I received an email today saying the German textbooks I’d ordered a couple of months ago were damaged in transport and I have to find them somewhere. Endommagé means damaged, but I never knew it had an “en” in front of it before today!
All I can say is why go to Iceland or fantasise about joining the Night's Watch, when you can stay and freeze in England.
The temperature in Bath has dropped significantly, and as someone who cycles to their placement (due to the ever worsening 20A/C bus service), this is not what you want to hear. For the past two weeks I have been cycling to work with a thick woolly hat stuffed under my helmet, gloves and mountain style jackets, not the most attractive look. There were even forecasts that snow might hit Bath last week! (To save you checking, as always, they were wrong).
In the past couple of weeks a lot has happened, and to be honest, going to a far away mystical place with white walkers doesn't seem that much worse than staying in a world where Donald Trump was elected as president.... After all, a really big wall will be in both places!
But it isn't all bad! The work load at my placement has picked up. I have become the Audit Queen for my placement provider, completing three audits from scratch over the past couple of weeks. Audits are a way for companies to assess the performance of an area of service. They always start out with questionnaires sent to staff and then an analysis of the data received. So far, the audits I have completed have ranged from understanding why people most commonly seek psychological help from the Lifetime team to a review of why staff do not use their tablets to record patient notes (with a lot of money having been spent on this it is important to know why they aren't being used). I have also taken on new audits, looking into how complex the referrals to the Lifetime Service are and about how well the transition from child to adult services is. This is very good practise for my dissertation and future research as I am having to design surveys from scratch and analyse the data.
In addition to this I was also put in charge of designing a database for the Psychology Unit of a Paediatric Diabetes department. I was responsible for designing the best way to present the outcome of quality of life surveys the young people has completed so that one can easily see what has changed, what is significant and make graphs. I did so well at this that the psychologist passed on praise to my supervisor, which made me feel that I am really helping around here. A great confidence boost.
I have also been helping to further the research project. Last week I looked over information sheets I had designed with the lead researcher, although the bulk of the writing remained the same a lot of the information was reworded. Showing just how specific the wording of things needs to be. This is great practice for when I will be let loose into the world to conduct my own research (under close supervision, of course!).
So overall, placement appears to be going well. Things are picking up and I am completing a wide range of tasks.
But, that's not the highlight of my past two weeks, though it is part of them!
Last week was Bonfire Night, which for all those who aren't British is where we celebrate a guy called Guy Fawkes failing to blow up parliament, by blowing up fire works. As I am staying in Bath this year, I was able to see the RAG fireworks with my flatmates. They were spectacular. It was a really nice weekend. However, our neighbours did not seem to get the memo that it is Bonfire Night we celebrate (not a Bonfire Fortnight), and so we spent the past two weeks with fireworks going off every night. Even the most passionate pyromaniac can't love the bangs after this long.
I have also started to learn Spanish in preparation for a trip to Peru. It took me three hours to read a newspaper article in Spanish, but hey, I felt so proud afterwards. I truly deserved those chocolate brownies I baked afterwards.
This means a skewer, as me and my housemates, comme d’habitude, were talking about food and I ordered sushi for me and my friend. I wish it wasn’t so expensive here as I’m completely addicted to it !
“Wrongs are shared” literally, but it translates to “it takes two to tango” in English. The reason I learnt this phrase has everything to do with both cakes, and tangoes.
I can’t remember how this came up but I was having a quiche my housemates made and they asked if I had an English equivalent to this. We don’t have a literal translation but it means “to go around in circles” in a kind of pointless way. Could be a lot said for that today…
This means war plane, but also is used frequently by my housemates to describe girls they think are very attractive. I never would have learnt that in class!
Poireau means leek which is what I put in a lovely big risotto I made for my housemates today. Lardon, by the way, is pancetta, not bacon. (Fun fact)
Location: El Puerto de Santa María, España. Day 141
Being so aloof, I realised I never mentioned what I am actually doing on my year abroad in my previous post. For the first six months, I am working for Spark Languages, a language school in Andalusia which does Spanish classes for adults and English classes for children. Most people would put two and two together: languages and school environment= look's like she wants to be a teacher. Funny enough i don't want to nor am I teaching but actually my emails are signed Poppy Millar, Spark Client Attention and Administration (Fancy I know).
The novelty of working for a small business is you can see how your attitude and impact affects others and why taking iniative and being pro-active is rewarding in the long term when you have returnee clients, successful school group trips and plenty of positive and personal feedback from clients. I have never worked in a setting like this before and I have learnt so much all ready. On the surface, I could never exceed my bosses expectations because they set the bar so high, I'm already up in the clouds and still haven't reached it. This, however, does not mean they are unfair, in fact they push me and this experience will guide me for the rest of my working career. I have always looked up to my dad as my role model but Inge and Doug definitely take 2nd and 3rd place in terms of work ethic and dedication. On top of everything, I have picked up some teaching on the side and am currently teaching 7 year olds the difference between 'are you ___?' and 'have you___?'. Spanish niños are just the most adorable munchkins ever but after one class I am exhausted by them. There is never a quiet moment around here but I love it.
Apart from working all day everyday, my life abroad continues to exceed any idea that existed before I moved across the pond. Endless warm summer nights (even in Novemeber!), fiestas and really recognising the Andalusian culture as something truly special- I don't know whether I'm just lucky or if this is reality. As much as I love being a student and enjoying everything #unayyyyy has to offer, I also love living this new independence. Working 8 hours Monday to Friday really puts into perspective this 'living for the weekend' vibe. By Friday, I am impatiently waiting for the clock to turn 6:30 and then I'm freeeeeeeee! Also knowing I just have over a month and half left of my time here in Spain, I am desperate to see everything I can! These past two weekends have been Andalusian adventures: hiking in the Sierra de Cádiz, exploring the pueblos blancos of Arcos and a last minute getaway to the gorgeous city of Granada- which in fact BLEW MY MIND.
I think I have finally got the hang of this so called 'Year Abroad' and if I could, I would make it a life abroad. We shall see...
Today I spent my time revising again and working on an assignment and looking into potential career options (scary)
But I also procrastinated by looking up the difference between pronouncing the “s” in “plus” or not (shout out to the bro that brought this little piece of language fun to my attention xoxo)
So this is what I found:
PRONOUNCING THE S
Plus de (+ noun) e.g. Plus de travail – meaning more, if there’s confusion*
Before a vowel
When it means plus e.g. 2 plus 2
At the end of a sentence, if the meaning is “more” (davantage)
NOT PRONOUNCING THE S
Plus de (+ article) e.g. Plus de la moitié de français
Negative expression (ne… plus)
Before a consonant or even
When it can mean “more” and there is confusion*
When it means “more” (can be substituted for “davantage” in French) and there’s no confusion
“Plus de travail”can either mean more work, or no more work…
More useful information - The French don't have half terms but they do have a week before Halloween called Toussaint. I used this time to go home for a family event.
Today I unpacked from coming back from England, did some homework and revision for a test on Monday and had dinner and watched a movie with two housemates. One let me loose on his Tinder account, and I learnt an interesting amount about French girls on tinder; some good, some bad, but very entertaining. We watched a classic 60s French film and started talking about social media, because my friend found an app called Swarm and he wanted to know what it meant in English. I then learnt the word “essaim” which means a swarm.