Today was our first day at the Colegio de España – us being the 15 students of 300-level Spanish. Our teacher for Spanish 305 is Clara Lomas, and we had an early start meeting under the clock at the Plaza Mayor at 9:30am. Clara brought us to a cafe across from the entrance to the Colegio de España, and she allowed us to have one drink and breakfast pastry each – I ordered a “chocolate” (aka hot chocolate) and a plate of churros. Apparently here in Spain the hot chocolate they serve you is literally a cup of melted chocolate – nothing like the “hot chocolate” of hot water and powder back at home!
The first thing we did when we arrived in the classroom was to re-arrange the chairs in order to form a circle. Luckily the classroom had a couple of left-handed chairs. Then we each received a copy of the printed syllabus and discussed what was expected of us each day in terms of homework, how class is structured, what participation means, and what presentations we are each expected to give – all in Spanish. It was quite a shock for me (and for the others as well) because up till then we were not really speaking 100% Spanish. After we discussed the syllabus, Clara let us off for lunch but told us that we had to meet at the Colegio at 5pm for a tour – in Spanish. It takes 25-30 minutes for me to walk from my house to the Colegio so I was a bit annoyed, especially since our class days are from 10:15-1:15 everyday, but we couldn’t do anything about it.
For lunch I had a yummy bowl of paella, and some strawberry and banana slices (sprinkled with sugar) for dessert.
The tour was interesting because our guide actually told us about the history of the sites we visited, but it was a bit difficult to follow because 1) I was really tired, and 2) he spoke really quickly in Spanish and my translating skills are not yet up to par. We visited places like the Casa de las Conchas, the New Cathedral of Salamanca, and El Museo Art Nouveau y Art Déco en la Casa Lis de Salamanca.
After the tour I headed back home to shower (Pilar prefers for everyone to shower in the evenings so that people can use the bathroom before rushing out the door in the mornings) then have an early 8:30pm dinner. For dinner I had pasta with tomato sauce and bread she soaked with egg and cream, coated in cinnamon and sugar – delicious!