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Hala, Madrid

My life is messy.

In the literal sense, as I walk into my apartment after returning from almost a week in Santa Pola, I let out a long, arduous sigh. My room looks like a bomb went off inside of it. I've tossed clothes everywhere while packing -- on the floor, the bed, chairs, any available, empty space -- , there is still trash that should've been taken out before I  left, my fridge contains a half jar of jam and about 3 eggs...

Instead of cleaning up my mess at 11:00 at night, I've decided to write instead. The mess can wait until tomorrow (life motto).

I want to tell you guys about the last week, and the last couple of months here in Spain. How radically different they've been from when I first began my journey here in August. What I´ve experienced, and struggled with, and learned.

Gah, what I´ve learned. If I could sum up this entire year in Spain it could probably be encompassed in that one statement. Which is honestly why I haven´t been able to write about it as much.. my head is constantly swarming with new information, moments, and stories I want to tell -- but where do I even begin? How do I wrap it in a bow and make it something concise and inspiring and worthy of one blog?

My problem is that I feel like this is impossible. Let me try to explain...

Earlier today I was sitting on the beach with some of my Spanish friends -- Raul, my Spanish student I met in the town that I teach in, who graciously invited me to spend a week in Alicante with his friends and family for the puente, his nephew Adrian, a 23 year old soon-to-be engineer, their friends they grew up with, Jano and Noelia (sidenote -- Noelia is my new favorite Spanish name), and Jano´s parents Rafa and Carmen. Carmen reminds me a lot of my own mother. Gracious, selfless, full of life when she´s around the people she loves. As she began walking towards the water, I saw her roll up her sleeves to take in the sun; and visions of my mother started flashing in my mind. Moments with my family, so similar to this one. On a beach somewhere familiar, in a town where I know the best places to eat and the best bars and where I remember digging sandcastles in the hot sun... I watch as Rafa, her husband, follows her with his eyes..his hands on his hips, gazing into the afternoon sun. And then within a breath he steadily begins to follow her to the rocks on the edge of the water. Another sidenote, the romantic in me died at this moment, especially when he sat down and joined her to overlook the sea, taking it all in after God knows how many years together.. They have the strong and quiet kind of love that I see a lot here in Spain. That familial strength that I´ve only ever witnessed in Spanish-speaking countries.

Spain has taught me a lot about that -- the importance of connections and relationships. Its also has inspired in me a profound love for intercambios. Exchanging languages, especially with a bit of understanding on each side, is absolutely incredible. Finding commonalities in our words and  our little terms and catch-phrases that we believe only belong to our own cultures. The shock and giddy surprise we feel when we relate to each other in that moment of connection. I´ve witnessed this in moments at my school sitting in the cafeteria gabbing with my co-teachers over food and hangovers (yup, everyone knows the meaning of that word), with my little ones who have their first crushes or get in a fight with their friends over the same things I did when I was their age, and with my Spanish friends that I´ve made here...singing Reggaeton songs or watching the Real Madrid game and Rafa looking over at me and saying ¨Victoria, esta es nuestra Superbowl!¨

If you haven´t watched futbol with a band of Spaniards yet, you´re seriously missing out on one of the best experiences, cultural and just in general..

What else have I learned in these past 8 months?

I´ve learned, with much lucha (struggle) how to start speaking up. I´m a generally quiet person. I only like to speak when I feel confident in what I´m going to say, and I only like to say something if I know that it matters. That it has a purpose. In Santa Pola, my friends Raul and Adrian challenged me to a day where we would only speak in Spanish. At first, I was really excited. ¨This is going to be good for me,¨I thought to myself as I went to bed that night. The next day when I woke up and walked outside to greet them, I froze. With Spanish and English spinning around in my head, I had no idea what to say and had no clue how to say it. Therefore, I didn´t say much. And although I did decently well early on in the day (to be debated, but I was proud of my elementary conversational skills), by the time we got to lunch to meet up with a few of their friends, I felt exhausted. Defeated. I sat and listened most of the 2 hours while we ate (which honestly is my preferred way of being, I love to observe).

But observing is only part of participating, only part of the challenge, only part of really learning.

