Back to School
When I saw signs bearing those words in department stores in August, my heart used to sink. It reminded me that the summer holidays were nearly over and I would be leaving my family again to return to boarding school for another 12 week stretch; not happy times, for either of us. But, here we are, returning to education voluntarily!
Today was our first day at school in Granada. Again, one of the many reasons we came out here to live was to learn the language, and that tends to make life easier anyway if you want to integrate and understand something of the culture. Whilst in London, we did sign up for a year-long course at City Lit, and there is no doubting that this gave us the very basics. However, lessons once a week lasting only 1.5 hours tend not to lead to fluency within a reasonable period of time. Both of us need total immersion!
We have decided to start with 5 weeks at Escuela Delengua (https://www.delengua.es/) as this seems to stack up fairly well when compared to the many other language schools in the city.
Getting up at 6am was not easy. In Spain, there are two types of daylight: on and off. At 6am, daylight is definitely still firmly OFF and driving out of the valley, it was dark apart from the light of the moon. When the sun decides to rise, at around 7:45am, it does so in a hurry and the world suddenly goes from pitch black to daylight in the course of about 15 minutes!
This morning, at that ungodly hour, we also encountered Granada Rush Hour! It has one, as everyone who works in the city seems to take to their cars to arrive at exactly the same time dead on 08:00…or as the Spanish say, mas o menos, or any time between 08:00 and lunchtime.
The school is in a restored old building on the edge of the Albaicin very close to the Plaza Nueva, and we approached with a little apprehension. Neither of us is used to going to school anymore; indeed, we both hated our respective schools growing up.
On arrival, we were ushered into a room with 8 or so other students and a little time was taken to assess our level of language understanding, after which we were divided into groups. Our particular class had 5 students, as some joined the total number after the initial introduction.
As soon as classes began, all apprehension disappeared, mas o menos, and we got stuck straight into grammar in the first class, and conversation in the second. It was totally absorbing, and during the second class I was reminded how much I loved learning and how much I loved the challenge. I was being challenged, and we had to concentrate throughout the entire period; lapse for a moment and you lost the thread.
Both teachers were great: enthusiastic, welcoming, had great diction and understood the level of the class they were teaching. They stretched us at every stage, leading us to find new vocabulary, make mistakes, have a go and make sense of everything we were trying to say. I loved it; absolutely loved it.
We left our classes with, it’s probably safe to say, a lot of confidence in the school and the course, and were positively enthused. Naturally, we headed straight for a bar to mark this auspicious occasion with a beer (or two), in a delightful square with the sun shining and the sky a brilliant blue.
Mind you, as soon as we got home, later in the afternoon, we both collapsed on the bed! And we do it all again tomorrow, and every morning this week; yay!!