On Friday morning we woke up to mint tea awaiting us in the kitchen. We ate breakfast with Maria and Sonia. Maria is from Bilbao as well and is another teacher at the school. We had a great conversation over breakfast. It seems both of them have traveled so much and have so many interesting stories from all they have seen and done. We talked a lot about the difference between just being a tourist and traveling. I hope that wherever I may go in my life, I remain a traveler and actually learn about the community and people I am visiting. That is why it is so great to be able to speak another language. Even though many people in the world speak English, that’s no excuse for not learning another language. We really miss out on so much when we can’t communicate with the people. For example, Maria was telling us about her time she spent in Australia and how everyone she encountered there was so open and friendly and how she had come across a Spaniard who had traveled to Australia as well. She was so eager to talk to him about it, since she had loved it os much. Yet this man was not nearly as enthusiastic about his visit as Maria was. The reason being was because he could not speak English. He had simply gone and seen everything, but didn’t experience anything, which is what traveling is all about. It’s about the people we meet and the experiences we have because of them.
After breakast I got to sit in on a class with a Russian girl named Maria. Since Russian is a complicated language, it is not too hard for Russians to learn Spanish. Maria recently married a man from Mallorca. Although she never imagined living anywhere except Russia, because she loves it so much, it was impossible for her husband to obtain a Russian visa, since he would need to stay in Russia for six months, and is unable to because of his job. I have never had any interactions with people from Russia before, but I really enjoyed talking to Maria. Sonia later informed me that all of the Russian students they have had are always so eager to not only learn the language, but also learn about the Spanish culture, and share their own as well.
The way that Sonia taught Maria seemed very practical. She forced her to speak by asking her questions and commenting about things she would say. She would correct her is she made a mistake, but never too harshly, and then she always allowed Maria to keep going. That’s probably how languages should be taught, except were always so focused on simply memorizing verb tenses that we forget to actually practice for real life situations. Of course, there are so many things that simply cannot be taught in a classroom, you just have to live them.
After the class was finished we all sat on one of the terraces and drank tea while admiring the beautiful surroundings. The trees were all still in bloom, and it smelled os fresh and lovely. The house itself is very beautiful as well. It was owned by a large family, but when the parenst passed away, the children decided to rent it out. They really liked the idea of the language school and the house has been home to the program ever since.
After we finished with our tea, we were given a tour of the house. As lovely as it was in February, I can’t imagine how wonderful it is in the warmer months. There is a pool out back, and many times they have barbecues in the summer. There is even a brick oven where they often roast pigs, although I’m not sure how I feel about that.
After seeing the house, Sonia and Maria took us for a little walk around the town. It is called Arenal and it is super cute. It was so calm and relaxed, it reminded me of Sea isle in the winter. One of the things I noticed right away, even when we were at the airport, was that none of the signs I saw were in Spanish. They were all written in Mallorquin, which is a form of Catalan. Many signs were actually written in English, Spanish, and Mallorquin, although every street name and bus stop was simply in Mallorquin.
Maria and Sonia showed us el Club Náutico. There were so many beautiful sailboats. I really wanted to go on one. Apparently kiteboarding is very big in Mallorca as well, but more in the North of the island, where it is windier.
After touring Arenal, Sonia and Maria made us a fantastic lunch. Fish(my first time eating fish that hasn’t been fried since I’ve been in Spain!) with some delicious veggies, and whole grain bread and cheese, wine, and greek yougurt with honey for dessert. After all of that we were given more tea and some cookies as well. It was a delicious meal and once again we had some great conversations about traveling and life and I was able to practice my Spanish some more, since I usually don’t have too many chances to speak so much Spanish.
After eating we took a nice siesta. I have been so busy in Spain I haven’t had much time for siestas, so it was nice to actually practice this custom for once.
After taking a refhresing nap, I read for a while and researched some places we could go in Mallorca. We found some pretty cool stuff, such as kayaking and cliff diving, but you can really only do those it it’s warmer. But we found some really cool caves we could explore and some other cool sites as well.
We took the bus into Palma. The bus system there was great. It was super easy to use and fairly cheap. While we were riding the bus to the center of town we saw a street market. After admiring the outside of the cathedral for a bit(it was closed when we arrived) we decided to try and find the market we had seen. We ended up walking around for hours, and eventually gave up. The next day we realized we walked in a bunch of circles for hours.
We worked up quit an appetite from so much walking, so we attempted to find some food. Unfortunately, since it’s winter, everything closed early. After looking at several, and even sitting at one restaurant, we found a place and got som tapas. They weren’t the best, but when your hungry, the quality isn’t too important.