwards of 2 hours. Around 2 AM we decided we needed to go find something to do. Somewhere between accidentally ordering green ravioli and eating my weight in hazelnut (accident again) gelato our guide informed us that he knew next to no one in Alicante, even less about the bar situation and that we had no way to get home until the trains started at 7AM (unless we took a 30 Euro cab ride). We were all “Oh well we can power through”….turns out we can’t. We weren’t dressed appropriately to get into the discos and had no idea where the beach parties were. We ended up wandering the streets for another couple hours and then eventually deciding to go in for the cab. The original plan was to sleep on the beach but after our friend told us what generally happens to beach sleepers we decided we would spring for a cab ride. Totes worth it.

There are two types of thieves in the area that we live. There are the Romanians, who case your house and go all cat burglar on you, planning every move very carefully and avoiding people at all costs. Then there are the Cubans who hop the fence with a bat and a hell of a lot of fearlessness and take whatever they can get their hands on. The house where we live is highly protected and, lest we be suspected of being Cubans and getting shot with the gun the madre might or might not have, we decided it would be best to avoid waking her up at all costs. No one had a key and all the doors were locked. We ended up going into the basement that used to be an outdoor classroom for the daycare center the house once had. We scrounged together some cushions and tried to sleep but the place was creepy. Like something out of Saw. Also the only available toilet was the size of a breadbox. I’m not even exaggerating. I’ve never seen such a small toilet. I could have put it on a keychain. Needless to say when the gardener saw us at 7AM wandering out of the basement still in party clothes he just gave us a funny look and kept watering the azaleas. I was going to try to explain but it 7AM, I don’t think I have the vocabulary, I had to make tiny tinkles in a tiny toilet and anyway the azaleas really needed to be watered.

Is This Real Life?

The next day we were invited to go to Benidorm, a nearby beach town, for the day to hang out with our new friend the hairdresser, his husband, his two kids and one of his hairdresser friends and his family. The beach was crowded and hot and wonderful. When we got in the car to go eat lunch I was left with only one question lingering in my mind…Why is it that only older women feel the need to go topless? Not that saggy boobies bother me but I just wonder why they want avoid tanlines. Maybe they’re doing a topless photo-shoot for Motor Scooter Magazine or something. I’m not here to judge.

We went out to eat then back to the Norwegians house. They. Had. Air-conditioning. It was like cold manna raining from the Trane heavens. While I don’t think Renee or I can be categorized as ‘picky’ we have definitely been feeling the complete and utter lack of A/C. Maybe I’m just super Americanized but when I wake up in a pool of my own sweat at 6 AM and the phrase “que calor!” is as common as “hello” it begs the question…why not invest in some central air!!?!! It doesn’t even get as hot here as in Ok! I mean, hell, I’ll even bring you one of those window units in my carry on! Just sayin’. So anyway I took a nap. I slept through four screaming children and Ben Ten: The Original Movie in spanish in order to sleep in an Air Conditioned room. I don’t regret it.

Well it turns out the Norwegians are a fun group of people. We talked about how we like to eat at 6 and go to bed early. Apparently, the 2nd largest community of Norwegians, besides Norway, live in Benidorm Spain. They have this huge party there every year and the princess of Norway (Guys. Norway has a princess!) comes down to get crunk or whatever it is Norwegians do. Maybe get tårögøßÜten? idk. Anyway, much Abba and Infinity by Guru Josh (kill me) was played. I talked to the wife for a while, she was beautiful, about 6 ft tall, blonde, ex model and the whole time she was talking all I could think was the German Coats skit on SNL. I was pushed in the pool fully clothed, there was skinny dipping by the Spanish, an in-ground trampoline and a turkey next door who randomly gobbled. A good time was had by all.

Eine Karriere in Bildern. Obviously.

Hoobastank (or if you’re my mom ‘Hoobaskank’) came on the radio on the way home and I sang the whole thing.

Talk about a struggle of a Monday morning. I gave up trying to reprimand in Spanish and switched to English. It actually worked better. Probably because they didn’t know to what degree I was threatening them. I’m going to continue to play off this “fear of the unknown” angle.