So when we arrived a few hours later to watch the Real Madrid - Munich match at Rafa and Carmen´s, I decided to give it one last go. Carmen chose to sit down beside me during the game, and this weird feeling of calm came over me. I mentioned before how she reminds me a bit of my own mom, and I think this familiarity instantly flipped a switch in my behavior, in my mind. She started speaking to me and her son kept telling her ¨despacio, ma¨, but the weird thing is, I didn´t need her to slow down. Even if she was speaking rapidly, it was all making sense. Again, maybe it was the familiarity, maybe it was that patience, that grace I saw in her too, but I got it. It clicked, and we had this great little chat about something as simple and average as our daily work commutes -- but thats all it takes, guys.

Its as simple as that. That tiny connection filled my heart and I was overwhelmed with gratitude, and excitement.

I spoke up, and the rest followed...


I have two months left here in Spain. A weird mixture of sadness and readiness consumes me, like I´m sure it does the rest of us fellow Auxilliars. We´ve all explored and experienced and learned so much. We have so much to take away from this, and yet still a bit more to learn.

That is what I hope for the rest of my time left here. To keep improving my Spanish, to really dig in deep on the relationships I want to keep. To see and experience a few more things that surprise and move me.

But I do know one thing for sure.

Living and teaching in Spain has taught me more about life in one year than I think I´ve learned in the past 25 put together, and I am so grateful.



Day Trip: Sierra de Madrid


If you’re looking for something fun and outdoorsy to do now that the weather is finally starting to warm up in Madrid, then a day trip to the Sierra de Madrid is for you!

The trail starts at a little outpost called Puerto de los Cotos and is relatively easy for those new to hiking, a fact to which I can personally attest, having just completed it as my first major hike since I was little. Despite my misfortune of making the trek before all the snow had melted and having to stomp through it in very soggy sneakers, I still found the course manageable and just the right amount of challenging.

 Even for the more experienced hikers out there, this trail does not disappoint. Its wide variety of landscapes are breathtaking and keep you guessing as to what you’re going to find “just around the riverbend.” From pine-covered mountains, to steep rock walls, to trickling streams, rushing rivers, rolling fields of grass, and majestic lakes, the Sierra de Madrid offers a little bit of everything.





Meet Brianna, one of our Teach in Spain + 4 Weeks of Spanish Immersion participants for the 2017-2018 academic year!  Check out what she has to say about her experience as a Language and Culture Assistant in Madrid.

Why did you want to teach English in Spain?  What did you hope to learn, gain, and contribute?

I had always known that I wanted to teach abroad, but had never really considered where. One of my coworkers told me about how she had taught English in Spain through CIEE. She absolutely loved the program, and her enthusiasm got me really interested. After doing my research, I knew that the CIEE 4-week immersion program was for me! I would be able to learn Spanish (a longtime goal), live and teach abroad, and add a new experience to my career as an ESL teacher.


Tell us about your daily routine as an English teacher.

I work at an amazing primary school located an hour outside of Madrid city center. Every day I take the bus from Moncloa to Robledo de Chavela at 7:45am. We (there are four auxiliares at our school) arrive to the school around 9:00am.  What our typical day looks like in terms of activities and participation varies based on the grade, teacher, and subject. I work with fourth and fifth graders and have a wide variety of responsibilities. In the classroom, I often read aloud to the students, review their workbook activities with them, and play vocabulary games.

Tell us about your host family experience.

My host family was incredible! My host family consisted of my host mom, dad, and brother and their dog Moto. When I wasn’t studying for class, I would hang out on their beautiful balcony. They lived by the river in Madrid, so we had beautiful views and a nice park to visit. My family was so kind and supportive, and living with them really helped improve my Spanish.

What were your Spanish immersion classes like?

The language immersion classes were awesome! Coming into the program, I had a lot of gaps in my knowledge due to the fact that I had only been studying for two months, but the teachers were really good about making things easy to understand. The activities were all hands-on, and the two teachers each had their own style and method for teaching.  Overall, the school was in a good, central location, the classes were the perfect size for both discussions and small group activities, and I feel like my Spanish improved significantly within that month.


What is the funniest thing a student said while you were teaching?

Students say hilarious things all the time! Sometimes, students get a little confused switching between languages – for example, when a student told the teacher that a synopsis is when a magician puts you to sleep.  When you’re in a school setting, no matter the age group, students are always saying hilarious things!

What advice would you give to an incoming CIEE teacher in Spain?

