My First Day at the Language School in Granada
Granada Travel Blog› entry 5 of 62 › view all entries
Living with A Spanish family in their apartment is a great way to enjoy the Spanish lifestyle.
As I arrived the weather turned cold with the locals putting on thick winter coats, but it seemed warm to me as it was 20º. Otherwise it has been cloudless, windless and in the high 20´s but very pleasant. You do not feel hot at all in that temperature and it is good for the skin I reckon.
I am at the school for 6 hours of class per day running from 9am to 3pm. I am in the upper part of a beginners class. My listening and speaking skills are getting a good workout. The local Andaluz accent is very hard to pick up and it has taken me days to figure out what locals say as opposed to the the correct way in the school. My class has 8 people in it Canada, Usa, Scotland, Sweden, Germany, Hong Kong we do not speak english at all everything is in spanish. That class is for 4 hours then I go to an extra class for two hours to improve conversation, speaking and comprehension skills with a swede two swiss and a german that class is always a good test.
Living life in a city as a completely city dweller is very different for someone from the wide open living spaces of New Zealand. For example My little square has three apartment block of about 8 to 12 stories with 4 apartments on each floor. The rooms are small and everything is tightly packed in. At the base of the three apartments blocks are 1 pub 1 mini mart 2 restaurants, 1 general business, 1 gym and a school for young locals. People do live outside together. The houses are made of brick in a rust cloured stone with lighter tan shades. There are squares for the kids to play with parents and grandparents looking on young people and familes and older ones all out walking around particulalrly from 5 to 9 each night. Yes they do have a siesta and I am making sure that I enjoy it when I can.
Josefa and Andres are my hosts they are in their 70´s. This week there have been 4 french schoolboys staying too who want to improve their english and know about the haka of the All Blacks. Josefa and Andres host 3or 4 every week for about half the year. Josefa just loves the company of younger people and looking after them.
Josefa is lovely. She is a diabetic too and knows about all it. We tested our blood sugar levels and compared them.
After breakfast and Josefa walked with me to the Language school to make sure I found the way, shakes my hand and wishes me luck. My name causes all sorts of problems for the Spanish admin staff and teachers to pronounce. Michael turns into something like Mee-tch-a-elle perhaps Mitchell. I just say that in Spain I am Miguel and that makes it easier. My last name Hawker causes a real laugh. They look at it start to try to say it then give up. They ask me how to say it. I say Hawker they think it is "Hooker" and look at me strangely and ask if I am named after prostitutes. I say no and say it more slowly "Haw" which unfortunately sounds like "whore" and they really think it is something to do with prostitutes. We both give up at this point. But it is OK as I have always been used to my last name being wrong in New Zealand so it is no different hear. I say my name and people write down Walker etc.
After a language level test at the school; we had a walking tour of Granada before classes started. It is a wonderful and beautiful city and very strange too as I got lost on the way back from the school for the lunch - I arrived about an hour late - but I arrived !
I could hardly sleep that first night as my mind was just swimming with spanish words. I slept until 2 and could not get back to sleep so I started a diary which I wrote using the little Spanish I knew as it is the best way to get it out of my head. I did that until 4am.
This weekend I join the class excursion to the Los Alpujarras which are a series of villages in the Sierra Nevadas the mountains that tower over Granada and can be seen with their snow covered peaks every day.