"What do you think of the Spanish men?" one twelve year old boy wanted to know.
"Do you have a boyfriend?" another asked. The other teacher, Pilar, interrupted.
"That's a personal question. We are not asking personal questions, we're asking interesting questions."
"I think it's interesting," thirteen year old Javier interjected.
"She doesn't have to answer that, Javier. Sergio, what's your question for Megan?"
"Have you got a boyfriend?"
My favorite part about this exchange is that Sergio wasn't being insolent, he just didn't understand any of the English that had just been spoken by his teacher. It's amusing as hell and I love it.
I find it fascinating also to see how United States culture has infiltrated the Spanish lexicon. Mentioning Lady Gaga, for example, seems ubiquitously pleasing. One student asked me, as if I knew her personally, "Is she actually a man?"
And yet another guarantor of shocked murmurings is my being vegetarian. "That is very funny because my idea of Americans is that they are all.. all.." (They think we're all fat. I tried to spread some of the blame by telling them the U.K. was number two - I possibly read that somewhere, but in any case I'm okay with dissing England.) One class seemed quite concerned upon hearing the news: "But are you getting your vitamins?" The fifteen year old in the front row had assured me he was normal when he moved his backpack to sit in the front-middle row, but later Pilar also told him he wasn't allowed to talk to me anymore. I appreciated this kid anyway, though, because when I told them my first day in Madrid was my birthday and I hadn't known people at the time, he immediately broke out singing "Hoppy Bartheday to yooo," with which the rest of the class soon joined. A concerned girl in the backseat also passed a dragonfly band-aid up through four rows when she noticed I had a hangnail.
Another thing people love is when I show the picture of Machu Picchu ("Machu Picchu! HAHAHA"), and the most psychotic image of Joe I could find in my collection of freaky photos. I promise you, Spain, this is tame compared to some in which I've been the star figure, but perhaps you just can't hack the Marcouiller Mania.
Okay but seriously, I'm starting to hallucinate.. can't hack it either.
Also had my first two teacher lessons - intimidation: leading a lesson for teachers. We spent the higher-level class discussing immigration and the economy and the strike. One teacher told me very adamantly: "The problem is this: Spanish politics." He then asked me how one would go about getting citizenship in the United States, so that's on my agenda for next week's lesson. My question is, if I set him up with a free-pass to the United States by marrying him, do I then also have an automatic free-pass to Spain? Worth considering..