Moments in Madrid III

Thinking about Cheating?

Part of studying abroad means we have to actually attend classes, study, and take midterms.  One such midterm was last week, Art and Civilization of the Iberian Peninsula.  We get to class, taking the exam, and I see my friend Drew next to me using two filled up notecards for the final essay… And I’m just thinking, come on.  We’re lucky enough that classes are so easy and that test was so easy, and still you’re resorting to cheating?  I rolled my eyes and finished my exam.  We leave class and Drew and I are talking about the exam.  He says, “That was so easy, haha, check out these babies.”  He shows me the notecards.  I start laughing. It turns out, he only brought notes on the Roman Theater of Merida.  The unlabeled building on the exam was the Temple of Cordoba…….  After pointing out his blunder, he semi-casually replied with a, “Whatever, I killed the rest of the exam.”

Don’t cheat folks.  If you do decide to do it- at least do it right.

Spanglish and Playing Pranks

Last week, I started my first english tutoring class. I have this little adorable NUG and his name is Rafa and he’s 8 years old.  He wears black hunter boots and talks super fast.  For two hours, we talked in english about random stuff and I pushed him to refrain from using Spanglish- “My dad trabajars en a companía that makes casas y coches.”  The faster he talks, the more endearing Spanglish I get.  I taught him what “playing a prank” means and for the rest of class we watched youtube vids of pranks, including Jimmy Kimmel’s compilation of parents telling their kids they ate all of their halloween candy.  Rafa loved that video.  His homework is to play a prank on one of his 6 (?!) siblings and report back to me next week.

Café Dreams Come True

There has been some construction going on next door to my apartment on busy Calle Mayor.  I felt pretty ambivalent towards it.  BUT then, one day, all of the construction was gone, and its place was a glorious little café with flaky croissants, tasty treats, free samples, and hot coffee.  Needles to say, in the first few days of its opening, I went to the café everyday, either on my way to class or on my way back.  Each time, I was delighted with new desserts and offered little tastes of things I had never heard of before.  Eventually, the very sweet staff and I got to know each after my frequent visits and now I’M ON A FIRST NAME BASIS WITH THE OWNER.  My dream has always been to have my own spot, where the staff knows me and already knows my order.  I ask the owner about her kids, she asks me about school.  I spend hours there people watching and reading.  They offer to make me a sandwich from scratch with one of their artisanal breads, even though it’s not listed on the menu.  Once in a while, they throw in a few mini baked goods for free.  This is all true and makes me want to cry tears of joy everyday.

If you weren’t already jealous of my life, you sure as hell will be now, I know it.  And I’ll be thinking of you the next time I have my special custom-made sandwiches and diet coke at my little café.

Hipster Park

La Latina, one of the cool Madrid neighborhoods that boasts one of the largest open air markets on Sundays and hot tapas bars, also has a cool abandoned area that my friends and I have lovingly begun to call “Hipster Park.”

A basketball court, mini-makeshift stages, bleachers and grafitti
When we went, there were groups of people eating lunch, listening to music, conversing, playing basketball, and smoking weed.
There was thoughtful and clever graffiti, many relating to Spanish political and social themes
We’ve already decided- when the weather gets nicer, we’ll be coming here at night to people watch and drink wine straight out of the box.

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