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5 posts categorized "Alejandro Sanchez"

Perks and Disadvantages

Busco professor de Ingles.

Hola, mi nombre es Alejandro Sanchez, soy de California y estoy vivendo aqui en Madrid trabajando en un instituto como Assistente de Conversacion…

This is how I respond to most posts about private English classes. The responses I receive are somewhere along the lines of “Gracias, pero buscamos un professor nativo en Ingles.”

Nativo en Ingles?

I am not a native English speaker?


I am Mexican-American, I have tan skin, black hair and dark brown eyes. I was brought up speaking Spanish, but my superior language is English, and I have lived most of my life in California. There are many perks to these characteristics, one of them which I was told as soon as I arrived was that I look Spanish so that pickpockets and scammers wouldn’t target me as much because I do not look like a tourist. More important, I am proud that I was brought up speaking Spanish because I can communicate easier here in Madrid. But when people here read my name they assume Spanish not American; which is true, Alejandro Sanchez is a Spanish name, but I am also American.

In my posts, I respond to the people in Spanish because their posts are written in Spanish. Maybe because of this they assume I am Spanish, so I guess I must respond in English to change that perception. A woman, who posted about babysitting her twenty-month-old child, went as far as telling me that she didn’t want to work together because she wanted her baby to pick up an American accent. She assumed that I didn’t have an American accent just by reading my name.

Well jokes on her, I have had people here in Madrid say that they love my American accent. (hair flip)

It is a bit frustrating that I haven’t had much luck getting private teaching classes, but I can’t change who I am, nor would I. I love my heritage, I love my brown skin and I love that I speak Spanish and English.  

Big Planet, Small World

Everything happens for a reason.

There are some people that believe this statement; others say that the things that happen are a mere coincidence. Even though I feel that I am a logical thinker, I want to say that I believe everything happens for a reason. 

One day I had just gotten home from work...

For context it is smart to add that I work in the evenings. A bit strange no? Well unlike many of the Language assistants here in Spain, I am one of the few that works in a vocational school; therefore, I work with adults and at night. It may seem terrible, but it is not as bad as it seems. I will make a post about that in the future.

Continuing on... I got to my flat around 20:30. Starving, I prop open the refrigerator door to find a potato, some slices of cheese and a yogurt. This quantity of food would not sustain the amount of hunger I had. So, I began debating what to do. I could go to the market to buy more food, but I am too hungry to wait for the food to cook. But I was a bit tired from work, so I did not really want to go out. It was a school night. Decisions, decisions.

 I finally decided to go to a burger restaurant that I was told would be the best burger I would ever eat, so I wanted to see if it was true, also it was close to home. I walked into the restaurant and noticed it was empty. I asked for a table, but the waiter told me the establishment was closed. Hangrily I thought to myself, “Why don’t you lock the doors then!” But just like that I was back in step one; do I try go buy food to cook or do I try to find a new place to eat. Disappointed with the hamburger placed being closed, I gave up hope and started walking home. Then I thought to myself, I don’t feel like cooking, I have a couple Euros to spare, and I’m in Madrid. Why not go out to eat. I hopped on the metro and headed to the city center. I had a specific place I wanted to go to. There is a Mexican restaurant that sells 1 Euro tacos, and being Mexican myself I was a little homesick for some spice. I arrived at the establishment to find a line of about 20 people curving outside the door, at this point my cravings for Mexican food was greater than my desire to eat so I decided to wait it out.

The line was moving slow, so I decided to eavesdrop on the conversations of other people in line to make the time go by faster. I realized the people in front of me were switching from English to Spanish as they conversed and listening in more depth they were actually talking about California. What a coincidence, my hometown. I wanted to jump in and say, “Hey, I’m from California too!” But I am a bit shy and specially in situations like this, I don’t like to interrupt because I think people will think I am being rude. Some minutes went by and I just stood there nervously debating if I should join the conversation or just keep to myself. In the end I thought the worst that will happen is that they will ignore me, carry on with their conversation and I will go back to my thoughts. I took the risk and asked them if they were from California. Not only were they from California, they were from Mexico too and one of them was from even from the city where I was born. What a small world, in a city of three million people I happen to stand in line next to some that have the same roots as me. We continued to talk all the way to the front of the line and after I finished ordering, I saw that they had set a chair for me at their table.

