.....when did you start working here?
More or less four years. Yeah, I came to Spain four years...four years
ago and started working here shortly afterwards, so...we've know each
other about that long.
Erm...what were you doing before you came to Spain?
I used to work in Ireland. I'm from Ireland, from Galway. And I was the
director of studies in a medium-sized language school in Galway city.
In Galway city.
So, your career is in teaching, you've always been a teacher.
Always. Yeah, I...I haven't...I'm not the type of TEFL teacher that has
had a varied background. All I've done (is) I went to college, did a
teaching degree, did a TEFL course, went abroad and started teaching my
So, you're qualified to teach in the state school system.
Yes, secondary teacher. Yeah.
Secondary teacher. So, why did you decide to make the move from....'cos
(because) Galway's beautiful...
But wet! It rains a lot.
Was that the main reason for coming here?
Er..well, I mean, my first..er..trip abroad was Greece. That's where I..erm..I
had gone on a school tour to France once, but I'd never actually left
Ireland until I was 21. And that was..er.. my first flight. Off to
Greece, to the unknown. Yeah. This was before the Internet, so I had
written off for a...a...saw a job advertised, applied and got a phone
call to say 'yes, there's a job starting for you next week.'
Why..why Greece? Was is just coincidence that was where the job was?
Absolutely! If I had gotten a call from somebody in Germany, I would
have gone to Germany. Lisbon, I would have gone to Portugal.
And how long were you working there?
Two years, yeah.
I went over for one year, initially, and I...I quite liked it and I was
happy to be living there, so I stayed for a second year.
It was nice.
Did you learn any Greek?
Er...a little...(speaks Greek...??????????) That's about all I can
Was it in Athens?
Er..no, it was er..on an island called Evia, which nobody ever....
I've never head of it.
No, nobody knows, and yet it's the second largest island of the Greek
islands. And the good thing about the island was it was connected to the
mainland by a bridge, and just an hour from Athens by bus. So you were
on an island and there was a certain amount of island life, so to speak,
but you weren't isolated. And that was nice.
How do the Greeks compare to the Spanish? Did you..did you enjoy working
with Greek people?
I did. I..I think I...I fell in love with Mediterranean culture
generally, I like that kind of way of life, er..the evening strolls and
hanging out on the beach in the summer time and things are a little bit
more laid back and people seem to be...
And the food.....is lovely
The food is lovely, erm...everything is about the food as well, y'know...he..here
in Spain, too. And in Italy as well, I also spent a bit of time in Italy.
Erm...so I've kind of done the Mediterranean countries in terms of
living. And..er..yeah, there's a lot about sitting round the table and
er..hanging out in open spaces, as well, y'know. In Ireland it's all
sitting inside in a pub. Whereas, in these places you go outside and you,
y'know, go for walks...
So, two years in Greece and then what did you do? Did you go back to
I did, yeah, I went back to Ireland and ...st...it was teaching as well
in..in another language school again, and then I met my now husband, I
met him at that point and he got a job..erm..to run a bar in Canada, so
Was he a teacher?
No..no, he was a barman at the time, and somebody asked him, he was a
good barman, so they said, 'aw, you set up a bar for me in Canada. And
he said, 'I'm thinking about going to Canada, would you come with me?
I'll go if you go!' 'Oh, why not?'
So you went...
Yeah, so I went to Canada.
Which part? Which city?
Well, that was the thing, we went to Edmonton, so it wasn't...er..well,
Edmonton's fine, it's a nice place but it's not very exciting. It
doesn't have the vibrancy of Vancouver or Toronto, for example. We
stayed there for six months.
So, he was managing the pub.
Was it a success?
Yeah, it's still there, yeah.
What's been the most difficult thing for you and your husband about
making a life here?
The language. Definitely, yeah. Erm...because, I suppose...I mean you
have the problem, like when I was in Greece I had the problem too, but
for some reason I think I...I just managed better. Er..whereas now we're..we're
here essentially for the long haul, and we're trying to pick up a level
that you can converse with people ..erm..to...I don't know, a higher
level than I would have needed in Greece, for example, or in Italy.
What do you enjoy most about teaching?
Err..there's..well.. lots of things really..erm..I like the social
element. I like being in a room with other people, communicating.
Er...so my classes are often very communicative. Er.. I like, I love the
'Eureka!' moment, if you're explaining something.....
When they get..they get it...when they actually get it!
Yeah, yeah..I love that moment..I....I've contributed in some way to
that learning process and that gives me a sense of achievement. That...."Ahh,
now I know!" I really do like that.
