Friday, May 22, 2009


Prom was a huge success. I could not have hoped for the night to go any better. We had 220 students out of a possible 300 students come to the event. Parents and Fulbright grantees helped pass out boutonnières and corsages as the students arrived. We found a florist in Spain who caters to the American international schools in Madrid who was able to make the corsages and boutonnières, and surprisingly they were really cheap. We only paid 30 cents for each boutonniere and 1.10 euro for the corsages.

This way all the students got a souvenir from the dance.
At the dance, the teacher seemed to have as much fun as the students. They were dancing to all the songs, and in a way it was their prom as well. Their main focus was not chaperoning the students but rather to have a good time, and luckily the students behaved themselves and there were no major problems. One thing I really enjoyed about the prom was seeing the teachers dancing with the students. This was not awkward. It just seemed so natural. I could never imagine teachers in the states dancing at a high school prom.

In addition to the teachers dancing, there was a couple of other only in Spain moments.
The prom was held on a Thursday night from 7 -10 pm, and we did not serve dinner. There were snacks but the students were sent home to eat after the dance.
The students were allowed to leave the dance area and go off the school grounds in order to SMOKE. My school really enforces the no smoking on school grounds rule but you have to be 18 to buy cigarettes and none of the students in attendance were 18 years old.
We used sheets to decorate a photo booth area, and our principal who really got involved in the event offered to do the ironing of the sheets in her office. What American principal would be this hands on? She also stayed to help set up and clean up!
We served some snacks and drinks including non-alcoholic beer.

One of the best parts of the dance was that a really nice but punk and alternative girl won prom queen. She came to the dance with a bandanna wrapped around her head.
I got to relive the music of my middle school days. The dj played a mix of Spanish and American music including grease lightning, ymca, wannabe by the Spice girls, and So Kiss Me. The only thing that was missing was some backstreet boys or nsync.

While the dance definitely had a Spanish flair, there were still some classic prom moments.
My friends and I started taking joking pictures with us the standard prom poses by the photo area such as the guy hugging the girl from behind and then the students started imitating us.
I witnessed one break up complete with tears, a girl storming away from a boy, and the boy throwing the corsage at her. I found the event hilarious now that I can appreciate how dramatic high students are.
The girls wore high heals and their feet were aching by the end of the dance.
The prom king and queen shared a dance.

Picture of the principal grabbing a student and dancing with him.

The next day at school, the teachers were more excited about prom than the students. In the teachers’ room, everyone was comparing photos and commenting on the clothing. They are already talking about prom for next year which means Jim and I did a good job. I am so happy the event was a success and we were able to expose the students to a fun part of American culture.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Prom Preparation

Prom preparation at San Juan Bautista is in full swing. Next Thursday we will be holding prom. Out of a possible 300 students, 212 have bought tickets! I am really happy with the turn out considering about a month ago my students had never heard about prom. In order to get the school excited for prom, Jim and I gave “All About Prom” presentations to all the English classes. Some of the serious questions the students asked were whether beer would be served at the prom (the drinking age is 18 and the students are 15, 16, and 17 years old), how short could the dresses be, do I have to have a date, and why is the prom on a Thursday. I responded to the students no alcohol would be served at the dance, your dress does not need to be ankle length but must adequately cover your body while you are dancing, you do not need a date, and Rosa, principal of the school, chose the date because she didn’t think teachers would come if it were on a weekend.
This past week we have voted on the prom court and king and queen. When asked what the criteria was, the first thing that came to mind was popularity. Clearly, this is not the message we wanted to send, so Jim and I decided to tell the students it was based on leadership, dedication to the school, and someone who you would want to represent the school. After the prom king and queen are announced, the king and queen will share one dance. We asked the court to select a slow song, and get this they picked the Titanic song (My Heart will go on by Celine Dion). I truly feel like I am back in middle school reliving the awkward school dances. I am expecting a lot of cologne from the boys, girls going to the bathroom every five minutes to fix their makeup, awkward slow dances, and tons of laughs.
The prom will be held this Thursday, from 7 – 10 pm in the outside patio of the school. One thing we did not take into account is that it is going to be light out the entire dance. I guess that means the dancing will be a little tamer. Another only in Spain thing is that the students are going to go home and eat dinner after the dance. We are serving snacks but only in Spain can you get away without serving dinner for an event scheduled from 7-10 pm. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the weather stays nice and we do not have any rain otherwise the dance will be moved inside.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Leaving Spain in Less than 1 Month

It seems like yesterday that I arrived in Madrid daunted by the fact that I would be living here for the next nine months. The time has truly flown by which I guess is a sign that I have had a good time.

Since my computer died, I have not been blogging and I thought about recapping the past two months but that just seems to daunting, so I decided to just start up with I feel right now. One of my roommates is leaving in about 1 week and I am leaving in four weeks, so lately I have been thinking a lot about going home and what lays ahead. Here is a running list I have compiled of things that I will miss and things that I am looking forward to at home. I am sure the list will grow as I spend more time thinking about it, but these are the obvious things that came to mind.

Things I Will Miss About Spain

• All the plazas and cafeterias where one can order a coffee or cheap glass of beer or wine
• All the fountains, arches, roundabouts
• Being able to walk or take the metro everywhere I need to go
• Having a grocery store less than a minute away
• Three day weekends
• Having sunlight until close to 10 pm
• Cheap produce, 1 kilo of strawberries only costs 2 euros (ie 2.2 lbs of strawberries for about $2.50)
• Being able to travel on the weekends and find really cheap flights. So far the best deal I have received was 30 euros with all the fees included on a roundtrip flight from Madrid to Porto, Portugal
• All the amazing fulbrighters. Everyone has such an interesting story and background. It truly is an amazing group of people
• Going to retiro park on Sunday and having no homework to complete over the weekend
• Not watching tv, This year we barely have a functioning tv, and it has been nice to take a break from tv. However, my guess is that once I am home I will get back into my old habits
• My roommates and my apartment. For my first apartment out of college, I feel totally blessed. I have a great place with lots of light, plenty of space to entertain, and quirky oven that keeps things interesting.
• The fresh squeezed orange juice that my school serves. It is delicious.

Things that I am looking forward to
• Having a dryer so that my jeans are no longer stretched out
• Eating dinner around 7pm instead of 9 or 10 pm
• Being able to go non-smoking restaurants, sporting events, concerts
• Eating bagels, and good Mexican and Japanese food
• Seeing my cat
• Having a bank that is open past 2 pm and that has hours on Saturday