AKA Abraham Bacoln

June 18, 2007, 1:39 pm
Filed under: Spain

I’m writing this while I have no access to the internet so honestly I have no idea where I left off with regards to my story. So!

Yesterday I walked for two hours around the neighborhood. I think I mentioned that. Then I went to an orientation at the school (this would be Sunday evening for me) and had a little salad and wine. I was pleasantly surprised at the extremely low number of American students. I found out today that in my class of nine students I’m the only American there. I also found out today that I speak Spanish with some sort of South American accent – no real surprise at that, I suppose.

Anyway, there are students of all ages here, and from all places. Holland, Russia, Singapore, Switzerland, France, Italy, Germany, and on and on and on. It’s comforting to know that I won’t be too tempted to fall back into speaking English in my off time.

My head is constantly swimming. I am honestly a bit disappointed in myself – I thought I knew Spanish better than I do. I realize part of it is just immersion shock, but my fellow housemates are doing just swimmingly. Of course one of them has had more Spanish courses than I, and the other has been here for weeks, so I guess I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.

Today we, the new students, showed up at 8:30 for a quick placement test. I did fine, considering that when classes commenced this afternoon I was thrown into a discussion of the pretérito pluscuamperfecto, a verb tense that I’ve not yet covered. It took several minutes of discussion for us to understand the usage when none of it was in our native language(s). It’s difficult to describe a verb tense using circumlocution in the very language one is discussing.

Oh, yes, anyway, so … testing, then a bus tour to Castilla Gibralfaro though we did not actually go to the castle but instead used the view from high up on that hill to discuss the city and its history. Then we drove down to the center of town and did some walking, saw the location of the cathedral, the Picasso museum, and some other stuff. When we returned to campus they had finished sorting us (no sorting hat there, apparently) and we went straight to classes.

Now I’m home, the internet is out, and I have pages of homework to do.

Oh, one last thing. For some reason in … how best to classify this? For some reason, in Spanish-speaking areas that are not Spain (e.g. the Americas) they do not use the second person plural (vosotros) conjugation. I knew conceptually that it was used here and I’d have to learn it, but MAN. I heard it more last night in the span of 10 minutes than I have in all my Spanish courses combined. It’s taking some getting used to.

Thassit for now! I wish I had some exciting news to impart, like the tiger attack that I foiled or the story about how the Mayor’s office called to give me the key to the city, but alas, no. Lo siento.

WAIT NO I forgot to mention that part of my house stay here includes two meals a day. Sra. Perea is a fantastic cook and though I’ve only had two lunches here they’re definitely something to which I shall be looking forward in the future. Did I tell you about yesterday’s lunch? I think I did, so I will skip that part. Today we started with a soup made of potato, pumpkin, onion, garlic, and a bit of carrot which was fantastic. The main course was tiny empañadas (empañaditas?) with all sorts of vegetables and tuna, apparently, though I could not taste it. These were pan-fried and simply fantastic. I ate my serving of three and was tempted to eat one more, but I just couldn’t. Dessert was fresh fruit like yesterday, and again I had the pleasure of una copa de vino con el almuerzo. This is the way it should be.


9 Comments so far
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Thank you for writing and letting us know… how exciting!!

Watch out for those tigers though!

Comment by Kyla

¡Estoy muy celosa!

Comment by Biscuit

oh yeah… how was the Picasso museum? I would love to see that… “The Old Guitarist” is my favorite piece. Was the original there?

Comment by Kyla

*sigh* anyone want to buy me an airline ticket to Spain?

Comment by DoubleT

Incredibly jealous…. I haven’t left the country in 11 years — far too long ago.

Comment by Sarah

> …I speak Spanish with some sort of South American accent…

“But Kevin, you don’t have a southern accent!” … “Oh, right.”

Second person plural… “Y’all?”

Comment by Jim

Thanks for the details. Since I haven’t been out of the country in… um… ever, I’m interested to know what it’s like to be immersed like that and the process of working through it.

Oh and what’s your address there? I’m thinking of packaging myself in a box, writing it as the return address, then dropping myself in the mail without postage. Hopefully, I’ll be returned to Málaga.

Comment by JTJ

Biscuit – you should be.

Kyla – I have not yet gone, I have only seen the outside. It was a whirlwind trip through downtown.

Jim – I know, right? And yeah, as far as I can tell the word y’all (or y’uns) is as close as we have to the vosotros form.

Everyone else – go buy your own plane ticket. When you’re on your way give me a call and I’ll tell you where I am.

Comment by Kevin O'Mara

Your experiences are reminding me of my time in Up With People! 100 years ago. Staying in the homes of citizens of the country is the only way to go! I don’t think I’d enjoy being a “normal” tourist after that…but I guess I’d be willing to try! 🙂 I’m so glad your sharing your experiences with us this way.

Comment by Kelly Piepmeier

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