Thursday, 8 October 2009

Damn dawn delights

Sunrise from the window of the Ministry of the Environment, before my class!

In the words of The Monkees, and if I had my way, "the six o'clock alarm would never ring".

On the 21st of September 2009, I "officially" became employed again. Yes, I'd had private students before the summer, but now I had a real job. With a contract (though I've not actually seen it yet!), and proper pay - hurrah - minus tax - boo!

The day before my first class, I did the sensible thing and made a reccy out to the Ministry of the Environment, to time the journey and make sure I could find it. Easy enough. 5 stops on the Metro and a 7 minute walk down one straight road! Even I can do that. Having found it, I decided to take a stroll back a different way and to a different Metro station. The area between Nuevos Ministerios, Rios Rosas and Cuatro Caminos is really nice. If I were to move, I'd quite like to go there. During my wander I found a cool looking wine shop, the very posh Scuela Italian de Madrid, a Pilates centre, a million pastelerias with their tempting window displays, a great little travel bookshop, a couple of tempting restaurants, the beautiful Antigua Hospedal de Maudes (now some kind of council building) and my absolute favourite - a kitchen furniture/equipment shop called, in a particularly un-PC fashion "ForLady"!!!

Anyway, work! It's going pretty well, if I say so myself. My 2 students at the ministry are a director and a sub-director. The director is nice but scary. She's clearly something very, very high up and has an office that wouldn't look out of place in the White House. I'm meant to teach her every Monday and Wednesday morning at 8.15 but so far she's cancelled every Wednesday due to work commitments. I only get paid for a cancelled class if they cancel with less than 12 hours' notice - damn. The sub-director, however, is absolutely lovely. She's happy, bubbly, smiley, enthusiastic, does yoga and belly dancing and seems to find pretty much everything I say funny. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and taking that as a good thing!

As I said, the only down side is the early morning start. Alarm goes off at 6.30 and I'm out the door at 7.20. It's kind of weird being back in the normal working routine and going to the Metro station with all the other commuters! My Metro routine is to listen to my MP3 player all the way there, then pick up a free paper as I exit the station so that on the way back after class I can listen to more music, but read up on the news in Spanish. It's a hilarious free paper - it carries the important stories but mostly it's about Madrid and its suburbs. In that great way that those kind of local publications do, it has amusing stories about, for instance, a car being abandoned on a street corner in one of the suburbs. If that's the most exciting thing that happens there, well......!!

Getting into the Ministry has at least got easier and faster. On my first day, the security desk didn't have the requisite authorisation email about me and they wouldn't let me in! A couple of frantic phone calls to the school didn't help as it was out of hours so I just got the machine. Finally, I went back to the security desk and asked if I could at least phone my student on the internal phone to explain that I was there, I had actually turned up and that I would see her at the next lesson. The security guy rang her office, and 2 minutes later, I was in! I guess he rang the student himself and if she's as important as she seems, she probably just said "Let my teacher in!"

So, there it is. I'm working. I even got my first pay cheque on the 1st of October. It's all gone, of course!!!

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