We do a lot of things that don’t warrant their own blog post. So here’s some short bits of what we’ve been doing.
- It’s been raining a lot
- I got sick
- We took a big bike ride
- I’ve been doing a lot of fun projects with my students
The Rain in Spain Falls Softly on the Plains then totally floods everything
We didn’t say anything but it rained for 6 continuous weeks. It was miserable and we’re not going to lie we didn’t do laundry for the first 4 weeks because we have to dry our laundry on a line outside. So no dry clothes, no laundry. We finally broke down and did laundry and hung our clothes on every surface inside -where it didn’t dry for 3 days. Boo.
The rain stopped for 1.5 weeks then started again for another solid week. There were some terrible flash floods all over the country – some people died. The rain in Spain did not fall softly on the plains or anywhere. We all flooded. It wasn’t fun.
We got a pretty double rainbow, though.
And our reservoirs are at 100% capacity. Olives like dry soil – so it will be interesting to see how the bajilion trees in the area will deal with it.
It’s so wet that nothing drained (it can’t drain. Where would it go?). There are honest to god tadpoles living in the gutter – where did they come from?! And it’s looking to be absolutely wonderful mosquito breeding. Here’s some pond scum in the middle of the desert:
Sick in Spain
I like to get devastatingly ill abroad so I can experience hospitals around the world. It’s probably my favorite thing to do. Obviously this is sarcasm. I got strep throat (probably the worst I’ve ever had) if not possibly mono. I called in sick from school and immediately started trying to figure out what to do. I have an insurance card and am on that sweet sweet socialized Spanish medicine. But….? What does that mean? I didn’t know if I had a specific doctor I had to go to. I also didn’t even know if I had to go to the doctor. A lot of pharmacists are qualified to diagnose and prescribe for minor medical ailments. So I spent most of my day researching online if I had to go, and where I had to go. I didn’t find anything and spent the rest of the day fever crying about it.
Chris helped, obviously. He just called his coteacher who has a car. The poor (and nice) guy dropped everything and said he would take me to “casualty” which is the alarming but British English term for “emergency room.” But he didn’t have his car this particular day. So I got to walk a mile to the hospital with a fever and just feeling like bleh.
We went during siesta which meant many doctors were at home. Fortunately the ambulance crew was manning the ER during siesta. So I got to visit with a really nice paramedic woman who actually spoke really good English. She looked a couple things up on her phone – mostly antibiotic dosage. Then she decided I needed a shot in the butt for the pain. Seriously I’ve never had such bad strep throat so I was grateful for it. Unfortunately I had to walk the mile back home with a slowly numbing butt which made the walk much more interesting and difficult.
She loaded me up with a 10 day antibiotic, a dissolvable ibuprophen and a ton of aspirin (paracetamol in Europe) for fever. I certainly didn’t need that many pain killers and tried to give half of them back but she told me to keep them.
This is reminiscent of getting pneumonia in Korea and having no idea where to go or what to do. Actually I also got strep throat in Korea and it was only about $20 for the whole thing.
How much was it here? I have no idea. I haven’t been billed and didn’t pay anything at the hospital. I went online to look and was told “No medical assistance has been found for this insured.” So maybe it really was free? Or they didn’t even log my visit?
Bike Hell (Part 2)
Loyal loyal readers (family) might remember the time we went on a bike ride in Korea that turned into a 25 mile-from-home-trap. If you don’t remember, we went to a city 8 miles away but rode on a river path that made it 25 miles away. There were no hotels or anywhere to stay so we had no choice but to bike home all night -it was the worst thing we’ve ever done. I have never been so physically exhausted in my life.
Ladies and gentlemen we’ve done it again! Bike Hell Part Two: The Hellining.
We bought two second hand bikes off the internet for about $70 each because we were going to ride them long-distance during Easter. Well I got strep throat for all of Easter (see above) so we didn’t go anywhere. With the rain (see above above) we couldn’t even ride them for ages but we finally got a good sunny day. It’s a sunny day and by god we’re gonna go out!
We saw some huge lizard (iguana?) we had never seen before jump into a rabbit hole. Did we mention there are hundreds of wild rabbits living in the olive groves? There were tons of flowers blooming. It was absolutely gorgeous.
About an hour away from home you could see the blip of La Peña (the mountain in our town – the one that is huge in the picture above with the rainbow). It’s on the right, I don’t know what that other mountain is.
It’s also amazing that you can ride for hours and hours and still be in olive groves.
We made it to a rickety old bridge. The bike path is an old railroad line – so this was a really old railroad bridge. There’s La Peña – you can even see Martos beneath it (orange looking line from all the tile roofs).
On the way back home we were going up. This was news to us as we had not noticed at all that we were going down. For the whole 7 miles we had been biking we had been going down on a very tiny tiny downhill grade. Now with no water and it being a surprising 80 degree “spring” day we were totally dead.
Sure you might say, it was a very small grade. Well that’s when we learned that half the gears didn’t work on our secondhand bikes. So I basically didn’t have a lower gear. Dehydrated and weak and without gears (and, yeah obviously our butts hurt really bad) it was a miserable 3 hours home all uphill.
We have since gone twice more to try to work our butts, legs and lives into shape to make it to that bridge (and further) in the future.
Fun School Projects
In many blog posts I talk about how my kids don’t get to do science or hands-on things. As my contract comes to an end I’ve been trying to do more interesting things.
For Earth Day we painted with bottles (with 1st grade). You dip the bottom of a water bottle into green or pink paint – for leaves or cherry blossoms.
With my 3rd graders we were learning about industry and trade. One was man-made versus natural materials. So I brought in a bunch of rocks (natural) which they had to paint (man-made). They had never painted rocks and were totally fascinated by it.
Finally for my older kids I’ve found my new favorite lesson. Color by number. Except to color they have to get a question correct.
So it would look like this:
1) ______ has got 2 types of properties, general properties and specific properties
Mass Color yellow / Matter Color white /Pure substances Color orange
The answer is matter so you would color all the number ones white.
2. Relationship between the mass and volume of an object
Mass Color black/ Volume Color blue/Density Color red
Density is the answer so you would color all the twos red.
If you get the answer wrong you ruin your picture so it’s a big motivator. It’s pretty much my favorite teaching thing right now. I’ve done it with a bunch of Frozen and Minecraft pictures. Recently I did a whole-class mural where 8 students had to work together (and answer everything correctly)
A few kids colored quite a bit incorrectly (green) so they were convinced it was Spiderman, Iron man and the Hulk (green). Nope. Sorry kids.