Quick Video Tour of a Spanish Olive Oil Factory

The olive oil industry is so integral to Jaén’s economy that we wanted to be sure Pueblo provides at least some insight into the role it plays in the lifestyle of La Puerta de Segura. Thanks to our friend Pedro, we were able to film both in the olive fields and at a professional olive oil tasting session (see episode 6).

Once the harvesting season was over, Pedro and his colleagues also took us on a factory tour to explain the process of how olives get turned into oil and then bottled and sold. The scene didn’t make it into the final cut of the show but it’s embedded above for anyone who wants to learn a little more about the making of this “liquid gold.” The video is unsubtitled and mostly in Spanish, so if you’re working on your español skills it will be a good test of comprehension.

Now that I’m back in the States I am seriously missing La Puerta olive oil. Luckily I have some stashed with friends back in Spain, waiting for me when I return in the fall!

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Why I Recommend Avoiding the Foreigner’s Office of Jaén

It is basically like this:

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Update Regarding 2nd Year NIE Renewal Process

This post is intended for current teaching assistants in Spain (auxiliares de conversación) who are planning to teach again for the 2011-12 school year. I cannot provide definitive information on the NIE renewal processs (I don’t think anybody can, because answers vary widely depending on your region, who you ask, and how lucky you get when you go to the Foreigner’s Office). All I can do is share my personal experience and provide some information which will hopefully be helpful.

On Friday, May 13th, I went to the Jaén Foreigner’s Office with Ben to attempt to renew my NIE. We both currently work in the region of Jaén and are switching to Cataluña for next year. Though we both had scheduled appointments, only Ben’s was in the system, so he went inside to turn in his documents and I accomplished nothing that day. They accepted Ben’s application and told him his new card would be mailed to him this summer. In this blog post he explains all the documents they asked for, though for reasons I am about to explain, be skeptical that your experience will be the same as his.

Yesterday, May 23rd, I returned to Jaén with exactly the documents Ben had turned in. I was with another auxiliar friend who currently works in Jaén and will be in Jaén again for her 2nd year. Though we had both the same forms as Ben, we were both told that NIE renewal is impossible for us. The only document they even looked at was my placement letter from Cataluña. My friend and I were ultimately sent to a man who is supposedly the boss, and he said that because we finish teaching in May and don’t start again until October, they will not renew our cards. Instead we have to go back to the U.S., apply for visas and then restart the process to apply for NIEs in the fall. They insisted they were doing me a favor by rejecting all my documents, because they said eventually they’d get rejected anyhow and I would have wasted a month waiting. For this reason, Ben is now planning to apply for a visa too, in case his renewal request is ultimately denied.

There is a Facebook group where other auxiliares have been sharing information and I found this quote there from an email sent to a Jaén auxiliar. I hope nobody minds me pasting it here:

“He hablado con la Oficina de Extranjeros y me confirman que, en efecto, la renovación como auxiliar de conversación es efectiva desde el 1 de octubre próximo, por lo que desde el 1 de junio, y hasta esa fecha, se ha perdido la condición de auxiliar de conversación. Según me explica la persona con la que he hablado, es necesario obtener un nuevo visado para proceder a un nuevo permiso de estancia en España. He hablado también con las personas de la Consejería de Educación. Me dicen que han notificado al Ministerio de Educación esta incidencia, aunque no garantizan que esto sea finalmente útil. Lo lamento.”

I think auxiliares in other regions of Andalucía may be having more success, but I am really not sure. If you are in Jaén though, you will probably need to get a new visa, so let’s hope there is enough time to get all the forms processed this summer to have visas by the fall. If anyone has more information or advice, please share in the comments.

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Pueblo Premiere / Estreno de Pueblo

Web series premiere in La Puerta de Segura, Spain

The Oscars arrive to La Puerta de Segura! This Thursday, May 26, at 10 pm we premiere all eight episodes of Pueblo in our favorite local pub, the Trujal. The first episode will debut online the same day, followed by one episode each week.

El Trujal Pub: Avenida de Andalucía, 158, La Puerta de Segura, Jaén

¡Llegan los Oscars a La Puerta de Segura! Este jueves, el 26 de mayo, a las 22:00 horas estrenamos los ocho capítulos de Pueblo en nuestro pub favorito, El Trujal. Ese día también estrenará el primer episodio en el internet. Después sale un episodio cada semana.

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Celebrity Scoop is a Featured Trailer on Festival Homepage

Celebrity Scoop

Check it out, our Celebrity Scoop video is currently being featured on the homepage of the International Movie Trailer Festival. We also have an article featured on their blog which I pasted below:

A Comedy Web Series Set in Small-town Spain

Tucked in a faraway corner of northern Andalucía lies a small Spanish town called La Puerta de Segura. It’s a farming village in a valley surrounded by olive trees, and for the past eight months I’ve been living here with my friend Ben Raznick. We are the only two Americans in this town of about 2,500 people, and we’re here on a government grant teaching English in the local schools.

Though we’re officially in Spain working as assistant teachers, in our free time we’ve also become self-taught filmmakers, having spent the past year producing a web series set here in our town. The series, called Pueblo, mixes elements of fiction and reality to tell the story of a quirky English teacher (Ben) adapting to life in small-town Spain. We’ve filmed the show as a mockumentary which follows the day-to-day life of Ben as he makes friends, falls in love, and ultimately becomes integrated into the town.

