Spain: Té and Teaching 

Mondays. Mondays Mondays Mondays. The most hated day of the week by people all over the world, including me… and my job isn’t even a real job. I’m working 11 hours a week and each day is different, but Mondays are surely to be the worst.

I have 3 classes today, all at different metro stops, and not JUST different metro stops, but all at opposite ends of the city. Much of my life is now spent on the metro. The first lesson is with 3 and 5 year old brothers, and I don’t really know how to handle babies, so I’m pretty terrified.

I get there a little early so I stop at a café for a drink to kill some time. It has started to get colder here in Barcelona; it’s about 18 degrees today, so I decide on a nice tea to warm me up. It’s also super easy to order, as the Spanish word for tea, is té. I go up to the counter and say “quiero un té por favor” (which I believe means I want a tea please) and make a hand gesture to suggest drinking. The little old lady behind the counter looks at me funny and says “huh?”, so I try again. Un té. Una té. Té. Bebido. Por favor.


I seriously consider just saying “ok, gracias” and leaving, but another patron in the café says “té” and suddenly she understands.

I still don’t know where I went wrong.

After my “té” (or “té”, I’m unsure) I walk over to my first lesson. I meet the 3 and 5 year old boys, who are absolutely precious, but are running around stabbing everything with plastic swords. The mother gives me a tour of the flat and basically goes to locks herself in her room to escape for an hour. The kids obviously don’t speak a word of English, but it’s also not like they speak a ton of Spanish, so we just play with some lego and I say all the colours of the blocks as they build. That lasts for about 5 minutes before they want to play a memory game, and then a puzzle, not this puzzle anymore, another puzzle, and now a toy car has gone from rolling on the floor to flying across the room and hitting me in the face while the children laugh manically. I turn around and the 3 year old is naked from the waist down and has peed all over the floor of the bathroom. The 5 year old wants to go outside and show me his bicycle. I think I will surely die when the mother, bless her soul, comes out of her room to let me know the hour is up. Despite throwing a car at my head, the boys apparently really like me, and ask their mother if I can stay for the next 3 days. I couldn’t last another 3 hours let alone days, but I’m touched.

In a bit of a post-babysitting daze, I leave and go straight to my next lesson across the city. Here, there are two older boys, 7 and 9. At least this will be more like an English lesson and less like a babysitting gig!

They are two of the most shy humans I have encountered in my life. I conclude that their level of English is quite low, but it takes me a while to be sure, as I can’t tell if they’re just not into speaking, or literally don’t understand me. For these boys I go over colours, animals, numbers, and make a note to bring back some games to get them talking next week.

My last Monday night lesson is the absolute best. This is my adult family. They booked two sessions of 1.5 hours a week, and they’re definitely my favourites. It’s so easy! We just talk about life and I correct their wording when appropriate. Besides this class, I think Mondays will be the most challenging. So much time spent on the metro, and two of my most challenging lessons. On the first day back to the “work week” no less. Though I still don’t exactly count this as a real job because it’s so chill!

After “work”, I go to meet Lindzee at a cool bar we’ve never been to before. She’s great for this, always looking up new and trendy places to go. The 4€ mojitos are a big selling feature.

I get a text message from Caroline telling me the mother of the 3 and 5 year olds called her to let her know how much they loved me. I am confused, as their child peed on the floor in my presence, but as long as they are happy, and Caroline is happy, I am happy.

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