A Great Start to a Wonderful Journey!

Today started off very rushed as I quickly tried to get ready for school. Ann and I headed out to the middle school and fortunately found our way quite easily, getting home however was a different story. We had a variety of students at different levels and had a great experience. During one of our break, we explored the Beja Castle and tried to imagine what it would’ve been like to live there. We then returned to the school to watch some students practice the dance they will perform at a celebration next month.

The kids were shy at first, looking at Ann and I as we watched them, but it was so fun to see them slowly warm up. After school, Joaquim took us on a walking tour which ended with a torrential downpour but while our clothes were soaked, our spirits were definitely not dampened as we made our way to Salada de Fruitas, an Italian restaurant. We indulged ourselves in banana pizza, pasta and of course red wine.

As I reflect on our time here thus far, I think about the days that led up to this trip. When I first made plans to join Global Volunteers in Portugal, I was excited at the prospect of challenging myself to travel alone and to teach, as I dread any sort of public speaking. But a few days before I left Maryland, I was filled with fear, anxiety and apprehension. Questions such as “What if no one likes me?” “What if I get lonely?” and “What if I am awful at teaching?” were pervasive and my excitement began to fade.

Fast forward to 5 days later and those thoughts and fears no longer exist. It has been a true joy getting to know this motley crew, all of us with different backgrounds and personalities yet bonded by our eagerness to learn about and explore Portugal and share our knowledge of English with our students. We’ve laughed at our attempts to speak the language, we’ve explored and gotten lost in the town, we’ve shared stories about ourselves and our teaching experiences and we’ve enjoyed delicious food and wine every day.

It has been a great start to a wonderful experience.

Maria

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