On this day, I met some incredible people and ate delicious tacos, and all of this would not have happened if I stayed home or if the burger restaurant had been opened. So yeah, if you ask me some things do happen for a reason.

Hallows' Eve

Being from the United States, Halloween is a must for my family. We decorate the house with spiderwebs and most of our costumes are DIY because we can be a bit more creative with our ideas. I find it heartfelt that some stores here in Madrid embrace the holiday and decorate their storefronts, it makes it feel a little bit like home.

But the perspective of Halloween here in Spain and other parts of Europe is different than in the USA. For example, last Saturday night some friends had a small reunion to celebrate the holiday; I dressed up as John Travolta’s Danny Zuko from the movie Grease, dresses all black with the famous “T Birds” logo on my back. I thought I looked pretty well but I was approached by one of their Spanish friends who had his face painted like a skeleton and asked me why I did not dress up. I explained to him my costume but he just gave me a puzzled look. Two days ago, a German international student studying here in Madrid asked me what I was gonna be for Halloween, I jokingly replied a “sexy cat.” She also looked at me confused and responded that that was not scary.

After this I began to see the picture. Halloween in Spain is about the creepy and the freighting. Locals want to dress up as ghouls, skeletons, vampires and witches. Unlike the United States where most kids’ costume is a character from Disney’s latest movie. This makes a lot of sense if you think about it, Halloween is a celebration of the dead but most of the costumes I see in party supply stores are characters from movies. The famous Gothic literary characters like Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster have been replaced with superheroes and goofy emojis. But in the end it is all about having a good time whether you are dressed as a gory zombie or a charming prince or princess just get as much candy as you can!


The Beautiful Game

With the World Cup around the corner and incredible qualifying matches happening this month, it feels appropriate to make a post about the most popular sport in the world.....fútbol .

The reason fútbol is so popular is because it is a simple game. All you need to play, is a ball. Even if you don’t have a ball, kicking around a tin can creates the same amount of fun. The wealthiest aristocrat can play as well as the most humble child, fútbol has no social restrictions.

This is one of the reasons I have come to love Madrid. You see the sport everywhere. Children dribbling a ball on the street, a pick up game happening in the park; there are few people that do not enjoy the sport. While in the United States you see basketball courts in every corner, here in Madrid you see fútbol pitches. There are goal posts in the dirt, in grass, turf, wooded floors and concrete. Try a slide tackle on that! But even with scrapes and bruises it is hard to stop playing. You have a rush of adrenaline running through you body and your heart beating at your chest forcing you to run faster, and fight harder to score a goal.

In conclusion, when you are in Spain I highly recommend going to a pick up game and playing with the locals. Every time I have gone to play, everyone has been extremely friendly. During the game there may be some yelling and aggressive tones but that is just fútbol talk. At the end of the day everyone is talking to everyone and they will definitely be asking you a lot of questions or even invite you for a drink.

Trying New Things

Back in the States I would always tell myself I should try new things; learn to play the guitar, practice a new language, draw more. These are things I am passionate about but between work, school, and that Los Angeles commute I never seemed to find the time to do them.

Here in Madrid things are much more simple, I have found out that I actually have time to enjoy life. I started drawing again, I ran in Retiro, and I am practicing German (ironic because I am in a Spanish speaking country). I have also begun to travel a bit which brings me to the point of this post. When I travel, I enjoy taking pictures and videos of my experiences like any other person. My problem is that I capture these memories and they end up locked up in my hard-drive never to be seen again. So what I decided to do this time is to create montage video of these memories. Adobe Premiere is a video editing program that like many other things I have wanted to try but never had the time to do it. 

So here is my first attempt with this program. Hope you enjoy it.

 And if you are in Madrid do not be afraid to try new this, even if its sitting on a bench people watch. 
The simplest things can bring much joy.

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