Monday, June 30, 2014

Prezzies & tech

There seems to be no job with higher honour than as an English auxiliary in Spain. All of us are blogging about the gifts, student presentations, hugs, and tears we received upon the end of our contracts. Me notwithstanding: I got an engraved pen, books about the sierra mountains, handmade elastic bracelets, Úbeda pottery, a dress, the biggest goodbye card ever, and this...
The first carve
A leg of jam! Iberico, to boot. I'd always dreamt of buying myself one of these but thought it was too indulgent. Luckily my students did the indulging for me! Every day I carve thin slices of this precious meat and put it in a sandwich, sprinkle it on a bowl of vegetables, or make ice cream (just kidding).

However, the worst gift I got was from my mobile company. I switched from Orange (too expensive as prepago [prepaid]) to tuenti (non-permanent contract) and right away there were problems. Firstly, I didn't know I had to liberate (unblock) the phone. I got that done via a local store, but then there was no coverage. So I'm Whatsapp-less and without text at home. All I can use is WiFi at my workplace, which is a 10-minute walk away.

Since arriving in Spain 9 months ago I have not had home internet. I've relied on using it at two workplaces, plus data on my mobile when at home. There are times when it's hard. I feel it most when I want to do online freelance, which requires constant internet access in order to check messages from potential clients. But besides that, I have survived just fine. I accomplish so much more without home internet or television: I concentrate on my food during meals, I progress in the books I'm reading, I play guitar. The last hobby is one I've always wanted to get better at, and haven't been able to because when it's time to relax, I've been conditioned to turn on the boob tube or check Facebook. On a side note, a friend asked if he should get on the Facebook bandwagon and I answered, “DON'T do it. Total timesuck.”

When I'm forced to go somewhere to use WiFi, I'm much more efficient with my time. I catch myself clicking on external links, do an imaginary slap on my wrist, and get back to work. Because of our siesta hour at 14:00, there's a timer on how long I can be online before my workplace closes for lunch.

Now that I don't have Whatsapp for a while, I can exercise my freedom to stay home since I don't have cash for going out, and my friends know I'm technologically screwed. But because Villacarrillo is tiny, if I do have the urge to be with friends I'll simply walk around and come across someone I know.

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