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in     by Alice Young 11-01-2018
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Home for Christmas

Two weeks spent visiting family and friends, catching up at home and fully indulging in takeaways and television, also known as the epitome of British culture, and I am now back and settled into my routine in Spain.

Of course when away, you miss the people back at home, but I surprised myself at how keen I was to get back to Bilbao. Although resting and doing nothing is so important as my Mum always tells me, I have grown up with a busy lifestyle; a schedule full of dance classes alongside my studies and so often a day with no plans is a puzzling concept for my brain. I much prefer to keep busy and active and then wind down before bed in the evening.

Relaxing and taking time out is important too, but when it comes down to it I would much rather have a week packed with a busy work schedule, gym classes and a to-do list full of life admin tasks! I must be on my own in saying this; I am sure you’re reading this now with 100 things to do and wish you had a week of no plans or commitments, or maybe you are thinking the same as me and prefer to keep on the go. I like to keep busy whilst here in Spain; perhaps my brain’s way of getting through living away from home.

12 hours

British Council assistantships involve a twelve-hour working week, so you can imagine I am always looking for ways to fill my spare time. I love going to gym classes in the city; if my spin instructor is calling “¡Arriba!” and “¡Abajo!” I am working on my languages, right?

Preparing articles for my blog site Alice in Wanderland Diary and my collaborators such as Student Language Bureau are great ways to spend my time and in doing so I hope I share some useful words and can improve my writing along the way too.

I have also recently started a new job alongside my teaching contract, working online tutoring pupils back in the UK. I started before Christmas so am growing my profile and list of clients but am really enjoying the work so far. I plan and deliver hour-long online language classes via video chat using an interactive learning space which allows both tutor and pupil to collaborate and share ideas on the virtual whiteboard.

If you are interested in hearing more about my online work, head over to the ‘About’ page of my personal blog site.

Amigos

I also have a super group of friends here who definitely make battling through language barriers and the ups and downs of teaching a whole lot better! Not only are they here for me pretty much any hour of the day via our group chats, but we also do a lot together in our free time. From day trips to movie nights, to nights out in museums and hours on the beach, they make the ever-confusing vida española a little easier to get through.

So as I was greeted in the staff room on my first day back at work this week with “Welcome back! Were you sad returning to Spain?” I answered with “no, not really!” There will always be days when living abroad isn’t so easy or I miss people from home, but I am very lucky to have established such a great routine and to have stumbled upon such a lovely group of friends here in the Basque Country, which make coming back after Christmas pretty good, really.

Alice Young

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