First week of classes down. Outcome? Success! Despite being completely overwhelmed at the beginning of this week from thrusting myself full-force into a new culture and language, Friday has finally made her appearance and I’m finding myself feeling totally at ease. Course load synopsis:
- Track II Español (M-F): If I had a better vocabulary, I would consider jumping up to Track III, since we’re currently going over material I’ve already learned in previous Spanish classes. However, we’re also vocab-crazy in this course, so I’d rather be ahead of the curve grammatically speaking so I can spend the first couple weeks soaking up new vocabulary. Mind you, language courses here are accelerated, and I’ll be getting the equivalent of one year of Spanish (or more) under my belt in just a matter of months.
- Conversational & Oral Skills (T/Th): What better way to reinforce my language skills than to thrust myself into a course where I am forced to speak the language consistently, and better yet, correctly? From the get-go, this class was daunting as all hell for me. When it comes to Spanish, I lack confidence and am always second guessing myself. Throw in a lack of vocabulary and you have a girl who will only speak when she has to, and never open her mouth otherwise. Though at first I was wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into, Day Two made me realize that it wouldn’t be half as bad as I had anticipated it being.
- Dances of Spain: Just a random, “let your hair down” sort of class for me, since I had no desire to have an 18 credit course load. Learned how to merengue our first class, and will learn a variety of other Spanish dances over the course of the semester. Needless to say, I absolutely love this class already!
On another note, the jet lag has mostly subsided, and I’m starting to feel like a human being again…hallelujah! So much, in fact, that I was actually willing to go out on Wednesday night with some of the USAC crew. Madrid sure does it differently here–the night didn’t even start until around 11:30pm (the time I usually start considering leaving a place when I’m home…abuelita aquí!). The girls and I met up and had a quick beer at a carniceria before heading out to El Tigre, a local tapas bar, where we and the fellas were served some amazing complimentary tapas with our beastly drinks.
After we closed the bar, having had our fill of food and drink, we wandered off to another local bar for more drinks and dancing. I was surprised to hear so much American music being played…needless to say, I would’ve preferred more music with Latin flavor to the tunes of Rhianna and other pop artists, but beggars can’t be choosers on a Wednesday night! It was, however, my first experience in a bar where staff and bar-goers alike were permitted to dance on the bar.
The highlight of the evening was the LMFAO impersonator dancing on the bar to “Sexy and I Know It,” followed by “Gangham Style” and “Shots,” at which point the bartenders busted out beer bongs and sprayed the crowd with champagne before LMFAO and his ladies began serving champagne bongs. We ended our evening excursion around 4am, when we took the night bus home to catch some ZZZ’s before our 9:20am class. After a night like that, the importance of siestas has become very clear to me, and I foresee many a-siesta in my future.
This evening, being the first weekend I’m in town that I’m NOT sick, will be spent exploring Cheuca, the gay barrio of Madrid! Looking forward to hitting some fun bars & discotheques til the wee hours with the usual suspects, like a proper madrileña…perhaps we’ll even be getting churros con chocolate afterward, which will make my evening complete. Looking forward to what this evening has in store!!