Sorry it’s been so long since I posted. I’ve been really busy with class and keeping up with life in general in Madrid.

The reason I titled this thankfulness, is because of something I am slowly discovering. People here can understand me better every day. And the more I listen to Spanish, the less I try to mentally translate and the more I just understand in Spanish. That’s something I never saw happening, even though sometimes I do think in Spanish, I think it’s the matter of hearing it spoken by other people, and understanding without the extra pause of translation. It feels great!

Also, I’m very thankful for the opportunities I have while here. I’ve gotten to see lots of incredible things, including El Escorial, and Palacio Real. And there are no signs of stopping in that department. Tomorrow, we’re going to the Congreso, and Saturday to Toledo, followed by a bullfight on Sunday. And I just found out that before we leave, we’re going to Real Madrid match! :) I’m really excited about that! We get to see what their two newest players, Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka, bring to the team.

Anyway, this experience is teaching me so much about Spanish and about myself. I’m so glad I’m here.

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En Las Residencia

Today, we moved into the residencia, and sadly, I don’t have a roommate yet, and if and when I do, she will probably not be Spanish. :( However, Maria Angeles, our Resident Director, told us that we can go to this particular place and they will put us with Spanish speakers, so we can help them with their English and they can help us with our Spanish. And of course, there will be classes, and the Spanish speakers who work here.

Anyway, later today, we’ll be going to Salamanca to spend the weekend. It should be a lot of fun… We’re going to go horseback riding, take a walking tour, and go swimming! That sounds like fun to me!

Next week, we start classes, so I’m interested to see how that is going to be.

But right now, I’m getting familiar with the Residencia.

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En El Centro

Well, here I am in Madrid, in a really nice 4-star hotel for orientation week. Tomorrow we leave for a short trip to Salamanca, which should be a great deal of fun.

Upon arrival here in Madrid, I was instantly struck by the fact that the culture just flows through everything from the buildings and statues to the restaurants and the people. I’m surrounded by such beautiful places here in the center of the city… Not too far from me is Puerta del Sol, which is a big circle in the city where you leave the shade and are just blasted with sun… It’s really a very interesting place, full of people, with lots of news stands and things. The first time I went there, I saw nuns and priests sharing the 10 commandments. Very interesting.

There are many shops and boutiques (I already got my Real Madrid Football Club jersey!), and so many restaurants that it’s almost impossible to decide where to eat.

One interesting thing about the restaurants is that the waiters here are much less attentive than those in the U.S. It’s not that they’re rude, but once you get your food, they basically leave you alone unless you ask for them. However, one lady in┬áthe restaurant where I ate lunch today was super nice and helped me and 2 of the other girls here with our Spanish. She was really nice.

Like I said before, this city breathes culture and history. Everything here seems to be a mix between the progressive and the traditional… But the traditional is so strong.

I’m not really sure what else to add at this point… But stay tuned. :)

~ Erin Hudson

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