Back to school

So the instructions were to turn up 15 minutes early on the first day. There was me, some Germans and a Dutchman waiting in the street outside a closed garage door and saying ‘Spanish time’ while rolling our eyes. Dead on 8:30 the door clattered upwards to reveal a pink and entranceway with a weird brothel-vibe – and nothing else.

Pretty much everything from there ran like a well-oiled machine – with one exception. After a briefing we were taken to our classes – in my case the ‘we’ was me and the Dutchman, Peter. We sat down and did the introduction bits with a class that had been together for a week or more and then launched into some vocabulary. I was immediately worried because there were words I didn’t know. After 15 minutes someone comes in and pulls Peter and me out of the class explaining we were in the wrong level and should be at a higher one.

So new class and more meet and greet stuff and we launch into the lesson. Five minutes later Peter decides he was happier in the other class and so my new friend is gone and I’m now in my official class. For me the obvious difference between the two classes is that in the first one I was on the average age, in the second one I am 30 years older than anyone else.

My class has 10 people in it. Three Russians, a Palestinian, a Belgian, 2 Germans, 1 Italian and 1 French. The theme of the class was the Franco regime and the 1970s which did make me feel my age not least when one of the Russians was insisting the ‘Caribbean missile crisis’ was in 1978. They do seem like a nice group.

After a break for an orange juice on the school’s rooftop terrace it was on to conversation class which has only 7 of us and a more even age range. That took me through 4 hours of Spanish with only mild pain to my brain. I think things will get more serious tomorrow – and there’s a test at the end of the week!

This evening a joined a group of my classmates on a trip to the Illusion Museum which was quirkily interesting. And then had a couple of glasses of wine with my new German friend Reiner while discussing world politics in our shared Spanish. Feels like a good first day of school.

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