Monday, November 2, 2009


Welcome, month #3! Let me just point out that yesterday, wearing shorts and flip flops, I spent the afternoon in Retiro Park (yet again). A bit of reading, threw disc, friends. Basically, I'm in love with the weather here.

Let's recount the weekend:
Friday: An hour after my last class, I met my intercambio, Fernando, for the first time. An intercambio is the exchange of two languages, but we've been using the term loosely and labeling people with it. In our case, our intercambios are with Spaniards that want to practice English. The norm is to talk half the time in English, then switch to Spanish. Initially, Fernando was speaking in English, but suggested I answer in Spanish. What resulted was that I spoke in Spanish the whole time, and he'd randomly switch between the two.

Things I learned about Fernando:
  • 28 years old
  • Girlfriend lives in southern Spain
  • Has degree in linguistics
  • Offered to help me with my phonetics class, if I ever have questions (woot woot)
  • Has degree in mathematics (yay!)
  • Offered to sit-in on a math class with me some day in the Complutense, when I told him it was weird to have a semester without one
  • Attending Purdue University next semester to get his PhD. Classes begin January 4.
  • Currently trying to find house there, etc. . . figuring out the move
  • Has a computer program (from his graduate studies, I believe) that records your voice as you say some Spanish words. Then the program will mold your voice into the correct pronunciation, and you can listen to it. Think he's going to bring this next time we meet so I can try it out... I'm excited!
So, the intercambio far surpassed my expectations, starting my weekend out on a good note.

Saturday, Michael, Izzy, Richard, and I walked around Michael's neighborhood, trying to find him a halloween costume. Walking around outside, we saw just a hand full of younger kids in costume, including this one:
Dressing up for Halloween has picked up here during the past 5-10 years. However, that night the madrileños seemed to stick to three main costumes: witches, angel/devil, or white faces with blood. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

We spent the rest of the day exploring the second floor of the Reina Sofía National Museum Art Centre:

^^That one's for you, Tom. It reminded me of you?

Then came dressing up. Here are some pictures of Spaniards in the metro:

Of course, coming from the US, we couldn't just be a witch or dracula-type thing. Izzy was a 'majestic bird', Michael - a fiesta (whose costume we picked out in a chino shop earlier that day), Richard - a tennis player, and I - a hippie (Thursday was 2 euro day at both Humanas!). Our costumes wouldn't have gotten a second glance in Madison, but while Izzy and I metro-ed across the city to meet up with Mike, we received a lot of stares, grins, and laughs.

As usual, more pictures on Shutterfly.

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