Wednesday, October 31, 2007

October Good-byes and Panellets

The back to work stress is gone. Taking its place is another type of stress. The you've-got-to-get-this-done-yesterday type of stress.
To add to the usual beginning-of-the-school year chaos, there is personal tragedy. My co-worker's mom was diagnosed with cancer. She had surgery and it seems to have eradicated the cancer, but will have to undergo all the treatments associated with this illness. 
The real tragedy is that V's mom does not want to follow treatment and is making this situation difficult for my co-worker. So much so, that she's had to quit working to no only take care of her mom, but also try to regroup, as she is an emotional and psychological mess. It's such a pity, V was great with the kids and and excellent friend and co-worker. We'll miss you and be certain that you will be in my and my family's prayers.
On a lighter note:
This week we celebrated Halloween and Castañada. It was and intense week to say the least! We prepared our craft projects: pumpkins, bats. black cats, skeletons, witches hats and spiders for Halloween. And chestnuts, snails, painted leaves for Castañada
On Tuesday, María Castañera came to visit the children at school. We sang songs and made panellets. 
According to tradition, María Castañera (Castanyera in Catalan) is an old lady that cells roasted chestnuts in the village plaza. On the day before All Saints Day, she comes down from the mountain and visits school children to give them the chestnuts she's gathered and roasted for them. A great time was had by all!
Earlier that morning we had made panellets. They are little round balls made with boiled potato, sugar, ground almond and egg yolk. The señoritas mixed all the ingredients and the children rolled the dough into little balls and then covered them with pine nuts, minced almonds or cherries. It was a huge mess, but we laughed, we cried, we wished we were 3, 4, 5 years old again!
On Wednesday the 31st, we celebrated Halloween. The class of 5 year old went off on a field trip to celebrate the Castañada with the kids in primary.  The 3 and 4 year olds stayed behind, put on their Halloween masks and sang Halloween, Castañada and Autumn songs. We watched videos and generally took it easy.
(You see D., there's a reason why I come home so exhausted!)
Now, I have a 4 day weekend ahead of me. Believe me, I need it!

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