Tag Archives: Manzanares El Real

Christmas Pageant

24 Dec

Yesterday was the last day of school and all the kids had to do was prepare for and perform their Christmas pageant. The other assistants and I had no part in this because it was entirely in Spanish, but we still went to “work” to see it. Every grade participated, from preschool to sixth. You might be thinking that’s a lot of kids just to sing a few Christmas carols and tell the story of the birth of Jesus BUT that’s not all a Christmas pageant is in Spain. Here (or in Mazanares, at least), the story of Christmas starts with Creation and covers all of the main accounts and people of the Old Testament up until the birth of Jesus. It was awesome, a little chaotic and adorable! Here are some pictures I managed to take before my camera died.

3 and 4-year-olds in animal costumes, too cute!

Fourth grade Egyptians. They performed the story of Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors.

Third grade sheep and shepherds.

First graders performing Adam and Eve, they were precious!

Second grade performing Noah's Arc.

Mary, Joseph, shepherds and baby Jesus. Merry Christmas!



More Trekking

22 Nov

Yes, I went hiking again this weekend. Who knew I was so outdoors-y?! This time some friends and I went to Manzanares El Real, the pueblo where I work, and hiked for 16 km! (That’s almost 10 miles!) I got to see more of Manzanares than usual this weekend, though. I actually only had a regular 2-day weekend. I worked Friday because I’ve already planned on missing work to travel (yay!), but I immediately regretted offering to come in this Friday when my alarm went off that morning. (I think from now on I will just let them remind me I need to make up days, ha!). But I digress…

Friday was the usual-but-always-a-good-time drinks and tapas. (I think this is one of the best ways to kick off the weekend!) Then Saturday ended up being another beautiful day with perfect weather for hiking!  Here are some pictures…

My trekking buddy, Laura.

The trail on the way to our trail.

Bottom of the trail. Laura, Kyla and Jaylene, who is already 50 steps ahead

View from the top!

On the way back down the mountain.



25 Oct

Halloween is this weekend and the celebration has already started at my school. From elementary to high school I went to private Christian schools, so Halloween was very minimal if really addressed at all. At my school in Mazanares, though, it’s a pretty big deal. The teachers there have been mentioning Halloween to the other assistants and I since almost day one and it looks like the holiday is going to take up about 80% of the week. That is totally fine with me if the rest of the week is like today! In my first period, we started watching The Nightmare Before Christmas, which is definitely one of my favorite childhood movies (and it was even in English!).  Then, another assistant and I brainstormed more crafts and decorations for the week during second period. On Monday I’, always free third period, so I checked my e-mail. Fourth period I hung decorations and he two periods after lunch I did prep work for tomorrow’s crafts. Pretty sweet day! If the rest of the week keeps up like this AND I get to go party in Salamanca AND come back to Madrid for the Halloween parties then it’s going to be a great week!

Fun fact: Halloween is a very new holiday in Spain, maybe a decade or two. November first, though, is All Saints Day and has been celebrated here for ages with family and a feast similar to our Thanksgiving.


El Pueblo de Mi Escuela

30 Sep

My friend and I started off our day with an authentic Spanish breakfast. According to Rick Steve’s Spain, which I carry in my purse most of the time, Spaniards have coffee and pastries for breakfast rather than bacon and eggs. So, we shared a croissant and churros with our coffee before going to visit our school.

Pastries, delicious coffee, YUM!

Our school is about a 45 minute bus ride outside of Madrid. At first I wasn’t too excited about the commute, especially since that means my monthly metro pass is 75 euro—way more expensive than a metro pass for just el centro. After visiting today, though, I couldn’t be happier! I will be working at an elementary school in a town called Manzanares El Real. The town sits between the bottom of a mountain and a lake…the view couldn’t be prettier! We got off the bus right beside Castillo de Manzanares El Real, which was a great first impression. It will be a nice change from the city and I can travel to surrounding towns with my metro pass!

View south of the town

View north of the town

Castillo de Manzanares El Real

We walked up to the school while the kids were in recess, and (obviously) I was immediately petrified. (Everyone reading this should know how awkward I can be with kids and that I am not a fan of large groups of them.) It was nice to find out that during recess, teachers get a break complete with a spread of coffee, cheese, ham, bread, fruit and donuts. After meeting some of the teachers I sat in on a 4th grade science class just to observe. The class was so fun! The kids are learning about weather and climate, even climate change (and being a geography minor, I actually love this subject)! I already thought of activities I want to do with them. Maybe I won’t be so bad at this after all…and maybe I shouldn’t speak too soon, ha.


Plaza in the town where I'm sure to spend part of my 2 hour siesta when it's nice out!