Thursday, May 29, 2008

Madrid again!! Coming back to Spain from Portugal felt like a homecoming! I felt like I had been in a foreign country, and I was returning to the non-foreign nation. Once the bus crossed the border, I could speak and understand the language (at least enough to get around), I could read the menus, everything looked familiar!

I sat by an Angolan immigrant to Spain while on the bus, and talked to him in Spanish about world affairs. One of the enjoyable parts of this trip has been meeting immigrants -- so often I meet those who have immigrated to the U.S., but rarely do I meet someone whose bookend nations are both ¨other¨ relative to me.

I was nervous that I had lost my Spanish while in Portugal for 10 days, but oddly I felt like I could speak and understand MORE, not less! I have two theories to explain this -- one, I got used to understanding nothing while in Portugal, so now I feel like I understand a great deal more; two, my brain relaxed, and insted of being stressed about learning the language, it chilled out, and by doing so, is free to understand more.

Kim arrived a few hours ago, she spent the last ten days living with a nice family in western Spain (the good news) and performing the repetitive, mind-numbing task of wrapping and tying one leaf around one sprout, hundreds of times daily, while sitting indoors (the bad news). We´re both shaking our hands free from volunteering on organic farms -- we´re closing that chapter -- and are jazzed about flying to Italia!

We´re leaving the apartment at 3:30 a.m. to check-in at the airport by 4:30 a.m. for our red eye to Rome. By breakfast time tomorrow, we´ll be eating gelado and staring at the Coluisseum.