Part 1: The Mystery of the English Woman

One cold January afternoon, at around 5.15pm, in a town called Nules-La Vilavella, a woman in her mid-thirties boards the train and sits down in front of Estefanía and me. She pulls out her phone and calls someone, who later turns out to be her mother. Now, Nules-La Vilavella is about 15 minutes away from Castelló by train (this is important later). The woman starts talking to her mum in English, complaining about pretty much everything, completely unaware that she is sat opposite two English speakers. She complains about her boyfriend (who lives in València) not letting her sleep at his house that night and having to sleep in her own house (which from the half of the conversation we were half listening to, is in Nules-La Vilavella). This all leads her on to complaining about Spain, which annoyed me, but I didn’t say anything due to British politeness. So I got of the train and pretty much forgot all about it. A few weeks later, arriving to school, which is pretty much on the outskirts surrounded by a gypsy shanty town and mountains having walked there from Castelló station, we see the English woman walking from the shanty town towards the station. Weird. Then a few days later, she boards our train from València to Castelló, getting off in Castelló. Getting weirder. And then today, the same thing happened, but she got off in Almassora (the town before Castelló.) And you know when something just grabs your curiosity and you can’t help wondering about it? That has happened to Estefanía and me and I’m pretty sure that if we keep seeing her, one day I am going to ask her what she does… I can’t wait to see the look of surprise on her face when/if we talk to her in English.

Part 2: The Mystery of the Bird Assassin

Okay, this one isn’t so much of a mystery because I didn’t witness it (thank God) but I was told about it. The Year 3 class has (had) a pet to teach them about responsibility. Each weekend one of them takes (took) the pet bird home to care for it until they returned to school. Last thing on a Friday they have music and then one of them collects (collected) the bird. It was a very annoying bird that likes to sing very loudly when you are trying to teach. It turns out that they couldn’t remember who was the (un)lucky carer and the music teacher couldn’t be bothered to sort it out so he left the bird in the classroom for the weekend with food and water and went home. UUUUUnfortunately, that weekend was the coldest for ages in València and the bird died because of that. So there you have it, the music teacher at the school I work at is a cold blooded avian killer. Spain is different. And we haven’t let him forget how bad a person he is yet either…

Part 3: The mystery of Cariño

It’s not been a secret that this school has tried my patience to the limit. In every class there are at least 3 Horrid Henrys, 2 Dennis the Menaces and very few Mathildas. But over the last few weeks I’ve realised something. I’ve made a connection with a fair few of them, which has given way to cariño. Affection. A sort of weird, these-kids-have-become-a-massive-part-of-my-life love. The sort of feeling that even though they are pains in the culo most days, the smiles and “goot morrrneengs” that they give you in the hallway, the feeling you get when you manage to get a student who really struggles with English to spell “hippo” and the randomest of conversations that make up those two days that I work in CEIP Illes Columbretes, en fin the feeling that will make saying good-bye in May all the more harder, that will contribute to making the end of my year abroad one of the hardest moments of my life. How’s that for a change since those first few weeks when I was often scared of what might happen at work? In spite of everything, these kids have won my heart, and that, that is the biggest mystery of all.