Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Winter Wrap-up

Well, I missed February (too short a month which flew by even more quickly than usual, thanks to something fun every day), and now March is nearly over, too, and here I am, once again recapping a couple of months. Officially, it's spring, and this week I can definitely feel it in the air in Madrid. It's sunny, warm, flowers are blooming, birds are singing, and the wind is fresh but not cold (it also no longer smells like snow - something I'm willing to give up in favour of the longer days).

To help pass the dark days of winter in a positive mood, I booked in some fun every day in February. Spending hours on the phone, cooking, trying new restaurants, enjoying a new book and a relaxing bath, catching up with friends, and starting to shop for Baby, it was a great month.

March was good, but things got trickier - Baby and I are growing and I'm pretty tired, I can't do all of my usual activities, new pregnancy symptoms have appeared, and work was full.

Here's what went down during the last days of winter:

Reading: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. This one's been on my radar for a while, so when Tall Guy brought it home from a business trip to England, I was delighted. I'm nearly done this giant book and I've enjoyed the ride. A crime story of sorts, fueled by tragedy, told through the eyes of a survivor as he grows from a teenager to an adult. Art, New York City, and relationships are themes. I will say I can't take too much at once - partly because no matter what I read these days, I tend to fall asleep, and partly because it's kind of tragic. 

Goodnight Moon: Baby and I got this book as a gift from a friend. I love the rhythm of this classic children's bedtime story and have already read it to Baby a number of times. We're also reading through my Beatrix Potter collection. I'm having fun rediscovering old favourites and I'll get to enjoy them again when I read them to Baby in person.

Ghosts of Spain: Travels through Spain and its Silent Past by Giles Tremett. A reread, perfect to brush up on Spanish history. It's got a definite left-wing slant, but is not so biased that one cannot consider it as a serious attempt at recounting Spain's messy past. I like books that touch on the mess, because getting anyone to talk about it is harder than squeezing water from a rock. Even in schools, the civil war is not a topic that is openly discussed or debated in any meaningful amount of detail. 

I guess I was on the G-Train with books...

Working: As of today, I am officially on leave from work! It feels amazing. There were a few times when I thought I wouldn't make it to my goal of finishing the term (a nice transition - I wrap up one term, and my cover starts the next), but with the help of supportive colleagues and a boss who encourages naps, I did it!

Our class had a great field trip to an educational farm, where capable group leaders whisked away the children and the teachers convened in the farmhouse (there was even a fireplace) for a morning coffee break. Then we wandered around the farm and caught the kids' delight on camera to share with their parents. They got to pet and hold a lot of animals, and even went for a little pony ride.

I finished report cards and parent-teacher interviews, and I had three solid handover days with my cover. This is more exhausting than it sounds - introductions, going over class plans, students' personalities, classroom and school routines, answering questions, wondering if I've forgotten to mention anything vital in my handover notes... Anyway, she is a lovely teacher and I feel good about leaving my class in her hands.

Doing: Many people have suggested going to the movies as much as possible, because I "won't be able to go" when Baby is here. Well, those people have obviously never been pregnant (who wants to go to the movies when they have to get up every 20 minutes to pee in a gross public restroom?) and have obviously not met any of the awesome moms I've met who arrange stroller-friendly matinees. I'd much rather catch a series or watch and old favourite film at home when I can pause to sleep, pee or eat at will, thank you very much! 

That said, I have been doing a lot of lasts (until Baby is here):

In February, we went for a hike in the mountains to enjoy the snow for a day. I had been hoping to get in a few more hikes, but Tall Guy felt nervous and the doctor agreed - nothing too strenuous or remote until Baby is here. That's alright, still lots to see and do outside, even if I do like a good hike. I've got a list of hidden, out of the way parks and gardens in Madrid to check out this spring.

I went to my last yoga class. I didn't know it would be the last, but then I got sick (a cold, fever and gastroenteritis all at once. Fun.) and lost some weight and energy. Treatment is of course a bland diet and rest. I'll do some gentle yoga at home on my own once I get the green light from the doc.

Easter break, which did spill into April, was our last trip to the farm. Tall Guy wants me nice and close to home, and I don't want any more long rides in the car. Lots to come soon about our lovely Easter holiday.

As I mentioned, the biggest last was my last day of work. I'd thought I'd be sadder, or feel more nostalgic, but by the time 5pm rolled around on my last day, I couldn't get out fast enough! All thoughts of missing my students have been eclipsed by baby excitement.

I'm also lucky to have had friends come over for visits. I like having people over, and I so appreciate being able to catch up while I'm comfortable at home. It's also been fun to ooo and ahh over the tiny baby things I have ready in the nursery.

And there you have it - two months in one post.

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