Monday, January 28, 2008

Words of Wisdom

My wisdom tooth has broken and needed to be "extracted" - torn from my head more like!!!

What I hoped would be a 2 minute "lets see what we have here then" operation - turned into a 1:30 hour tug a war.

Well 10 stitches later and 80 euros lighter I managed to leave the dentist - however I now look and talk like Stallone! Didn't see that coming.

Why do they do two things, firstly assure you it wont hurt; it always bloody hurts - especially having to pay and secondly talk to you when you have more instruments in your mouth than the philharmonic orchestra?! Lucky for me oooOOOOWWW is the same in ANY language!

What it did give me time to do what think about a few sketch ideas for my next Vaughan town; boy I'm sad!
Well, what else was I supposed to do when every time I opened my eyes different implement's were inserted into my mouth, the dentist himself started off looking quiet normal, but by the time he had finished and I opened my eyes he was wearing protective glasses, and welders mask, a smock, gloves - and I'm sure he had American Footballers shoulder pads on too!

and worse still I have to return in a week! - wish me luck!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

No rest for the wicked

So with only one days rest I'm back at Vaughan Town! This week we have several veterans (people who have done the program before), so me being me - like to make my life hard, decided to try some new things out in both the afternoon activities and in the entertainment section.

The only problem is, I have lots of ideas but little time to put them together - however I have some free time coming up (several weeks in fact) so maybe I'll get busy working on scripts / plays etc.

This group was very business focused and had high expectations of the Anglos I felt, bearing in mind the Anglos are volunteers and not necessarily professionals in any specific capacity. However I think after a few ideas and reminders everyone came together but it took a while to warm up.

The evenings entertainment helped get people to relax and come together a bit more - I hope they do, for their own enjoyment. I did some new material which kicked my ass as I only had 3 days to work on it, but they enjoyed it, so that was good - always listen to your mom she knows best, right!?

My dance nearly killed me, really the mask is impossible to breathe in! We had a great workout, an improv coach, singers and dancers "rock and roll people"!

As for the "master" student I pushed them a little more by getting them to work on storytelling - which is more difficult than simply giving a presentation, they rose to the challenge I'm peased to say.

No snow as yet, but its still there waiting to pounce. The hotel still have a lot of work in the customer service department and several other areas, the service like the food is becoming less and less - I think we need a break from each other (in my opinion) but we will see if this improves as time goes on. I'm actually looking forward to trying the new venue in Montfrague should be nice to have a bunch of fresh faces and personalities.

As usual all the weeks photos can be found here

Vaughan Town - Gredos - Program 70
Vaughan Systems are still after teachers - they have excellent rates of pay and opportunities, if you are able to work in EU without sponsorship etc I suggest you look into it.

We are the milky pirates!!! (said in a strange neo 80's pop music stylie german accent)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happy 50th, 30th and 21st

This post is dedicated to Mike Monroy: who just completed his 50th Vaughan Town Program!!! (he's not even on the payroll!)
This also happened to be my 21st program as an Anglo/Master of Ceremonies (but I am on the payroll) and we had a birthday but it would be VERY rude of me to reveal Claire's age (hehe)

What an amazing group! No really!! This particular group bonded VERY quickly, partied VERY hard and had a VERY good time! It amazes me how it occurs and I wish I knew that magical ingredient - whatever it maybe I'm grateful for it, it makes the whole experience even more enjoyable for all.

The weather is currently threatening to snow on an almost daily basis and I can see the snow on the Gredos mountains in the distance; so its on its way for sure.

So the week, how was it.... ....we had shows, presentations, music, theatre, magic, improv, dance more than you can "shake a stick at" to use an idiom ;)
Karaoke night was awesome, everyone singing and having such a wonderful time - it proves to me it works and works well as a team and rapport building exercise the added advantage of reading English is just a lucky aside.

The theatre was excellent with alot of creativity and great expressiveness both visually and verbally. We had the joy of a great improv sketch with Marisa and Rob being parodied very well, but key was the points they picked up on and utilised (well done guys).

As always here are the memories of the week we shared

Vaughan Town - Gredos - Program 69

Rob (a fellow MC) has a new affirmation it is: JUST BECAUSE I CAN, DOESN'T MEAN I SHOULD! but if you know Rob; you know he probably will!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

We three kings

Today is the day of the three kings (Los Reyes Magos - Melchor, Gaspar & Baltasar) - which is basically our Christmas day (the time the children receive their presents), these are brought by the kings; which kind of makes sense really as they did come bearing gifts - so where does Santa Claus (Papa Noel) come in?? Good question? A marketing ploy to make people spend more? As a child I had many questions such as, how did he mange to fit down the chimney? why was he SO happy? how did he give everyone presents? and if he bought me presents, what did my parents get me?

Well in Spain this is a huge day with a procession of floats and sweets and a ring shaped cake called Roscón de los Reyes. There was alot of coverage on the news of the events and all the shops are closed - the sales start tomorrow: much like the UK the kick in the teeth after spending all that money they reduce the cost of the items you bought!

The kings brought with them Frankincense, Gold and Myrrh - today they bring Cologne, Game Consoles and Mobiles - boy how times have changed. I can picture the scene now - baby Jesus smelling of the latest Calvin Klein fragrance, kicking ass with Assassins Creed on his Playstation 3 whilst calling up his boys on his new Nokia come round and hang out!

Well in England today is the Twelfth Night when all the decorations come down and here to but only because it is the last day of Christmas to the Spaniards.

But times they are a changing people - Santa is becoming more popular and presents are now being exchanged on December 25th - the western world is having its influence - so much so that I predict by 2012 Smoking will be banned in Spain, English more widely spoken, Siestas will be a thing of the past, Bullfighting will be no more and my Spanish friends will learn the importance of good customer service.

just for a laugh check out this video of the kings mocking Santa I think the war has started!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

New Year Celebration

For a long time, Spanish people have had a traditional custom to celebrate New Year's Eve.
On the last day of the year, the 31st of December , they wait until twelve p.m. Everybody has to have twelve grapes ready to eat when the clock starts to chime. It is traditional to listen to the clock from Puerta del Sol in Madrid.

When it is midnight, each time the clock chimes, they put a grape in their mouth. By the time the clock has finished chiming, everybody has to have finished their grapes and the New Year starts, but nobody finishes eating the grapes on time.

Eating the grapes is very funny because everybody starts the New Year with a full mouthful of grapes. It's almost impossible to finish eating the grapes by the time the clock finishes chiming. Normally people still have all the grapes in their mouths, and they start looking at each other and have to laugh.

You can imagine what would happen if the laughed with all the grapes in their mouths. It's really difficult to have a second to swallow them. I think you can imagine the rest of the story.

This tradition started in Spain because one year when there was a big grape harvest, the king of Spain decided to give grapes to everybody to eat on New Year's Eve.
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