School, apartment and hot chocolate


Day 1, yet another Spanish language school, Cronopios. I attended this one for 2 hours in November and thought it possibly better than the one I previously attended in Madrid, Don Quijote. So, I’m back.

Nervous. Yes. Just hoping the classes are small, I can keep up and don’t have too many significant gaps for my level, B1/B2. Also hoping I have nice classmates.

Because it’s a school day I was at the gym just after opening, at 07:00. Very quiet, just how I like it. And so far the women aren’t copying my wonderful dress sense, cargo shorts and a singlet. Guess it’s just a matter of time. 😏 Ha ha. (in case you think I’m serious).

Early gym and so an early breakfast too. Too much english spoken in this part of Madrid. Two women at a nearby table were chatting. Dammit, in english. I want to listen in to gossip in Spanish. Hope I don’t have to find another breakfast bar to listen in.

There is a real bar up the street. Saucers, each with a teaspoon, line the bar top, waiting for coffee orders, and the are men sitting on stools at the bar. Just like a more regional bar. I’ll pass for now and stay with the citified version as later I’ll have no choice.

And I loved seeing the very little kids also heading off to school, along my street. So cute.

So how were days 1 and 2 of school for me?

Well! No wonder I’m reluctant to speak at times. My gaps are glaring, to me anyhow. I’m in a lower class than I’d expected but it’s clear it has much to teach me. Much.

The teacher speaks rapidly, and he and our textbook use a wide vocabulary. Exactly what I need.

The 3 hour morning sessions are the first in a Spanish school in which I understand almost all of what the teacher is saying and can answer most of his questions. No, I didn’t say my answers were correct or in good Spanish. But the classes so far have provided the types of experiences I need. Of the 4 of us there yesterday and the day before: two of us understood and the other two looked like I often felt in other classes, a rabbit in the spotlights.

The afternoon session is only for one hour and provides a focus on conversation. The woman running this one is a dynamo, there are only 4 of us in this class too and it moves! Quickly. One comes from my other class (Romanian) and the other two (Finlandian and a Brit), a different one. Very diverse professions: a project manager currently unemployed, an economist/physio, a gynaecologist and me, a retired academic. So, an interesting group.

From discussions of what we wanted to be when we were a kid versus our current job to a sort of pop psychology discussion it’s been fun and dynamic. The teaching materials are excellent. And we all contribute.

My only disappointment with this school is the daily activities all students can attend. Let’s say, they are geared to people much younger and more sociable than me. I much prefer the lectures in Don Quijote, on art, history, culture and many such topics.

The apartment

My landlady was supposed to have come and gone hours ago with spare sheets, a microwave, small saucepans and €€ to repay me for the kettle I replaced. The Airbnb says it has a microwave. No, it has an aged bench-top oven. Lids for two small saucepans but no saucepans that fit them and, two very very big saucepans. No soap at all despite what is said in the Airbnb description. She was due about 5 hours ago, when I was in school. Maybe she’ll be here today, maybe not.

Ok. She arrived 5+ hours late with the saucepans and money to replace the kettle but no microwave. She said she will be back in 40’ with the microwave. Taking all bets on when, day and hour, she’ll return. So far it’s only 1.25 hour later, on the same day. So far….

Yes, she returned the same evening. Setting up the microwave and sticking somethings on the floor that should have been fixtures took over an hour. Her accent and speed of talking is very difficult for me. So, good practise. 😁

And she forgot the sheets so it will all play out again. Soon. Soon.

Morning class day 3

Our number doubled this morning. Eight: Romanian, 4 South Koreans, a Norwegian, a ? and an Aussie, me. So, quite a mix.

Past tense, past tenses, and more past tenses. Why the Spanish have to make some of the distinctions they do beats me. Past finished, past habitual, past very very recent and compound versions. I know when I can do it I’ll enjoy the great subtleties Spanish offers. Until then…..

If my hair wasn’t gray yesterday then today it would be. I’ve been over the past before. I still can’t get it right at the frequency I want, 95%+ of the time. Anyhow……

Difficult to show how hard we work. A photo of our classroom before anyone else arrived conveys nothing. Does it?

Apologies 😋😋😋🤓🤓

Four of us were hived off into a group leaving the other 4 with, presumably, a different task. Ours was to incorporate a set of words including princess, prince, sword, shield, brave, castle, dragon, mountain etc. into a story. There is an obvious story, a traditional one, and an infinite number of other options.

I ‘guided’ my group into an alternative option. Yes, the princess had the sword and shield and rescued the prince. It was too much for some and so they made sure our couple married immediately the dragon was killed. I always disliked group exercises but this was ok. Sigh.

What has my life become? Am I forestalling dementia or learning something else entirely? No comments requested or considered.

End of day

Finally, the little shop on the corner near me was open. Each morning I can smell biscuits, cakes, many things wonderful from outside but, it’s not open at convenient times. Today I made sure I got there. Chocolate, the French way: hot milk with choc bits you stir in. Very nice, neither the thick nor the very sweet Spanish versions of a hot chocolate but a very nice French hot chocolate. Unexpected. Yes.

And now, back to the past, past something, to see if I can figure where I go wrong and where I went wrong.


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