Monday, July 9, 2012

A quick "hola" from Uclés

I know I said I wouldn’t have internet access, but they surprised us at the monastery with spotty wi-fi! Yay! The last week has been an absolute whirlwind. I packed up my apartment Saturday night, moved out Sunday morning, and hopped on a bus to the monastery in Uclés where an English summer camp is held. We arrived late morning, had the afternoon to prepare our lessons and classrooms, and the students arrived later that night. I think all the teachers have been working pretty much non-stop (seriously, 8am-9pm, if not more) to make awesome lessons for the campers. Given these hours, I clearly am procrastinating right now. 

I just wanted to share where I was because I kind of can’t believe I’m here. First of all, the town is in the middle of nowhere. Literally. Driving up to the monastery, we could see it from miles away because it was the only thing around. In town, there is one shop (which is like a mini-convenient store), one pharmacy, one church, and one disco. Within the past year, they have built another bar, which makes it a grand total of two bars in town. (They’re on opposite sides of the plaza.)

I went for a run one of my first nights here, and I wasn’t sure where to go, so I just ran the perimeter. They told us to try to maintain a good image for the camp when in town, so I greeted everyone I passed. But then I ended up finishing the perimeter after 15 minutes, so I decided to run around it again. So then I passed all the same people. And greeted them again. In just a week, I’ve come to recognize some of the faces of the people in town, which has a population under 200 (and much less in the winter).

Another bit of interesting news is that this monastery is haunted. Haunted. HAUNTED. At first, it seemed to be all funny business, but then the stories kept on coming with similarities between them all, so you know they must be real! Apparently this monastery, which is the second largest monastery in Spain, was used as a terror and interrogation center during the Spanish Civil War. A few years back, they found a mass grave on the monastery properties. There are plenty of stories of ghosts to tell, but you’ll just have to wait for those...

But here are a few pictures!
The view from my classroom

The campers at one of their assemblies on the patio of the monastery
The view walking into town at sundown -- if you look closely, you can see windmills in the distance! We rode bikes out there yesterday -- an 18 mile trip!
The view from the bathroom. I may or may not have stood there bare-butt naked after my shower and just stood and looked out at all of this.

I'll try to update when I can. It's crazy to think I'll be home in j three weeks. 

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