I think that my biggest piece of advice would be to make the most of your experience here, without jeopardizing your students. I wholeheartedly believe in traveling whenever you can, going out for drinks and tapas with friends, and having the best Spanish experience that you can. That being said, we are here to be auxiliares, work in the schools, and help our students improve their English. Our fun should never get in the way of us being professional and doing the best at our jobs. You should (and can!) live your best life while always remembering to give your students the best that you can.



A Week's Vacation in Three Parts: Asturias

The trip started, as most do, with a car, a contract, and a discussion on whether or not we should pay for a prepaid tank of gas.  But I’ll fast forward through those nitty-gritties. On the road we went. Destination? Oviedo. Asturias would be our first stop.

The way there felt like we were rolling through that ride at Disney where you pass through different movie sets, except we rolled through seasons.  One second we were winding between snow-covered mountains, the next we were among the greenest hills I’d ever seen. Probably one of my favorite observations from the trip was that you’ll be on the highway and the speed limit will be 120 km/h, then it’ll be 90 km/h, eventually getting to 30 km/h when you go through a town.  These towns consist of a 1 to 2-minute stretch of highway (one lane, each direction) and on the mountain side of the road there’s a pharmacy, a bar, and laundry hanging out the window of homes. The other side is a drop down (I didn’t look). Before you know it, the town name is on a rectangular white sign with a diagonal red line through it signaling “you are now leaving” whatever town it was.  The speed limit jumps back up. We’d do this dance many times along the way.

We made only one stop on the way, to purchase jamón chips, of course, so we got to Oviedo just when the sun was setting around 8:30pm.  I’d picked this particular place to stay because it had beautiful views of the city. I’ve learned that if a place has beautiful views, that usually means the drive to get to it requires going up steep hills often with twisties.  Also picked it for the breakfast the next day. The room had a view and it was breathtaking. At night we could see the town lit up like the reflection of stars in a tiny pond between the mountains.

By 10:15pm we were seated at Tierra de Astur, recommended to us by the hotel and a popular spot on Calle Gascona--the street of cider.  This is where the major sidrerias are. Once you order your 3€ bottle of cider, the waiter will perform the pour. Proper pour position is: bottle is lifted above head, arm straight up in the air, eyes looking straight ahead, not up at bottle, glass is held in other hand below waist, that arm is pointing downward, commence pour.  Beware of some drizzle on your ankles! No one says that, but now I’ve told you.

Along with our yummy cider, we wanted to have fabada--the special Asturian stew of fava beans and Spanish meats.  They were out of it! So we had a similar stew instead, with cabbage. It was delish. The chorizo was amazing and having the bread to sop up every last bit was a life-saver.  Oh my goodness, I skipped perhaps the best part of the meal. We started with a wonderful cheese--Rey Silo. It arrived beautifully laid out on a block of wood with some quince (sweet) paste and apple slices.  I loved the cheese so much, I wrote down its name in my phone. It forced me to create a memo on my phone devoted to “Cheeses We Like.”

We finished off the meal with what the waiter suggested as a typical Asturian dessert: leche frita (fried milk).  It came cinnamon-sugared-up in a bed of tasty creamy yellow liquid.  Inside the fried exterior was a soft milky interior. All of this for 25€ people, get going!

The next morning we had breakfast in a room with windows for walls showing the beautiful views of the city.  At times it felt like we were looking at a green screen. It was hard to yank ourselves away, but we managed to do so and headed out to see some of Oviedo in the daytime.  We had to hustle because our next stop for the night was in Pembes--about 112 miles away. And we needed to stop in Gijón, Covadonga, and somewhere in the Cabrales region for a cheese tasting.  

We made a point of looking for Mafalda in Oviedo and we found her on a bench in a park!  After a solid photoshoot, we walked around. There were Botero statues, rainbow-painted benches, and a long line outside of Starbucks because they were handing out cups for a free drink.  We purchased 2 disposable cameras and headed for Gijón.

In Gijón we walked along the beach for a bit, took some pics with the established photo-op--Gijón in red letters on the waterfront--and got back in the car to go to Covadonga.  Along the way we pulled over for souvenirs. How could I not stop, it was a giant building filled with souvenirs. I left without a purchase and regret.

In Covadonga we circled around and around the same small area ready to pounce on a parking spot.  A giant waterfall jutting out of an imposing mountain cascaded into a tiny reservoir. People were walking up the side of it to go into a cave that housed a chapel and shelves of candles.  We would do the same.

