A brunch and a walk on the beach in Cullera.
Chivito – The perfect Valencian brunch
Sunday afternoon and the weather from the last few days has changed. There was a brief flurry of snow in Valencia at one point this week but nothing like the images of stranded motorists that have made the international news.
It was great then to wake up to a warmer day today and a feel of spring in the air. One of the real highlights of working in Spain is the weekend. With a workload that is manageable, without any intervention needed from Nicky Morgan, and weather that rarely interferes with plans, weekends are relaxing.
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After a slow start to the day we headed out to the beach at the nearby town of Cullera. Breakfast was a Chivito, a traditional Valencian bocadillo. Think Spanish style all day breakfast. With pork slices, bacon, cheese, fried egg, lettuce, tomato and mayo it is a high calorie, high flavour weekend brunch.
Palm trees – Cullera
The sky today was clear and the temperature in the sun felt like an English summer afternoon.
In the summer Cullera beach fills with sun-worshippers and the sand disappears beneath a kaleidoscope of sun shades. In the winter it is a different scene and the beach is almost deserted. The weather must be warming as today there were people in the sea for the first time this year. Spanish weekends definitely help the sensation that workload is reasonable here and that work and life are better balanced than they are for colleagues working in the United Kingdom.
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I think Spanish Sundays are probably one of the biggest differences between teaching in the UK and in Spain. I’m writing this article sat on my terrace with the sun on my face and a view of the mountains in the distance. I do have some work to do. I have an assembly on the theme of ‘Tolerance’ to prepare in two different ways, firstly for Key Stage 1 and then for Key Stage 2. For the resources relating to this assembly read my first ‘Shareday Friday’ post. My giving back to the community started with a series of resources for PSHE – Virtues.
I also have a staff meeting to prepare on the topic of display. With a colleague preparing a discussion about what consitutes effective display my role is to plan the discussion leading to an agreed display policy. There is a wealth of excellent material on the Internet, not least the inspirational primary displays website.
But the weather is too good to waste so before I get ready for the week ahead I’m off to walk my dog on Cullera beach. Happy Sunday everybody and I hope the work-life balance feels good.
Trying not to take for granted where I live. The Costa del Azahar (orange blossom coast) sits on the northern edge of Costa Blanca. A couple of hours of Sunday afternoon spent walking along the edge of the Mediterranean really helps that feeling of a work-life balance.
Sunday always seems like the embers of the weekend. I think the fact it was a four day weekend due to the All Saints’ Day Holiday only adds to that feeling. How do teachers secure a work life balance? I would suggest that the aspects of both work and life should be condensed into those things that matter most.
Somehow getting that balance seems easier working in an international setting. We took the dog for a trip to the beach this afternoon. He does love the beach and never tires of swimming to retrieve a stick. The dog, Rusty, is a rescue dog with certain abandonment issues. Having been found by the bins near a beach he never strays far from us even when out. Today the Mediterranean Sea looked just too enticing to leave only to Rusty so when his stick ventured too far for his usually brave retrieval instincts I waded in and joined him in the water. The day was hot but the water was cool – maybe 17 degrees. After splashing around for twenty minutes or so and avoiding a jellyfish the size of a basketball I dried off within five minutes of standing on the beach. It was one of those warm pleasant winds from inland and the views back towards the mountains were spectacular.
We were home barely an hour before it was time to take my daughter to her weekly horse riding session. We finally sat down at home at about half past seven this evening. Of course, all of those activities are available in the UK although the idea of swimming in the sea in November may take a little more courage in the UK than it does here in Spain. The difference is that with the bright sunshine here one is actively encouraged to go out for the day. The four day weekend was coupled with all the usual work of a teacher. Writing the Christmas nativity script, editing music for the Christmas production, marking assessments, planning for the week ahead. It is just that I genuinely do feel that in comparison to my UK work commitments as a teacher I do now find more time for family and relaxation and that the work and life are far more evenly balanced than they were when teaching in the UK.
How do you get your work life balance correct and if it is out of balance, how can you put it right?