On arriving at my apartment building yesterday, I noticed that the wall across the street stood covered with the usual colorful, motley assortment of posters ("Hubo un tiempo en el que lo mejor de este país fue su música -- 1978-1990, La Edad de Oro del Pop Español -- 5 CD's a precio especial -- La recopilación definitiva con lo mejor del pop de toda una epoca -- Ya A La Venta" Translation: There was a time in which the best of this country was its music -- 1978-1990, The Golden Age of Spanish Pop -- 5 CD's at a special price -- The definitive compilation with the best pop of an entire epoch -- Now On Sale; "Desde Brasil y Holanda -- ZUCO 103 In Concert -- Jueves 25 de Julio, Sala Arena"; Red Hot Chili Peppers -- By The Way -- Nuevo Disco, Ya A La Venta"), indicating that the poster-pasters seem to have to have prevailed in their Darwinian struggle with the city cleaning crews. At least for now. [See journal entry for April 27, not to mention far too numerous entries from last autumn and winter.]
The "post no bills -– posting businesses responsible" notices that the city stenciled on the wall a few months back have been smothered under posters. Which is fine with me. I'll take the cheery anarchy of the adverts over butt-ugly naked wall any day.
I functioned pretty well yesterday, considering I'd gotten next to no sleep on the flights over, managing to unpack, go out for lunch, take myself to a movie (Spiderman -– I had to come to Madrid to see an American summer film), and watch an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer (in Spanish) before falling out before 10 p.m. I was awake at 7 a.m. and out the door by 8:30 to grab a cup of espresso before starting intensive Spanish classes, which I'll be taking this week and next -- classes that came as a slight shock to the system, though a necessary one. My Spanish had slipped during the 2-1/2 months away, the jolting and prodding of the classroom will do me good. The group consists of three women -– Roberta from Italy, Saskia from Germany, Nori from Japan -– all bright and more or less at my level Spanish-wise. Roberta is the most advanced, and she seemed to leap to a judgment that my Spanish didn't measure up, though it is clearly no worse than Saskia's or Nori's. Big deal. The others are very nice, as are the teachers. The profesora for the day's first session, Alicia, is a slave driver and pushes relentlessly, focusing on grammar and the like. The instructor for the second session, Montse -- short, young, smart, pretty, a little bit chunky -- focuses on vocabulary, often bringing in newspaper or magazine articles which feature a challenging array of terms to plow through. Today's piece: "El 23% de los chicos de 14 a 18 años cree justificado que las mujeres cobren menos -- un estudio revela que uno de cada cuatro adolescentes tiene opinions discriminatorias" ("23% of boys from 14 to 18 years old believe it's justified that women earn less -- a study reveals that one out of every four adolescents have discriminatory opinions"). It's interesting to be the only male in the room for a discussion like that.
I have a pile of homework and notes from previous classes to review to get myself a bit more up to speed.
This life -- one big process.
The weather in Madrid today: warm, breezy, sunny, no humidity at all. (Sigh of obnoxious contentment.)