If this post sounds a little packed, I’d like to tell you that the trip was more than a little packed, to the point where it’s hard to recall what was done on which day.  I’m getting stressed just writing about it. But I’m also grateful.

After Covadonga, we called a cheese factory to see if they were open for tours.  Luckily they were. I haven’t been that close to real cows perhaps ever. We even watched them get milked by a machine!  And we saw a baby calf. The tour finished with some samples. Queso de cabrales is not for the faint of heart, I’ll leave it at that.  

Leaving the cheese factory, I was struck by how peaceful it felt to be standing in the middle of fields and mountains.  My city-self is not always at ease in the midst of wide open spaces. But here, I breathed it in. And how wonderful it was.  Asturias.

Stepping Out of the Book!

So, I have spent the school year living with Raquel - possibly the coolest teacher ever.  She is funny and brilliant and inspiring... This year Raquel is teaching 1st grade at the school I am at and, even though I do not have the chance to be in her classroom, I have gotten the chance to witness her ideas in action as I work with the other 1st grade class and see the various projects that the students get to take home every couple of weeks.   

You see, the 1st graders don’t have books for their subjects.  Instead, the teachers create worksheets, arts and crafts, and the like that are turned into lapbooks.  These lapbooks include all the information that the students would find in their books (if they had them) but present the information in a much more engaging and hands-on manner.  

After seeing how great the lapbooks always seem to look and the pride the 1st grade students take in the work that they completed, I decided to take some initiative and see if it might be possible to try a similar idea with the 2nd graders.  Therefore, after returning from Semana Santa, I talked with the teacher I work with, I borrowed the Teacher’s edition of the 2nd grade Natural Science book and began looking through the unit that we were beginning - all about "How my body moves".  I went through the various pages, looking at the sections of our body, the bones in our body, the way our muscles work, our joints, and how we care for and protect our body.

It took a couple hours to find all the things I wanted in order to include all the information and present it in a fun way but, in the end, I am happy with how it turned out!  While I may not always be able to take the time to prepare lapbooks for every subject and every unit, I hope that the students will benefit from the break from the book.  I know that I have!

(Ex 33:14)



A Spain I Call Home


“Ellen, guapa! Qué tal? Cómo fue tu viaje?”

Walking through the front door to CEIP San Fernando the first day back from Semana Santa, I was instantly greeted by these welcoming words and kisses on both cheeks from Rosa, the physical education teacher. A spirited woman and just about the friendliest person on the planet, Rosa is part of the reason I feel like I can call Spain a home.

When I made the decision to move to Madrid for Teach Abroad, I was extremely grateful and excited beyond measure. Two of my lifelong dreams have always been to 1) live in a foreign country and 2) become fluent in Spanish. So basically, this was the best decision I could ever make.

My first couple of months in Madrid were indeed a dream come true. I spent my spare time wandering down cobblestone streets, admiring gorgeous architecture, meandering through parks, visiting ancient ruins, and pinching myself to make sure that everything was real.

As incredibly happy as I was, however, it didn’t take long to feel just how far away I was from my amazing network of friends and family. Having moved to a new continent on my own, I hadn’t yet developed a new network of people, and so there were many moments when I missed the simple things: movie nights, family dinners, and just having people to sit around and do nothing with.

Don’t get me wrong, there was not a single instant when I regretted my decision to move. From the moment I arrived in Spain I felt perfectly comfortable, but being so far from my support system in the U.S. made me realize that for Spain to truly be a home, I needed to establish deeper roots.

Oddly enough, giving private English classes ended up providing me with a major sense of belonging. I happily agreed when two of the teachers at my school, Rosa and Laura, asked me to give joint private lessons to their fifteen-year-old daughters, thinking that the extra cash would be great. Little did I know, the personal relationships I would develop with those two teachers was the best form of payment.

Rosa and Laura take turns driving me to one of their houses, feeding me snacks, and kindly bringing me to the train station after the lessons are over. It has been incredible seeing how close the two families are and getting a direct glimpse into Spanish culture. It has been even more amazing how they’ve so effortlessly invited into their world to experience it for myself.

Rosa and Laura stay up to date on my life, always asking me about my travel plans and checking in with me whenever I’ve been sick. Their warmth and caring always brightens up my day and has helped integrate me into the community of the other teachers at my school. Not to mention, my Spanish has improved tremendously throughout all my conversations with them.

