Hola! The director of the school here said that Valencia (pronounced Balenthia) is the perfect place to learn Spanish, since very few people here speak English. In the last week, I have found this to be true, and have been humbled by my inability to speak the language adequately in many contexts. I have also been humbled by my students, who with few exceptions know more Spanish than I do (and are helping me…interesting role swap). I had been invited by the school to take Spanish with the students, and at first thought I would drop in from time to time. That’s changed: I’m in class with the students from 9 to 1 Monday-Thursday and doing the homework as well. I’m committed to improve my communication in Spanish as much as I can! My goal is to post my last blog message in Espanol.
Yesterday, we took a walking tour in the older part of the city, the barrio del carmen, very close to my apartment. Stops included the Serrano towers, one of two remaining towers of 12 that guarded the city when it was a kingdom, the Mercado Central, the Valenician government building (regional governments are very independent and influential here), and the Lonja de la Seda, the Silk Exchange building built between 1482 and 1548 that is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. We also briefly toured the Catheral of Valencia and the basilica. I hope to return to all of these spots over the weekend to spend more time and learn more about them (and take more pictures). For now, I have classes to prepare for and Spanish to study! Adios~