Erin Explores

by Erin Elaine

Warm November

I bet you’re all curious how I’ve been doing, right?

So far, it’s been a pretty warm autumn in Madrid. Hardly any rain at all, and relatively warm temperatures. Aside from the one cold week we had, we’ve had highs between 60F (16C) and 70F (21C) for over a month now. It’s been so nice!! I’ve been loving it. I get home from work and open my shutters wide and enjoy several hours of sunlight before it gets dark. What a life. 🙂

I’ve started taking Spanish classes at a new school near my apartment. Last year I was taking the metro 20 minutes each way, but now I can walk 5 minutes. There are only 3 students in my class, and the teacher is great. I’m really enjoying it and I think I’m gonna learn a ton this year! Voy a aprender un montón de cosas este año.

I’ve been growing out my hair since last August, and now I finally feel like it’s getting long. It’s finally at a length that I can do a few things with it. I’m eager for 4-5 more inches so I can do even more things with it!

I recently went to Barcelona and Sevilla with a friend from Seattle. I had a great time! It was nice to see both cities for a second time at a bit of an easier pace, and to share some delicious food and enjoy the sights and the shows.

There is a Limpieza strike in Madrid right now. The workers that clean up litter off the streets and collect garbage and recycling from public, communal bins (not bins assigned to an address) have stopped working. Basically, Madrid contracts this out to a private company. Now, the private company has decided to lay off 1,114 workers out of a total of 6,000. In addition, they’ve proposed wage cuts of 40% for the remaining workers. So, the workers understandably said “F that” and aren’t working. It’s been over a week and the streets are an absolute mess. Paper and cigarette butts everywhere, as well as dog poop and old food, since nothing thrown on the ground is getting picked up. [pictures] You’d think people would use their brains and stop littering once they know nobody’s gonna pick up after them, but I guess not. I hope the strike ends soon, when the workers get a fairer deal. But the Mayor lives in a high-class suburb and is personally unaffected by the problem, and claims it’s not her responsibility since it’s a private company. Personally I would demand a sit-down with the union leader and the private company, and act as a mediator, until the issue is resolved. She has a responsibility to the people who elected her, a responsibility to keep their streets clean. If the private company refuses to negotiate, she should terminate their contract effective immediately, for failure to uphold their end of the deal (they get paid to clean the streets -> streets aren’t being cleaned -> no more contract) and I’d give a new contract to a business with strong unions and high worker morale, so the work actually gets done.

Okay, rant over.

Other than that, life is going well. Teaching some interesting topics in class. Enjoying some good Spanish wine. Keeping in touch with family. 🙂

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This entry was posted on November 13, 2013 by in Friends, Madrid, Politics, Spain, Teaching and tagged , , .

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