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Calcio? Er I mean Fútbal

Calcio? Er I mean Fútbal

So catch up time. Ironic that I am saying catch up when I only have 13 days left in Europe, and only 9 more in Spain. Has it already been a month?! It just doesn’t seem possible. It is time to really get out into Madrid and see all that I want to see, especially now that I have a good working knowledge of the metro and bus systems.

Allora (there really are just some words from Italian and German that are permanent parts of my vocabulary now). So 10 June I went back to Germany for the last time. I know, why go back? You lived there and visited last semester, but I wanted to see my friends once more before leaving. It was a relaxing weekend- we sat around and talked. There was not rushing around seeing as much of a city as possible or worrying about hostels and belongings being safe in a locker somewhere.  As Eugene Kennedy said, “the real test of friendship is: can you literally do nothing with the other person? Can you enjoy those moments of life that are utterly simple?” That is what my weekend to Germany was. The simple moments that mean so much to me, and they are what have made my time in Europe so wonderful, in Germany, in Italy, and in Spain, and they are what made my two hour flight back from Germany the longest flight of my life to date. I still feel as though I have left part of me in Germany with my friends. I look forward to the day when we see each other again.

When I was back in Madrid I had dinner with a friend, and then we did something else that I think is something that is missing from American culture: we had ice cream and sat in a Plaza for a few hours just talking and watching people. The slower pace of life truly is wonderful. It allows you to relax and actually see what is going on around you, instead of just a blur of color and noise. The past week, between that Sunday and Friday was spent studying and focusing on Spanish. On Friday, I had my midterm. It is interesting how much of the grammar is coming back to me as I see it again. However, my vocabulary still needs work. I can read the newspapers with only minor issues and have even been working on a novel. My receptive language is defiantly better than my speaking abilities. Hopefully with time that will change.

It is weird to think that after two weeks of class I had a midterm, but I did! And, after getting back my test today, I am happy to day I did well. Even though it has been longer since I studied Spanish, I am finding it easier than when I restarted Italian. I am not sure why, 100%, but I am thankful, as it has made my life easier. But I have found myself missing Italian and Italy. I never thought I would say that, but it is true. I miss sitting in a cafe in the morning before class drinking a cappuccino and having a cornetto, conversing in Italian and just enjoying the Roman sun. And this coming from the guy who was missing Germany for 5 months… jaja

That being said, the title of this blog probably has confused some people… So after the midterm, two friends and I went to Park Retiro to kick around a fútbal (soccer ball). As we were doing that and chatting, a boy came up and gave us that look that clearly asked “May I join you?”. So we asked him “Quieres jugar con nos?” to which he gave an enthusiastic ¡Sì! After a few minutes he asked “Dove… er de dónde eres?” So answered him, and then I pulled out the Italian of Parli italiano? It turns out he is from Milano and speaks some Spanish, Italian, and French. Not bad for an 11 year old. His brother who was 8,5 joined us later. We ended up playing World Cup with them for about 3 hours, conversing in Italian (with me) and Spanish with the other two. It was a relaxing afternoon, and a lot of fun. It is always heartwarming to know there are some things that transcend language barriers and countries: one is fútbal. And it is so nice to be in a place where I can take part in that.

Anyway, on Saturday I went with USAC to Aranjuez y la Mancha. Aranjuez is the site of the Palacio Real de Aranjuez, or the Royal Palace, that today is a museum showing how the royal family lived during the time of Isabella. It was used by the royal family until 1890. Sadly, no photos were allowed, and thus, all I have are memories. It was a nice palace showing what life was like. Again, I am always astounded at the decorations and details that have gone into many of the rooms. After touring the palace, we had free time to wander the gardens and the town where some friends and I bought some of the best fresh fruit that I have ever eaten. I would say it rivals that of Münstermarkt in Freiburg. Then we were off to lunch in La Mancha, an area of Spain. We had some amazing food such as Pisto Manchego, Duelos y quebrantos, migas de pastor, and queso manchego. They are all traditional foods of La Mancha. Now, some people might recognize that name…

Don Quijote. I have not read the entire book (it is on my list of books to get in Spanish and read), but I do know the part about the windmills. I can now say I have seen the windmills of la Mancha and even been inside one of them. In addition, we also had time to explore the Castillo de Consuegra, which was built along a ridge with many windmills. I was reminded a lot of Greece and some of the castles we were able to explore there during Spring Break. That was probably my favorite part of the trip, besides the food of course. 🙂

And that brings me to the present. So I only have 4 classes left, and the final, and then I am done with school here in Madrid. As I wrote earlier, I am not sure how this is possible. When I decided to come to Spain so many months ago, it seemed like a month would be a long time. It even seemed like that in March! And now, I am not sure where the time has gone. The past year has flown by. In 13 days I will be back in the US, which is an interesting and slightly scary thought. It has been a long time, and while I am excited to see my friends and family, I am also sad at leaving many of my friends here. It is bittersweet on both ends. But I am trying not to think about that yet. I must first make it to Thursday, which is a Holiday here in Spain: Corpus Christi. So no school! It will be a day of exploring Madrid and enjoying all the city has to offer. Holla! Then Friday, I am going on my last trip in Europe: Porto in Portugal.  I am excited as I have wanted to go to Portugal since August, and now I am finally going there. And the best part is I will be back by 10.00 on Sunday! So I will have all day Sunday in Madrid as well! This way, my last weekend is not completely spent away from Spain or Madrid. Win-win, I’d say.

Achso. That about sums up everything for now. Check back in to see how the last full week in Spain is going!

Hasta luego!

Windmills of Don Quijote

The Church near Don Quijote's InnPalacio Real de Aranjuez
Playing World Cup in Retiro
Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
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