Saturday, November 26, 2016

Beautiful Barcelona

The last week of October into the first days of November my school had off for fall holidays.

I didn't want to be away the entire week, but one spontaneous morning I took a look on my favorite flight booking platform and before I had finished my tea a flight to Barcelona had been booked.

So from Saturday night to early Wednesday morning I found myself strolling through the streets of Barcelona, stocking up on warmth and sunshine before winter sets in, breathing in deep that fresh seaside air, eating good food, and generally just enjoying myself!

Every good trip includes chocolate waffles ;)

Since I was there on the weekend of All Saints Day I was lucky enough to catch a cultural program in the city which included the breathtaking Castell human tower building.

On my first full day there I went out for tapas and ended up meeting a group of Americans - who work in Munich! What are the odds?? We ended up spending the rest of the evening together and have met up once since we've all been back in Munich.

On my last day I had tickets to visit the La Sagrada Familia Cathedral. Now this here was the highlight of my entire trip! I could spend hours just surrounded by such beautiful architecture. It was simply stunning! I've never seen anything like it! It's certainly not to be missed on a trip to Barcelona...even if the ticket prices are a little steep. 

My trip to Barcelona was a solo adventure.  I always have mixed feelings about traveling alone.  On the one hand, it is nice to be able to do what I want, when I want and I did meet some other travelers. Alone time wandering through the city or sitting at the seaside can also be very relaxing and peaceful and a good time for self reflection.  But being alone also really stinks sometimes. Like when I would love to go for a nice dinner, but sitting alone in a restaurant just doesn't sound appealing in the least.  Or simply being able to share the experiences with another person and to make memories together.  Of course, I made plenty of my own memories, but at the end of the day I'm still definitely the ''travel with friends or family'' type. But given the choice between traveling alone and staying at home, you better believe I'd still be getting on that plane! 

Friday, November 4, 2016

Matryoshka Monday

This fall I have been teaching a Russian language and culture course to a mixed group of 1st through 4th graders on Monday afternoons.  Most of them are beginners so we are taking things slow, but one recent Monday we learned the numbers 1-10.  I taught the numbers within the context of the topic ''Matryoshka'' and the lesson culminated in the children having the chance to make their own set of paper matryoshka.  I found a wonderful template online, but also gave the children the option of creating their own unique design.  We had multiple sets of minion matryoshka, various animals, a football theme, and even a very colorful minecraft matryoshka.  While they were working on their dolls I turned on some Russian music and two of the girls couldn't stop dancing in their seats.

Just before the commencement of fall break each of the Monday afternoon courses held an exhibition of what they had learned since the beginning of the year.  I loved watching everyone take on their own role in setting up the classroom.Two boys went and found a step-stool and declared themselves in charge of hanging up the worksheets the class had done on former Soviet countries and the September 1st ''Day of Knowledge'' celebrations. The older girls took over the organization of the posters, delegating the cutting and gluing to the younger ones, while one of my shy girls decorated the board and two others were just happy to color pictures of matryoshka to decorate the room.  We also had Cheburashka cartoons projected and I wrote the names of the kids visiting our display in the Cyrillic alphabet.

Monday afternoons will continue to be one of my favorite times of the week.  When each teacher has the chance to take his or her passion and share it with young, curious minds.  Isn't that what learning should be all about?!