This week, I have learned that Spanish is almost meaningless before I drink a cup of coffee and fully wake up. There’s a lot of nodding and smiling pre-coffee in the cafeteria.
I have found a small group to wander the city with, so that has been a huge blessing, and I don’t use the word “blessing” lightly or often. Yesterday, we took the metro to meet a larger group at El Museo de Prado for a tour with una profesora de arte. She was full of interesting tidbits and history to go along with paintings from Velázquez and Goya. Sadly, I was worn out and thirsty, so I didn’t take in as much as I wanted to.
That seems to be a theme. I can only comprehend Spanish if my body is in a good place. I can’t be hungry, thirsty, sleepy, etc. Any state of lacking reverts my brain to its first language, the language of comfort for me, English.
I made my first fun purchase of the trip: a book of Lorca’s poems for children. We had to read una novela de Lorca in my Spanish lit class last semester. It was the hardest Spanish text I had to read, but I got through it, and Lorca is a graduate of Universidad Complutense de Madrid, where I am taking classes this summer. The illustrations are exquisite. I may have to track down prints to frame.
I tested into an intermediate level for my Spanish classes, and that seems to fit well. Yesterday was a lot of review, but it is review I need. No matter how far I get in my Spanish major, I still struggle with conjugation, especially with conjugating the subjunctive. It just doesn’t come naturally.
I am doing much better than that first day, but I am still exhausted. I am sleeping nine hours per night, but I can’t seem to get past the tired. I hope that the weekend will help me reset.