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, July 15, 2011

Gainfully employed

According to three people I've spoken to this week Murcia is now the seventh largest city in Spain. That's not what it says on Wikipedia or almost any other Internet source I can find (9th or 10th) but it's nice to know that Murcianos are proud enough of their city to want to bump it up the league a couple of spots.

Culebrón is 58.6kms from Murcia yet I don't really know the city that well. I've seen the Cathedral scores of times, visited a few museums etc. but I still let the Tom Tom guide me in and I pay to park. So, when I decided to book up a weeks worth of residential Spanish course Murcia seemed like a good choice. Near enough to be cheap travelling and yet still largely undiscovered, by me at least.

The plan was a school with five lessons a day of Spanish tuition and also to stay with a Spanish host family for a week. I had this vague notion of me sitting, Homer like, on the couch, bottle of beer in hand as the host family and I guffawed along with something on the telly after a hard day of internalising compound conditionals. It didn't work quite like that but it was surprisingly close.

For a start María Ángles doesn't watch much TV. She seems to get her news form the radio and the normal sound as I crossed the threshold was Classical music. The rest of it hasn't been that Homerish either - Mediterranean cuisine and hardly any alcohol at all. The best bit was that I did get to speak and trying to explain about Lingula, the brachiopod, or my views on some Spanish authors, in Spanish, has been exactly the sort of thing I wanted to try to do.

The school, Instituto Hispánico de Murcia, has been good too. It would be easy to start a list of things I would have preferred to be slightly different but the truth is I got the package as described, the teachers were pleasant and skillful and I've probably spoken about half of the Spanish I've spoken all year in their classrooms or with Mª Ángeles over the past week. The cultural programme hasn't been that good so I haven't picked up as much about Murcia as I might have hoped but I don't want to nit pick and I did drive out of town without Tom's help so I must have learned something.

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