OOOh, We’re Half Way There

Queridos amigos,

I don’t even know how to begin this letter about the Mid-Year Conference in Burgos, Spain. What a whirlwind!

Blake and I boarded the RENFE Gran Confort train and felt cozy for the seven hour night voyage. 

When all the one hundred some odd Spain Fulbrighters congregated in the hotel lobby, we were so loud and so many that Victoria had to use a whistle to gather attention and impart instructions! A good idea really…perhaps for the classroom….

It had been five months since we had last seen each other, so you can imagine all we had to catch up on, the stories we had to tell, and the selfies we had to take. 

I particularly enjoyed the talent show. We laughed at mock classroom skits and rewritten Adele song lyrics that represented our regional experiences in Spain. We felt awe at the salsa and interpretive dances. 

The day sessions included much needed (support) group discussions and inspiring mini-presentations from researchers and English teaching assistants alike, punctuated of course by coffee breaks. It was nice to hear that other teaching assistants were having similar questions and thoughts as me.  We shared lesson plans and classroom management strategies. 

The presentation topics ranged from Hispanic composers, to new transistor development for solar panel cells, to hippo therapy (aka Equine therapy, I just wanted to show off the funny terminology of hippo). 

My favorites: Identity, Self, and Race; Artistic Note-Taking in the Classroom; Sephardic Legacy in Spanish Gastronomy; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for PTSD; The Adjudicary of the Social Welfare Rights at the Soanish Constitutional Court; Animales fantásticos y dónde encontrarlos (Fantastic Animals and Where to Find them). 

Then we toured Burgos by evening. So much to see and know + little time = overwhelming. 

Silly me, I thought that I would be able to see much more than just the Monastary and the Cathedral. You could spend two weeks studying the Cathedral and you still couldn’t study the entirety of the artitechure, art, and symbolism. 

Can’t forget the incredible wining and dining. 

All this in three and a half days. I wish it were longer, as I so thoroughly enjoyed reconnecting with friends and even making new Fulbright friends. It shall simply have to be enough for now, until we can visit some of them in their respective cities soon or host them in ours. 

I am now hyper aware that my grant ends in five months. So is Blake. He kept singing Bon Jovi on the train back. “Jazmin, How do you say living on a prayer in Spanish?” Jaja / Uy uy uy. 

Hasta pronto, 

Until soon,