Hi everyone! Long-time no speak. Sorry for not being in contact too much. I have been very busy over here in Spain getting things sorted. When I have some time, I will upload some photographs of the city and the area where I live.
Now I have got back into Spanish life and everything is going good. I have gone back to eating tapas, watching Spanish T.V and even having the odd siesta. The weather over here is still very nice, with temperatures being over 30 degrees still, and the possibility of going for a swim. Although the temperatures will be getting cooler, I think it will be ok until the end of October.
This year I am working in an English language academy, teaching English to teenagers and primary school students, and I am working for the British Council, as a language assistant in two schools in a town called Zuera, which is about 25 km outside of Zaragoza. I start in the schools next week, which will be very exciting. The work in the academy has been fun, and I have enjoyed teaching the teenagers, who have a good level of English.
I am also playing football in the Zaragoza league. The level is quite good, and the pitches are fantastic. All of the teams play on the 3g artificial grass, which means there will be no abandoned games due to waterlogged pitches. The style of play is also very different, with the emphasis more on positioning, and a keeping the ball on the ground. One thing I have not been too impressed with is the refereeing. The refs seem to blow their whistle for the slightest shoulder barge or hard tackle.
In the next few weeks I will write a bit more about Zaragoza, the city I am living in, and also a bit more about Aragon. Luckily for me, the Pilares Festivals start very soon, which means that I will have some holidays and get to learn a bit more of the cultural side of Aragon.
News from Spain
I will also try to keep people updated with what is going on in Spain (well for the people who are interested). As I have studied Spanish in University, I have been very interested in current affairs, and I have been interested to see how things have developed in Spain.
Firstly, the most interesting development this week was the dissolving of Parliament on Monday. Luis Rodrigo Zapatero, of the ruling Socialist party, the PSOE, dissolved parliament for the upcoming elections on 20th November. At the moment Spain is suffering the effects of the financial crisis, and although they may not have needed a bail out, the country has suffered due to a staggering unemployment rate, with 45% of young people out of work, and also by a collapse in the housing market.
The election race has already begun, and it will be between the Popular Party’s leader, Mariano Rajoy, and the new candidate for the Socialist party (PSOE) Alfredo Rubalcaba. According to most polls, Rajoy and the conservative Popular Party should win a clear majority, which would allow them to pursue their own clear programme, rather than rely on Catalan and other separatist parties. However, with Rajoy’s low approval ratings, and the fact that the PP have not been clear about what they are going to do in power, the race is not as easy as they are making it out to be.
Another interesting development this weekend comes from ETA, with 700 of the ETA members imprisoned, signing up to the Gernika accord; an accord which is looking to resolve the Basque issue without violence. ETA has become a diminished force in Spain and the end of the group looks closer. The terrorist group officially called a ceasefire earlier this year, on January 10th, and it seems that they are finding it more difficult to make any attacks. The ETA leadership has been capitulated due to successful detaining operations. In 2009 alone, four ETA leaders were captured. In fact, there are now more etarras in prison than free, meaning that many of the senior members are in prison. According to El Pais, 90% of ETA’s members are behind bars. A new Basque political part, Sortu was very successful in the May elections. Although it is looking for Basque independence, it has claimed that it does not support ETAS violence.
I hope you have enjoyed my first post. If you want, leave me some comments and I’ll get back to you.