Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Not quite a party

It was the last "Adult Education" Spanish class last night and I went along as usual.

A bit before our class was due to end a white haired, pink faced chap poked his head around the door - another Brit obviously. The teacher asked him to hang on for a while.

Later, as we packed up to go, a couple of young Spanish lads (well young to me) scampered into the classroom and pinned a sheet of paper to the notice board. I had a peek and saw it was the end of term marks for an English class.

I packed away my books and headed off down the stairs towards home but I was called back by the teacher. There was a bite to eat and drink, an end of term celebration, wasn't I coming?.

That's what the other Brits were there for of course, they were the Spanish Beginners and the young Spaniards were an English class. We were going to have a jolly cultural interchange.

So you now have three litle knots of people sticking together for safety. Most of us Brit men are wearing some form of Marks and Spencer car coat (we´re that sort of age) and the young Spanish women are wearing velour track suits (they are, after all, country folk). Nobody looks comfortable.

There is a row of formica topped tables, all of slightly different heights, pushed together in the middle of the room with trays of Spanish cakes, a few bottles of sparkling wine or cider and a bottle of pop placed in a neat row along the centre lines of the table. The room is very quiet.

Conversation is clipped. The teachers try to be jolly. We all go "aaahhh" as the corks fly from the fizzy cider bottles. Brits and Dutch sample the Spanish cakes and slide the uneaten portions into their coat pockets. The doughnuts provided by a Dutch woman are sampled gingerly by the Spanish lads. People start to slide off. There are attempts at conversation - mine with a lad with a pin through his eyebrow - starts, hopefully eough with him checking the pronunciation of the English words nipple and bra but it's all downhill from there. I eat more cakes and slide away to find all the Spaniards outside the front door having a ciggy.

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