I am in an internet cafe in Madrid trying to figure out how to use the keyboard. Spanish does not have any contractions so I guess I will write out all my words instead of writing dont or cant or shouldnt. Some first impressions include: It is quiet here. I got off the subway and walked up to the street level, and it just seemed quiet. The cars are not as noisy nor are the motorcycles. Not many people use their horns either. It is clean. The streets are very clean. I saw some workmen with uniforms on that read lavadores. I think they are street cleaners. It is also colorful here in Madrid. It appears the official color of the city is purple. I saw a car with an emblem on it that said Madrid that was purple and white. Later I saw a few men working on the streets in jumpers that were purple and dayglo yellow. Their backs had pavamentos printed on the uniform. Although it is hot on the street ,it is cool in the hidden courtyards. I have walked passed many open doors and felt how much cooler the air in the hallway is compared to the air on the street. I keep wanting to walk through the open doors and explore/find cool air. I am pretty good at Spanish! I walked into a little bookstore and the owner asked me if I was looking for anything. I replied in Spanish that I was looking for a book that would be easy for a student of Spanish to read. She showed me a few, and I bought one that looked good. I spoke all in Spanish, and I am pretty sure I was understood! I am very pleased with myself.
While I was waiting for the subway at the airport I was feeling nervous. It is hard to be in a country where you know you will not be able to understand everything that is said. While I was walking through the airport I heard a couple talking in English and It was like a lifeline. I did not really care what they were saying but I understood their words. I think it will be very difficult to avoid the draw to speak and hear English. There is something very powerful about being understood that does not come up as we get older and are able to communicate fairly well. Perhaps this feeling of nervousness is attached to a very young preverbal age when we were virtually unable to express ourselves with anything other than crying.
I am thrilled to be here and meet with Professor Duran and get to know the rest of my classmates tonight. Although I was super tired a few hours ago I am now catching my second wind and am ready to see what the night brings.
¡Adios from Madrid!