The weather is finally cooling down and it's starting to feel like fall in Madrid! I'm really looking forward to the season change but I think that this will be the coldest winter I've experienced!
Life in Madrid continues to be wonderful! The people are so hospitable and great. My co-workers have taken me in and make me feel right at home. Even when they are speaking Spanish lightening fast at lunch, they still take a moment to keep me in the loop.
A teacher at Maggie's school was so sweet to write out a list of places for me to go to for gluten free food. She even called one of the bakeries and told them to expect an American girl coming in. Spaniards do not walk the streets with big grins on their faces and making small talk with strangers, like Americans. But once you are let into a Spaniard's circle of friends, they treat you like family and you see that they are some of the most caring and sincere people you will ever meet.
After a month of being in Spain, life is getting easier and more comfortable. But one thing I am still struggling with is communication. Since I speak English all day at work, I really have to make an effort after school to practice my Spanish. So unfortunately, my Spanish is weaker than I would like at the moment but with time hopefully it will get better - poco a poco, as the Spaniards say. (little by little) Not only is it hard to speak Spanish but also English. According to the teachers, my English is very difficult to understand due to my accent. Who knew I had an accent?! haha So I need to work on speaking slower and not using certain phrases. Some phrases that we use all the time are very difficult for foreigners, for example:
"How are you doing?" -- the verb doing seems to throw them off and makes them answer as if the question is "What are you doing?"
"How come?" -- they often get confused and think that the question is how we are coming
It's interesting to see things from a different perspective, especially things that have always come so natural to me such as the English language.
The kids at school are still keeping me entertained- there is never a dull moment! But I must say, I have never seen so much nose picking in one day- it's like a sport for them!
I spend most of my time with the 3rd grade class and they are starting to catch on to me knowing Spanish. THey have begun testing me to see if I answer their questions that they ask in Spanish. So looks like I will have to be more careful and play dumb! On the other hand, one of the 2nd grade boys today thought it was imporant to try and teach me some Spanish.
Since we are in Europe, the English that these kids are learning is British English. So there have been some differences in grammar and vocabulary such as rubbish for garbage. But my favorite vocab change is that they call erasers, rubbers. So in 1st grade today we had to sing a song that said "We have 3 rubbers so we are ready for school!" And I will never get used to hearing a child ask for a rubber...
Today after school, two of my co-workers, my roommates and I went to my school's neighboring town, Alcalá de Henares. It is a cute, little town that is exactly what you would think of when you think of Spain. It is also the birth place of Miguel de Cervantes, the author of Don Quixote so there were lots of monuments dedicated to him. It was nice to walk around, enjoy some drinks and tapas and to soak up the relaxed Spanish atmosphere that can sometimes be lost in a bigger city.
Well, I'm off to start my weekend! Until next time...