Although we first conceived of the idea for Pueblo last summer before we’d even landed on Spanish soil, much of the plot could not be developed until we actually moved here and got to know the community. Each of our eight episodes explores numerous facets of the local culture, from the language to the food to town events such as the patron saint festival. Some scenes are more fictitious than others, but one way or another the entire storyline has been shaped by real life experiences—even Ben’s interactions with his love interest, who happens to be a mannequin head named Erika Martínez.

Like the concept for our series, our teaser videos also tend to be a little offbeat. Rather than delve very far into the show’s plotline, our trailers are primarily intended to introduce the show’s main actors and give the audience a taste of our sense of humor and comedic style. Feel free to check them out at www.pueblotheseries.com and don’t forget to visit our site at the end of May to catch Pueblo’s online premiere. ¡Muchas gracias!

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How to Renew your NIE for Second-Year Auxiliares

UPDATE, May 24, 2011: Please take the following information with a grain of salt. It seems like Jaén is not accepting renewal applications anymore so it’s very possible that my request will be denied later this summer. Eve posted more information here. We also have articles about Spain’s teaching program and the FBI Certificate.

I am repeating the Auxiliar program for a second year. Can I renew my NIE (Número de Identificación de Extranjeros) while I’m in Spain, or do I have to get a new visa in the United States this summer?

The simple answer is that either option can work. This post will talk about exactly how and what you need to renew your NIE card if you are still in Spain and have received your second year placement. This was unclear to me until recently, so I hope this information can be of help to anyone planning to come back for another year.

Disclaimer: Below I outline the process that worked for me. I currently teach in the province of Jaén and have a 2nd year placement in Cataluña. Everything went smoothly for me last week in the Jaén Foreigner’s Office but I recommend double checking with your own region’s Foreigner’s Office to make sure the requirements listed below are the same.

Steps to renew your NIE:

First of all, you can’t renew until you have your official regional placement letter. (I received mine in the beginning of May.) Once you have that you need to call your region’s Foreigner’s Office (Officina de Extranjeros) to set up an appointment.

At the appointment I was asked for these documents:

  1. My original passport and a copy of my ENTIRE passport (every page!)
  2. My NIE card and a copy of both sides
  3. Confirmation letter that proved I would be an Auxiliar next year and would receive a monthly stipend and health insurance. (These were the papers that I received in the mail from Cataluña. They let me keep the original documents and just took the copies. So make copies of these.)
  4. One photo ID standard size over white background.
  5. The EX_11 form filled out and a copy.
  6. Proof of original letter proving placement for THIS YEAR. (They looked at this, and then let me keep it.)

After the appointment I went to a nearby bank to pay 16.32 euros and then went back to the Foreigner’s Office to deliver the receipt to them that same morning. They said you have a maximum of 8 days to pay the deposit.

They told me the NIE card will arrive to me by mail within the next three months (it will be mailed to my school address in Spain which I listed in section 6 of the EX_11 form). Because I will be leaving Spain by June 1st to spend the summer in the United States, I have asked my school to keep an eye out and send my new NIE card to my home address in the United States.

All in all, it only takes one successful appointment and all the correct paperwork. If I discover any sort of update beyond what’s written here, I will add it to this post.

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Subscribe to Pueblo for Free in iTunes

Web series video podcastIn preparation for our show’s upcoming internet debut, we’ve created a Pueblo video podcast page in the iTunes store. Our first two Celebrity Scoop trailers are available for download there and we’ll be adding the episodes as soon as they are released. Feel free to subscribe (it’s free!) and get Pueblo on your iPod, iPhone, iHoohoo, etc.

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Erika Wishes her Mom a Happy Mother’s Day

Last Sunday was Spanish Mother’s Day but I was so busy getting ready for my Pueblo premiere party that I didn’t get a chance to post a public thank you to my mom for all of her motherly guidance and love. Luckily, today is Mother’s Day in the United States so I get another chance. I love you Fati! I can’t thank you enough for being so supportive of my career and for passing on your good fashion sense and taste in stylish accessories. ¡Feliz Día de la Madre!

Pueblo the web series

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Pueblo Sneak Preview Party and Online Premiere

Well we worked till the 11th hour getting ready for our Pueblo premiere party, but I am happy to report that our sneak preview screening on Friday was a huge success. A big thank you to everyone who came and a special shoutout to our out of town friends (including Ben’s parents!) who ventured all the way out here to check out the show.

To my knowledge it was the first red carpet event ever held in La Puerta de Segura and possibly the most Americans that have ever been here on one day. Ben and I had a great time watching our work on screen in front of an audience and we couldn’t have asked for a better turnout or a more enthusiastic crowd. ¡Muchas gracias!

Pueblo Premiere Party, La Puerta de Segura, Spain

Web series party in La Puerta de Segura, Jaén, Spain

La Puerta de Segura, Jaén, Spain

For those of you out in Internetland still waiting for the online premiere, rest assured that Pueblo is coming soon to a computer near you. We have a total of eight episodes in the works and this weekend we presented a rough cut screening of the first five. Our plan is to spend the next couple of weeks getting everything polished and subtitled so that at the end of May we can start releasing the episodes on a weekly basis. Stay tuned and thank you for your patience as we wrap up!

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Paella, Primavera, La Puerta de Segura

Olive season’s come and gone, the days are getting longer, and our apartment no longer feels like the Arctic tundra. What does this mean? It is finally spring. Adiós Seasonal Affective Disorder, viva la primavera!

We’re still plugging away on the series and trying to finish as much as we can before Easter. I’m supposed to be editing right now, but I just took a mini procrastination break to post a new Facebook album. Here are a few of the photos, starting with the paella we just ate for lunch:

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