What could I possibly be doing in a stone-made hamlet in Spain where there's no shopping, no cars, no air conditioning and little in the way of WiFi? Almost every summer I travel to the Soria province to teach conversational English to Spanish business men and women and sometimes college students. The setting is idyllic, the distractions are few and each day offers so many possibilities in terms of making a difference in the lives of others.
I've written about this program in the hamlet of Valdelavilla
before. It's definitely not for everyone. You have to enjoy almost
non-stop conversation from breakfast to sometimes way into the night as
conversations move from the dinner table to the one laid-back bar.
There's little down time. Some volunteers find it difficult to come up with
entertaining topics that keep everyone engaged. Others get burned out with the constant interactions. Since I have a
background as a teacher and I thrive on meeting new people and engaging
them in all manner of conversations, whether political, social or
cultural, I'm in my element in this hamlet.
But, recently I've come upon a new conversation starter: my
quirky line of JCreatures™ t-shirts.
Each t-shirt has a cartoon image that I designed, which reflects a
different emotion or state of being, like emoticons, of sorts. It's hard
to look at one and not wonder what it means.
Recently, I guest blogged for the PhotoFly
Travel Club on teaching English in Valdelavilla and how I use my JCreatures™ t-shirts (such as those below) to promote conversation while also boosting camaraderie and providing a few laughs.