Home > Cities traveled > Day 148: Sunshade, moonshadow

Day 148: Sunshade, moonshadow

September 9th, 2011

It’s a strange feeling to be disconnected. Not alone, but just disassociated. Like being Jupiter’s outermost moon, Megaclite, following the great planet about on its journey around the sun but at a different perspective from any other satellite. it’s how I feel now as I sit in a bus of Spaniards and Anglos (English-speakers), all of whom I’ve spent the last six days with in an intensive English-speaking tutoring program for the Spaniards. Each Anglo, was paired up with a Spaniard for almost every hour of the day from 9:00am to 9:00pm and we had to converse with them only in English and help them improve their English speaking fluency and confidence. The Spaniards (or the companies for which they work) pay for the program and the Anglos volunteer their time in exchange for a place to stay in a beautiful (remote) part of Spain and plenty of food and cheap wine. After six days of intense conversations, one-on-one and in groups, about everything possible from family lives to philosophy, politics, religion, and music, it is an odd feeling to be disconnected. The people on the bus are on their phones, talking to each other and making plans for what they’re going to do next week, catching up on email, watching downloaded TV series they’ve missed on their laptops, or planning the next part of their holiday. It appears everyone has something to go back to.

I’m on the bus back from the program. It seems that many people put their lives on hold for this program in the middle of a valley (Valdelavilla) in central Spain and now that they were heading back to their normal lives, it was time to reconnect. Valdelavilla was in a valley with no cell phone reception, one public computer, very slow wifi, and a landline at the front desk that cost about 40 cents/minute. Valdelavilla used to be a small Spanish village that was eventually abandoned and then bought by a hospitality company that now uses it as a type of resort for this English-speaking program and a few private events like weddings and parties. No one lives in this village except for the resort guests. At night, it is just the guests and the wild beasts in the surrounding woods (deer, wild boar, foxes). It made for a very intense program with a small group of about 30 people. When it was over, people left the valley with a mixture of relief and melancholy. The Spaniards were relieved that they could speak and communicate uninhibited in their mother tongue, and everyone with a little melancholy at losing the camaraderie developed over the last few days.

In addition to the fascinating people I got to know at the program, I learned a lot in this last week. I learned new English phrases that I’d never heard before like “hot mess”. What is the difference between shade and shadow? I participated in a Quemada, a Galician tradition to ward off witches.

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I picked up a slight Liverpudlian accent (gone by now). I learned some new jokes from a lovely Australian lady.

Did you hear the one about the centipede?

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How about the lizard?

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I heard (but could not repeat) a Yorkshire ditty.

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And a great game to play when drunk – do you coffeepot when…

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  1. September 18th, 2011 at 23:35 | #1

    Have you heard Jonathan Coulton’s “I’m Your Moon”? http://www.jonathancoulton.com/2006/08/25/thing-a-week-47-im-your-moon/

    • September 19th, 2011 at 01:01 | #2

      I hadn’t… until now. Thanks. :)

  2. September 21st, 2011 at 16:47 | #3

    So would you do it again?

    • September 21st, 2011 at 17:51 | #4

      Yes, definitely. I want to go again next year.

  3. Luis (Valdelavilla)
    September 24th, 2011 at 15:32 | #5

    Hi, Sandy
    Thank you very much. I learnt a lots of things with you, especially about your life’s vision
    The best !!!!

  4. Luis (Valdelavilla)
    September 24th, 2011 at 15:33 | #6

    Hi, Sandy
    Thank you very much. I learnt a lot of things with you, especially about your life’s vision
    The best !!!!

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