San Remedios

No birth control is quite as effective as having to deal with Spanish children all day. ARE YOU LISTENING MOM & DAD!?!? I swear… it has only been 6 days and I’m already looking into outsourcing the first 14 years of any child I have. If it’s not “I don’t wanna eat lentil soup!” it’s “She took my Bob Esponga towel!” One phrase I seriously regret teaching them is “I don’t liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike, teacher! I don’t liiiiiiiiiike.” Although some are adorable. Really and truly, I don’t know how teachers don’t play favorites. I have a hard time. I also have a whole new respect for Elementary school teachers. They must all be charged to show extreme amounts of patience for wrongdoings in a past life. God bless you.

Also it should be noted that Renee on this Friday July the 8th of the year 2011, Renee said the first words she will have to eat eventually….”When I have kids the first thing they will be is polite!” I’m putting this in writing so in however many years I can make her look at it when her four year old is running around naked in a JC Pennys telling the old women shopping something along the lines of “your face is really wrinkly!” #CantWait


I think the universe is giving us our comeuppance for everyone who had to deal with me from the ages of 0-7 and anyone who had to deal with Renee from her birthday to about 3 years ago. I want to throw a special shout out to my ice skating coach: Thank you for never killing me.

Everyone here has a “Santo” day which is a day to celebrate the saint you were named after. You have your birthday, like normal and then you have your Santo which is where you have family dinner and maybe get a present or two. Obviously there’s no San Lauren so I had the little girls help me choose one. They chose San Lorena (super creative right?) and since there’s nothing close to Renee they chose San Reme which is short for Remedios. We had a whole group of kids calling Renee “Remedios”, she was really happy about it. Haha.

In summary: TGIF.


Classes have started. I have 9 children in my class. None speak any English to write home about. I started bribing them to learn english phrases by handing out gold stars. We taught them “Duck, Duck, Goose” and they play it at every spare moment. I have to watch their pronunciation very carefully because there were a couple instances where they were saying something that sounded more like “F*&$, F*#^, Goose” ….Oops.

One of our roomies is a Moroccan-Spaniard who breakdances for a living, his dearest ambition is to own a Hummer or Mustang. He is currently scrolling through all Renee’s facebook friends adding the ones he thinks are cute. He’s a fun guy! He says Mustang like Moose-Tang. We are trying to teach him an American accent because he now wants to go buy a Hummer in America and transport it back on a boat. Somehow this will make him very cool. UPDATE: He loves Fabolous.



We’ve gotten to know each other pretty well because no one here has a license. Apparently it costs around 1500 Euros just to get your license. We don’t take the bus because it only comes by 1/hour and it’s a 30 minute ride. Sometime next week we will probably take a bus into town and a taxi back. It only costs 8 Euros! #MonopolyMoney.

Our Spanish mother ran into Mr. Spain in town today and invited him over to dinner this month (He’s 36 and has a girlfriend but who’s counting, right?).

We went to the beach yesterday. Renee was as giddy as a schoolgirl. She ran around, threw sand at children, and frolicked like there was no tomorrow. She needed the break. She has 12 kids and all with about double the energy as any other group. She tries to explain games, instructions, etc;. in her mostly English/some broken Spanish and they lose interest in the first 30 seconds. It’s been rough on her, to say the least. But she has nailed down the instructions “Sit down & shut up” in spanish. Baby steps.

There’s talk of a trip to Barcelona… I’m holding my breath (mostly because I smell sweaty 96% of the time).

Keg Stands Are Real!

Today Renee and I spent 8 hours crafting in our respective classrooms. Part of this time was also spent in a trip to the city where we went to a wholesale craft store. It was basically a hobby lobby without air conditioning. We weren’t blown away. Our British coworker, however, couldn’t stop raving about it. This turned us onto the subject of America, Europe and their differences. It ended in clarification that keg stands and frat parties do indeed exist. I felt like I was explaining the concept of Santa to a kid. I explained how Rush/College Life/High School work and by the end she was repeating over and over about how she wanted to go to America. I told her to avoid any homemade punch. It was the best advice I could think of at the time.

I have successfully befriended our boss’ child. He shares his first name with a popular Lady GaGa hit but Renee and I prefer to call him “Cheeks” because he has four of them. All are extremely round. Also he’s cheeky. His english is already as good as my Spanish.