Now being seven months into the program, I’ve built up my much-needed support system of friends from both the U.S. and all over the world. But it’s Rosa and Laura that make me feel to connected to Spain and its wonderful culture, and for that I am so grateful.


MY 20th POST!!!!!  As my blog-journey turns 20 posts old, my teaching journey turns just over 6 months old/young.  Half a year! If I had one of those photo albums dedicated to “my new baby” (teaching baby, that is), well, the thing would be filled and I’d have to buy a new one.  I’m pretty sure I’ve taken at least 3,000 photos since arriving. At least. And I gotta say, I feel more confident as a teacher than ever.

This one class that I used to dread going to has been such a learning experience.  I realized that I was imagining the students to be worse than they actually are. They’re 1º ESO for cryin’ out loud!  Babies! If I go to class already feeling resistant to it, then it’s not gonna go well for anybody. Instead I’ve loosened up, and it’s felt much better.  I have fun with them and take advantage of my position as an assistant, dabbling in discipline when I feel it’s extremely necessary.

This week a teacher prepared an activity for me to lead in that class.  I read through pages of a textbook while the students listened and tried to fill in sentences with words missing.  I took the opportunity to practice public speaking: projecting, standing still, enunciating, taking my time. As someone who’s always had stage fright, I felt strong.  Like I said to my older students the other day, if you’re a shy speaker or a bit soft around the edges, boy, will middle-schoolers whip you into SHAPE. If they smell the slightest bit of weakness on you, you’re done for.  They’re like sharks: one whiff of blood… Unlike sharks (culturally speaking), they can be sweet and they’re still in such an in-between period of life. They may very well be obnoxious sometimes, but that can be molded. Thankfully they’re not already cynical adults stuck in their ways.

Speaking of public speaking, I’m coaching a team of five 1º Bachillerato students for a debate competition in June.  I had an epiphany the other day that a lot of the work I’ve done with writing is applicable to speaking debate-style.  I was given a handout that explains the organization of the debate (introduction, rebuttals, etc.) and realized that the emphasis on how to structure spoken arguments is not that different from structuring written ones.  When introducing a point, it helps to illustrate it with examples from real life--just like backing up a claim with evidence in an essay.

I thought of the debate training, though, because it is yet another chance for me to work on speaking skills--confident speaking skills.  When I explained to the students that they’ll need to pay attention to their body language, tone, volume, eye contact, clarity, I was practicing all of those techniques myself.  I whispered and shouted, raised my voice at one point and lowered it at another, stared at a student (to show what not to do)... One of my favorite things to do in classes is perform body language that is ineffective: leaning against the wall, playing with hair, laughing at a co-presenter.  After this, they really get the picture (for the most part...undoubtedly some students will continue these habits).

If you’re reading this, future auxiliar, just know that there’s a plethora of opportunities to learn and grow beyond how to be teacherly.  Whatever profession you end up in, these skills will be of the essence. You’ll need them at the very least for job interviews! The other stuff, like letting go of a resistance you may have based upon something imagined, applies to everything.  

Packing for Winter in Madrid

When I made the decision to move across the Atlantic ocean to Spain, there were some things I knew I would miss, like large breakfasts, bagels, and Target. But there were also a lot of things I was looking forward to leaving behind, such as rain, snow and freezing temperatures.

Unfortunately, it turns out my perception of Spain as a sunny vacation destination was slightly exaggerated. While summer may be swelteringly hot, it does not last all year and its residents are not exempt from braving through other kinds of weather conditions.

Not only have I been caught out in the rain more times than I’d like, but there have been a couple of occasions when I simply stared up at the sky in shock as white, fluffy flakes of snow came falling down. I’ve woken up on countless December, January, and February mornings to freezing temperatures, and spent a lot of time next to a radiator trying to warm up by numb fingers and toes.


So, if you’re planning on living in Spain anytime from November through March, here’s a list of essentials to bring:

  • Umbrella
  • Rain jacket
  • Rain boots (or waterproof shoes)
  • Winter jacket
  • Earmuffs, scarf, and/or hat
  • Thick socks
  • Long-sleeve shirts
  • Sweaters/cardigans

Of course, don’t let my melodrama scare you away! A Spanish winter is still one million times better than a New England one. There’s no need for heavy snow boots and on average temperatures are much, much warmer. I’d take that over being buried in several inches of snow any day of the year.

