Today, the first and second graders took a field trip to El Retiro, a giant park in the center of Madrid that is one of my favorite places of all time. It was definitely a fun day – the kids got to run around and make leaf rubbings, and I got to interact with them on a slightly different level than the normal classroom setting. However, it did rather feel a lot like herding cats for most of the day – “Carlos, stay off the grass,” “Maria, where’s your partner?,” “Nacho, get back in line,” “Move along guys and leave the poor mushroom alone.” Besides the small frustrations though (it’s amazing how difficult it was for some of them to understand the premise of a leaf rubbing), there were many moments that were fun or even precious. For instance, I got to spend a little time with some of the teachers outside the school and participate in their conversations…more like listen in a central position, but that’s beside the point. Then there was one little guy who expressed his true huggy nature by squeezing my middle (and at least once leaving a little snot on my shirt) every time he ran past me during a giant game of amoeba tag, of whose boundaries I formed a part. Another little guy, who could fall into the special needs category, got really affectionate with me too at lunch time, coming to sit by my side on the grass, leaning heavily on my arm, and even falling sideways over my lap as he giggled over the gobbledy-gook words we were conversing with (he might actually have been speaking Spanish, but I was definitely speaking pig latin). What made this last little guy’s actions even more precious was the surprise it engendered in the teachers, who told me that he never acts that way with pretty much anyone else. …I think my heart just grew one size bigger.