a perfect Saturday in Alicante

a perfect Saturday in Alicante

People wonder what we do here, and yesterday was as typical as any other.

We woke up to a perfect sunny day. We lingered over coffee and a leisurely breakfast while we caught up on life back home via email, Facebook, and our various news feeds.

About noon, we left, heading across Plaza Luceros to an area we haven’t explored yet. We made note of a driving school and a possible Spanish language school. Todd spotted a pet store: We’ve been looking for an animal rescue where we can volunteer, so we went in. Since they apparently focused on cats, Todd didn’t stay long. The shopkeeper didn’t speak enough English to help me – she thought we wanted to get a pet – so she went out onto the street to pull in a local who spoke more English. They conferred. She looked something up on her computer. He looked something up on his cell phone. After comparing notes, she wrote down a name and phone number. They mentioned ASOKA. I told them I had emailed them but gotten no response. They were not surprised. At this point, several friends came in, and they were recruited to be sure all was translated properly. We left with a possible volunteering contact. Vale!

At this point, we headed down the Rambla to one of our favorite places: Taverna San Pascual. We lingered over the newspaper and 2 liters of sangria, dates wrapped in bacon, potatos bravas, mushrooms sautéed in garlic, and ensalada mixta. Antonio takes good care of us!

While there, we got to chatting with an American girl from Chicago. Turns out Cristina is teaching in a town just up the coast. She loved her 2 years of teaching in Madrid, but teaching in Alicante region has not been as good. So she’ll be returning to Chicago this summer. She’s 32, and that’s tough when you’re on your own. Our experience so far is that the expats here are mostly retired, with a smattering of college students.

After soaking up the sun at the Taverna, we headed to another favorite place: Canada Coffee. We treated ourselves to an afternoon coffee and a pastry and listened to the assorted English conversations going on around us – a little touch of home.

Back at the apartment, we cruised Netflix while I organized pictures and worked on the blog.

A lovely, leisurely day in paradise! Vale!



our Spanish is improving

Important lesson: Spanish in Alicante is NOT our Texas Spanish, or the Castilian Spanish we learned in school.

We had some adjusting to do. First of all: a restroom is an aseo, not a bano. Thanks to the influx of Brits, many are conveniently labelled WC.

I had 5 years of Spanish in middle school and high school, enough to place out of 2 full years of Spanish in college and get grad school admission credit. I took 2 semesters of German in college. What that meant for me was that my first impulse for translation was into German, then into Spanish – it took entirely too long!

That was the case until we took a quick trip to Germany, when Spanish seemed to supersede German. Of course, while in Germany, Todd was greeting and thanking everyone in Spanish. I assured him that that was a good start!

Now, my comprehension is pretty good, especially since people here will slow down and they’re big on gestures. They also are more than willing to use what English they have. So we’re able to conduct business with little problem. In particular, our Mercado and restaurant Spanish has improved a lot.

On our last trip to the Mercado, I was waiting my turn at a verdura stand, behind a blonde teenaged boy. He held 2 euros in his hand. His English had a Germanic accent, and he spoke no Spanish. I figured out that he wanted to buy a kilo of strawberries. But he was confusing the vendor because he was trying to confirm that they were indeed 2 euros per kilo, and she interpreted that as him wanting 2 kilos, even though he was showing her his 2 euros. I intervened to clarify, and: successful transaction!