Jamón Chips

We need to talk about jamón chips.  Jamón potato chips. Jamón-flavored potato chips.  They are heavenly. They are so weird, but you don’t even think about that because they are so delicious.  They are salty, but not too salty (while you’re eating them) to the point where you’re wondering why they’re so salty and what preservatives and flavoring methods have been used.  No. No, no, no. Ruffles jamón chips are deliciousness in a purplish-maroon bag.

Jamon bien
Image from https://www.pepsico.es/brands/information/products/ruffles/08410199008329

Everyone here eats them.  Well, maybe not everyone, but at least some people in every sociologically-determined group eats jamón chips.  My point is that they’re just not local fanfare for tourists. Everyone here knows jamón is a big deal. You can have it serrano-style, ibérico-style, York-style, the list goes on.  You can have it on sandwiches, in crepes, on eggs, on a box, on a fox, in a house, with green eggs and ham, I say! It’s one of the symbols of the city/country. Museo del Jamón is a temple for locals and tourists alike; cheap bocadillos of jamón (and other specialty meats) abound along with cañas of beer.  If you haven’t seen legs of jamón hanging from some type of surface, you may as well erase Madrid from your list of “Cities I’ve Visited.”  BUT, if you have tried a jamón chips, feel free to write that one back in.

Crunchy, crispy, jamón chips can be purchased in bags of all sizes.  For as little as 60-cents for a small “individual-sized” bag—do not be fooled, these are not sufficient for one person—and as much as probably no more than €1.50 for a “large” bag.  That large one may satisfy two people, but I’d buy another just to be prepared. And buy some more for your trip home! And some more for your family members anxiously awaiting souvenirs!  And then maybe some for your coworkers! And heck, why not a lifetime supply to always snack on!

I’ve never seen them in the U.S, and this concerns me.  I’m sure I will deeply miss jamón chips. They satisfy a savory craving unlike any other.  For now, I will focus on the fact that they are right at my fingertips (and then lingering on them until the ceremonial hand-washing occurs—this would ideally take place after the ceremonial hand-licking, and yes, your entire hand, because crumbs will accumulate all over as you reach in for these treasures).  

Just be sure to have a glass of water nearby when you decide to indulge.


For this week’s post I’m just going to briefly touch on something I’ve been thinking about for a while here:  the omnipresence of English. No, no, I don’t mean tourists or expats speaking in English. I mean the integration of the language into daily Spanish life.  Every week I pass yet another advertisement or sign of some sort that uses English.

What strikes me the most is the fact that the opposite does not seem to occur in New York.  In some neighborhoods it does. For example, in Washington Heights there are ads translated into Spanish because the predominant community there speaks Spanish.  One of my favorites is a New York Lottery ad at a bus stop that I cannot find a picture of, unfortunately.

But what’s different is that these ads exist in English and are translated to specifically target Spanish-speaking communities.  Here, neighborhood differences don’t seem to determine whether or not there’s an ad in English or with an English word. Check out how in this ad for an upcoming production of Young Frankenstein the whole thing is in Spanish except for that word “casting” thrown in there.  It’s located near the Royal Palace.





Or how in the window of this glasses shop they’re advertising “New Sun Collection” -- and this one’s not even close to the city-center.




This is one of my favorites.  It doesn’t really count because it’s the name of a store, but I have to share it.  Reader, meet Aristocrazy.




This use of English is the kind that has a match in the States.  One widespread use of Spanish in the U.S. is Rafael Nadal’s Nike/clothing line.  “Vamos, Rafa” is on hats, t-shirts, etc. But here, “Ready?” is at the bottom of advertisements for major internet-provider and phone network Vodafone.  These ads extend beyond the city of Madrid into the outer-cities of the province of Madrid. They are on billboards and bus stops.

So many English words have been adopted into Spanish, and this brings me to the next major area of English-incorporation:  speaking. Often you can hear native Spanish-speakers refer to “un show” or “un text” or “un email,” “un brunch,” etc.  Sometimes English words have been translated into a similar Spanish version.  “To troll” is trolear, “to Google” is googlear, but often one will hear English words as they are.

Moral of the story?  I’m not quite sure. The dominance of English sparks a lot of thought.  I’m fascinated when I witness two people from different European countries here communicating in English; it’s the go-to, default language.  It’s clear that I’m lucky to have it as my native tongue. Funny, though, how I wish I had experienced Spanish from a young age the way people here experience English.  

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