Friday, February 14, 2003

For some reason I am suddenly meeting loads of new people in the strangest ways. It is as if the city all at once made a conscious decision to be friendly.

I don´t think that it is neccessarily because I have started meeting a different type of person or because I have started to hang out in new places. I attribute the change indirectly to my increased knowledge of the vernacular. I reckon that alot of it is down to the fact that, unknown to yourself you look more at ease and leave yourself more open to random converstions with strangers, when you are more comfortable with both the language and surroundings. You no longer spend your bus and metro journeys reading each and every public notice, studying metro maps above the seats or looking up from your book at each stop. After a while you begin to look as at ease or as bored as every other person around you. That I think is the secret.

I believe this because lately I am constantly meeting people on my trips to and from classes in the outskirts of Madrid. Strangers now nod or smile when they recognise me from the previous day. The same happens in the bars or at the Tobacco Kiosks dotted along the street. I have certainly not started making any extra effort on my part. However people just suddenly seem more open. Of course it could always just be as a result of my "new super cool shoes".

I have finally tracked down my salary from last month that Berlitz stupidly paid to a strangers account in a different bank. Life will be far easier now. For ten days nobody admitted to having it including the banks. Now that I have some money I´m making my first trip to the capitals hinterland. I´m off to Toledo tomorrow and I´m looking forward to it. I haven´t taken one good photograph since I arrived here so hopefully my luck will change.

Before I head to Toledo I will have a private spanish class. I will have one every saturday from now on. Aswell as that I will have two hours of spanish every friday in my school. I´m anxious to learn quickly because I would like to switch out of teaching and work in a different type of job over here. Another reason is that I am reading the same book for three months. Whenever I pick it up I feel guilty and think that I should be learning some "irregular verbs" instead.

Tomorrow there will be a huge demonstration against the war. I might go along. You never know I might meet some people !!! It will be interesting to see how the Spanish go about demonstrating. Normally they cannot last five minutes on the street with their loved ones without stopping for a marathon snog. Perhaps that is why Franco had a 25 pesetas fine for anybody caught snogging in public.

As a follow up to what I learned before about Opus Dei I was asking some of my friends for more on the subject. They say that if any of my students or friends have six or more siblings they are either very wealthy or in Opus Dei. The possible explanations have since been unanimously changed over a few beers to; Very wealthy, Opus Die or a having a Military Father.

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