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Moment of silence for Breeze and Adidas for the homeless

This week was once again filled with interesting situations. First, let me start with school. As you know, my students continue to run amok, but it has gotten a lot better. All it takes is a cutting stare and, at times, a threat of more homework to get them to pay attention. However, kids will be kids, so I’m not too hard on them as long as there’s no blatant disrespect.

Anyway, on Thursday, I had to take fours kids at a time out of the classroom to practice for their P.E.T.S/K.E.T.S exam that is given at the end of the year. In short, these exams test their English. Before I started the activity with them, I asked them random questions for them to practice conversing, something I’ve made a point to do before each exercise. The first question I asked one of the kids was if they had any pets and in return, they asked the same question.

I told the kids I had a dog-named Breeze when I was young, but he died. The kid shook his head sympathetically and said, “ Oh Nooo…Ms. Bing… my heart. Moment of silence for Ms. Bing’s dog?” Y'all, they actually bowed their heads, proceeded to have a moment of silence, and ended it by making the sign of the cross across their chest. After I laughed, I asked them where they learned that from and they told me T.V. I was not surprised, but it was still endearing.

The week before that, another situation happened that made me laugh, but it was followed by disbelief. It started with Stephanie and I meeting up in Parque de Retiro. This by far is my favorite park here because it’s very similar to New York’s, Central Park. As we made our way out of the park, the weather started to become colder, making me wish I had brought a scarf and a bigger jacket. We decided to get lunch, but on our way there, we came upon a visibly homeless woman sitting down on the sidewalk. I noticed she didn’t have any shoes on and my sister and I had just passed a shoe store that made moccasins and was budget-friendly. “Perfect idea,” I thought. When I asked her for her shoe size and told her what we wanted to do for her, my immediate thought was how much she would appreciate the gift. Instead, we were met with a smile, followed by the question, “Adidas?”.

“Is she serious? Or did she just not hear what we asked?” I asked Stephanie.“

"Let’s try this again because maybe my Spanish wasn’t too clear.” I said.

“No tenemos mucho dinero, pero tenemos dinero para zapatos que vimos cerca de aqui que no son caros.” Tú quieres?” Stephanie said.

Translation: We don’t have a lot of money, but we have money for shoes we saw around here that are not expensive. You want?

Homeless woman: Si si, pero Adidas?! (With a huge grin on her face)

Translation: Yea yea, but what about those Adidas?

Ok maybe she didn’t say, “but what about those...” but that’s how I heard it.At that point, I understood that she understood exactly what we were telling her, and FASHION came first in her mind. Now, I know, this isn’t a depiction of all homeless people and I am in no way trying to sway a person’s mind to not give to the homeless. In fact, I encourage you to do so by donating to the link below that my host family is heavily involved with. However, the misadventures of my stay in Spain brought to light that luxury over necessity is something I guess we all struggle with because two days later I passed another homeless man holding a sign which read: Dinero por un Ferrari.

Translation: Money for a Ferrari

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