Saturday, October 22, 2005

The cast of characters

Last night was birthday dinner for a (now 24 year old) italian fellow named Lorenzo, I think of him as the mayor (el alcalde) of International House, because he is friendly, outgoing, and seems genuinely happy to greet people and know everyone. He wears black horn rimmed glasses, usually sports a hooded sweatshirt, and uses many hand gestures to communicate, though he speaks English, Spanish, Italian and French quite well.

Yo intiento en espanol. . .

La noche hier, tienes un fiesta de compleanos para un intaliano que llama Lorenzo. Me le intiento el es alcalde de International Casa, por que ello es simpatico, extravertido y feliz a encrontrar la gente y sabe todos. Se lleve los gafas negras y un jersey con capucha y se use los manos por explica pero el sabes hablar Ingles, Espanol, Italiano y Francies muy bien.

the rest in english.

Sitting next to Lorzenzo is Edwin, a Parisian with a perfect side part in his hair who wears blazers when we go out. He is rather quiet, smoke Marlboros, and is a bit more standoffish than most at the school. However, he dominates on the dancefloor, smoothly twirling women around, and is a surprisingly good beat boxer as we found out on the street last Friday while walking from Chueca to Sol. When I joined him, his resepct for me ascended.

On the other side of Lorenzo is Landon. Also 24, she lives with Lorenzo and Tomas in a student flat rented from the school. Their kitchen doesn't work. They are all moving out. Landon comes from Tennesee, but lived in Hell's Kitchen before she came to Madrid. She is short, blond, smiley, and quite affectionate with Edwin. She organized the dinner for Lorenzo (at an Italian restaurant). Earlier in the week, we went to see Morcheeba together, but I was sick and concentrated more on my illness than on her or the show.

Tomas sits accross the table from Landon. He is from San Francisco, worked in banking for the last 12 years, and is now taking the time to enjoy life. He is tall, wears thin glasses and sports a shaved head. Tomas always has is digital Canon Elph in his hand, and has affection for the MPEG movie function on the camera. He documents most moments of the evening, and then reviews them imediately. Tomas was a metal head when he was younger and so we have good music conversations. However, he sustained hearing damage when he was younger, so he cannot be in loud environments without earplugs. He also has a bad back, so instead of carrying a backpack, he wheels around a smallish luggage cart with his stuff in it. Tomas is also unhappy with our school, International house, so he may change to Don Quijote with me in a couple of weeks.

Andrew is a tall American fellow with bushy curly black hair who is always sleepy. He lives in New York and has taught little kids since he graduated from University. He's nice.

Accross the room at the other table sits some others.

Phillip is a large, blond, imposing but outgoing, German with a serious affection for partying. He loves to go out until dawn, drink gratuitously, and then talk about it. Last weekend, Phillip introduced me to "all you can drink night" at Casa de la Cervesa. We only stayed for 2 hours until the futbol game was over and then went to the club until 6AM. (probably the reason that I got sick!) Also last week, Phillip was held up at knifepoint as he was leaving the subway. He quickly retreated to the station and emerged again, a few minutes later, with a large group of people. Nothing happened. Phillip comes from Nuremberg, and he will be there when I go. I like him, but I do not want to party my time away in Nuremberg. It will be nice to know someone there though.

Next to Phillip is Stephan from Germany. Though blond, he is a much smaller and more softspoken fellow from Munich. He has been sick most of the time he has been in Madrid. Stephan is a patient talker; last Friday we sat in the cafe at school and talked for 1/2 hour about Germany and America in Spanish. It was one of my better Spanish moments.

Next to Stephan is Kate. When ever she introduces herself she says her name in a strong quick and stern voice, "Kate". She is small, with long black hair and horn rimmed glasses. She goes to school at Colgate and is spending her JYA in Madrid. She is standoffish, rarely attempting to start conversation and is always smoking with a scarf around her neck. I do not know her well.

A tall British fellow with wide set eyes, and a smile like the Cheshire cat is named Andrew as well. He is very outgoing, and seems to have his attention on a million things all at once. He turns his head both ways and repeats the word vale, vale, vale, vale, (OK) all the time. He is very supportive of us new Spanish speakers and spent 1/2 an hour with Annabel (another student in my class) helping her develop her own syllabus for learning vocabulary. He lives in London, but is trying to find work in Madrid while he studies. Pleasantly humble, Andrew admitted to me that coming to Spain has made him realize how poor his speaking skills really are.

Gaby comes from Brighton near 7 points. Her Spanish accent is priceless becasue she adds a delicious British sing song to her words. ?Donde es el Bar? I seem to see Gaby in the street all the time, her long tight black leather coat held aound her waist with a belt. Gaby and I have had the smae conversation many times, simply trying to get the specifics of our trips down. It's nice though becaseu we're both aware of it, and think that it's kind of funny. Gaby is trying to get a job teaching english.

Liam comes from Long Island. He taught guitar to kids before traveling in south America for 4 months and now coming to Madrid to study and teach. He is short, has long hair,is soft spoken and a nice twinkle in his eye. He was as excited as I that Steve Vai is coming to Madrid. Alas I will be in Berlin that night of that concert. I told him to take notes.

The first time I spoke with Erika, I tried communicating in Spanish, and when I asked, A que te dedicas?, she looked at me funny as if I was speaking gibberish. An insecure spanish speaker myself, I tried repeating, and then just reverted to English (though I asked correctly, and my accent on that phrase is pretty good). She told me what she did, in Spanish, and when I didn't understand, she walked away. I haven't given her much of a second chance.

These are just the people from dinner. There are others.


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