Although my work schedule can heardly be described as arduous, when I finished teaching on Wednesday I felt like a child who has just broken up for the summer holidays and I practically skipped home, happily anticipating satisfying my beach-side cravings and enjoying a week of much-missed home comforts - understandable enthusiasm given that I had gone four months without returning to the Big Smoke. My inexplicable excitement about the eight hour bus journey to Cadiz however is perhaps harder to explain; yet for some reason I had high hopes of a productive trip, taking with me reams of unfamiliar spanish vocab and an empty notebook, ready to be filled with the fully-formed plot of my first short story and a vague plan for the future.
Unfortunately, I did little more than stare vacantly out of the window. Sat directly behind the bus driver, enjoying panoramic views, it was all too easy to simply gaze idly at the scenary. There was certainly no shortage of things to look at. As well as the rocky valleys, sloping rolls of farmland, wind turbines and solar panels, the countryside was dotted with enormous metal cutouts. Every now and then a pair of black horns would appear on the horizon, growing into the hulking outline of a bull as we approached. Not only bull-shaped, occasionally the looming silhouette was that of a donkey... or even a hat-wearing cucumber. Needless to say, the short-story remained non-existant, as did the life plan.
In fact, eight hours day-dreaming - largely about holidays - has merely confirmed that I'm not ready to get a real career yet. Though I never thought I'd admit to enjoying teaching, the perks are plenty. As well as weekend hurrahs in and around Spain, the midweek timetable isn't exactly taxing when compared to the rat race. Take last week for example, when I spent a grumpy Tuesday evening wearily contemplating a hectic Wednesday. To allow for my four-day-weekend I had squashed all of thursday's classes into one day. However, relatively speaking, it was hardly a manic day. None of my students turned up to one class - time for an ice-cream and a bench-side snooze - and I spent most of my final class busily planning with students the fancy dress costume to be worn for a forthcoming fiesta in their village.
Though I do teach a few brokers and traders, who often arrive at class somewhat harrassed and full of sighs, it seems that Spain walks at its own pace work-wise. I know at least half a dozen spaniards who only work four hours a day, lots finish work at 3pm and one has a midday beer and tapas with his boss every day. I suppose the price of such a style is lower wages and a weaker economy... either way, I know which I prefer!