I like giving..erm...kind of advice on how students can be more
autonomous in their own learning; advice that I don't take! Erm..y'know
.I'm...I'm the worst language learner, so all the things that I say you
should do, I don't do.
They say teachers are the worst students and I'm the same.
Yeah, I am.
Wh..What do you dislike about teaching?
Erm..disciplining. I..I'm..I'm not a natural disciplinarian. it doesn't
sit well. I hate having to raise my voice for..erm... and..er..I think...yeah.
I..I just don't feel comfortable that that has to occur.
Marie, what advice do you have for a Spanish speaker learning English?
Well, er..again, giving lots of advice freely, things that I don't do.
Practice. Y'know, providing yourself with opportunities to practise,
either spoken English by going to 'intercambios', or..erm..y'know
writing and asking somebody to correct your writing through online
sources or..er..teachers here. Erm..yeah just as much exposure to the
language as possible. If, then in terms of reading and..erm.. listening
the same thing, y'know turn th..the movie on to the original language
and watch it in the original language with subtitles, if need be, erm...
How do you spend your time when you're not teaching here?
Well, with Rochine, my..my daughter now.
Yeah, yeah we..we hang out together. I suppose because we don't have
other family around, ..erm...we have to be together, so luckily we get
Do you have time for hobbies and pastimes?
But to be honest, I mean, even before Rochine and before being here,
y'know I..I wasn't a particularly sporty person. I mean, yes I used to
do yoga, and I don't do yoga now. But I...I didn't have a wide range of
hobbies that I actively pursued, so....
If you could change something about yourself, what would you change?
Well, I am an awful worrier. I worry a lot.
You seem so calm and collected.
Yes. Yes, I know. It's it surprises most people when I tell them that,
yeah. Er..so, I..I wish I wasn't as fretful. I worry about everything.
What do you hope to do in the future. What are your future plans?
Erm...I think about the future a lot, but....
Is that what you worry about?
(I'm) worrying about the future. But I don't have any real set goals.
I..I..I'm not overly ambitious that I have a path and I...I know the
steps to get to my goal.
Do you see....do you see your future here in Spain?
Erm...well, when we were leaving to come to Spain and my husband was
saying, 'We're leaving and we're moving to Spain and you'll never see us
again' kind of thing, and I was saying, 'We're going for a year and
we'll see how it goes.' and that's four years ago. So that's how...how
little I see the future. I..I don't jump in...five years...
Well, that's very sensible, to wait a year and see....
...how you feel.
But, every year is like that. So even now, it's like, 'We'll see...we'll
see'. So, it'll probably be if you ask me the same question in twenty
years time, I'll probably..., 'We'll see'.
What...erm...what makes you happy?
Erm...well, my daughter makes me very happy, and my husband too. I have
to say that! No, he does.
And what makes you sad?
Erm...cruelty. I get very sad when I see..er..people being cruel to
animals or to other people..er..it disturbs me immensely, yeah.
Which famous person, dead or alive, would you like to have dinner with
Well, I'd say George Clooney because I think he's stunning. But it would
probably be a horrible dinner because I'd be so gob smacked and nervous.
What would you ask him?
Well, apparently he's quite good company and he's quite nice as a person,
as well as being charming, so I don't know, I'd have a chat like with
yourself, with the brownies.
In an ideal world, what would your life be like?
I'm quite happy with my life, now. Erm...perhaps a little more job
security, erm....not just for me, like for us as...as a family. Erm...but
I...I quite like living in Spain, I quite like where we're at in our
life now...erm..yeah, I'm...I'm not unhappy, so...this is as ideal as it
can get really.
That's good to hear. If you had 6,000 euros to spend on yourself, what
would you buy?
Hmm...well, I'm not into designer stuff so I wouldn't be buying...
It wouldn't be clothes.
It would not be...no! A holiday. I like travelling. I've always liked
travelling, and I think a treat is going somewhere..I..I've always had
..er..a wish, I suppose to, or a dream, to go on the Orient Express.
Me too! I love long train journeys.
Yeah, so if I had a big chunk of money that was suddenly given to me and
I could spend it frivolously on myself, possibly the Orient Express.
Take a few books and just relax on a train, and eat well and travel
through..countries. Do you like cruises?
Erm..I haven't been on, y'know a week cruise. I've been on a cruise ship
for like the last leg of a journey from Greece to Italy, and it was a
little bit dull, I have to say. Er...
That's how I feel, I'd much prefer a train journey than a cruise.
Yeah, I think there..there's a romance about travelling by train that
you don't have in any other ways of transport. So, Orient Express, let's
When Rochine's a bit older. Thank you very much.
You're very welcome.