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Hola amigos,

Autumn is upon us and I am loving the colors of the leaves right now. I can feel the change in the air- the holiday festivities are just around the corner and it’s a time for comfort, family, and reflection. Next week is Thanksgiving, which is a very American tradition that isn’t celebrated in Spain. However, I am lucky enough to have my two friends from home, Jordyn and Jules, visiting me. I can’t wait!

This week I had my first private English tutoring session with three niños; two girls and one boy. Their names are Leire, Maria, and Dani and they are only four years old. It’s a big change from teaching English at my school because I can usually converse with my students at Juan Gris, but these little ones will give me that deer-in-headlights blank stare when I say anything in English. They are super adorable, but I’m going to have to get creative with filling our hour together. Besides work, I have made it a goal of mine to explore new places in my town so that I can feel more at home here. This Friday, my friend Elin and I went to this place called Freakafe. It is a quirky café that is decorated with pictures of Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, anime, 80’s American heartthrobs, and more. I forgot to take pictures, but I think Elin and I are going to be regulars there so eventually you’ll see what it looks like. I had my first Spanish hot chocolate and it was so sweet, but almost too much chocolate. It’s essentially melted chocolate in a cup. Afterwards, we went to this 80’s rock bar called Kamakaze and listened to both American and Spanish rock music. It was interesting because I’ve never heard or seen Spanish rock music videos before. 

A strange coincidence also occurred this week…My good friend Megan from the U.S. connected me with her mom’s old friend from her college days. His name is Javier and he met Megan’s mom at a camp in Idaho back in the 80’s. He’s from Spain and he currently lives in Madrid with his four children. Their family is big into traveling and they all speak at least two languages, fortunately for me one of those languages is English. Yesterday we ate a traditional Spanish three course lunch at their house-salad, meatballs with rice, and pineapple. They’re very warm people and I hope to spend more time with them while I’m in Madrid. Later that evening I finally attended my first language exchange with my friends Elin and Renee at a disco bar. It was so cool to talk with people in English and Spanish from all over the world-France, China, Argentina, Costa Rica, the U.K., Algeria, Spain, and the U.S. All in one disco bar.

One of my favorite parts about being abroad is having good conversations with new people and getting to know each other through swapping life stories. This experience has made me realize the importance of human connection and the vastness of opportunities available to us. There is so much out there for us to experience-new places, new people, new cultures, new ways of being. The key to unlocking these treasures is to stay open and leave your comfort zone. I feel very motivated right now to stay open to all of life’s possibilities and have as many new life experiences as I can while I’m alive. I encourage you to try new things, to experiment, and to let those experiences crack you wide open and change you for the better. 

Wishing all the Americans a wonderful Thanksgiving next week! Savor the time with your loved ones and count your blessings. Un abrazo.

Love,

Manders

 

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