One of the things that I normally wouldn't be able to do is have a nice, relaxed conversation with a Spaniard over coffee in the morning.
Participating in intercambios is quite popular, and recommended for people who are learning new languages. On our program's website, there was an inquiry for a student to do a Spanish-English intercambio, and eagerly I sent an email to set up a meeting time.
The person's name was Jaime, so I naturally thought it would be a girl. False. Jaime turned out to be a boy. (Actually, now that I think about it, I don't think I know how to say his name properly...><)
What's the big deal you ask? Well, the idea of meeting up with a person you've found online and have only corresponded with via email for coffee is already awkward for me. But maintaining a conversation half in Spanish, and half in English for 1-2 hours with a boy felt like an uh-oh for me. I mean, what would we talk about? And slash, to be honest, it kind of felt like a weird date. (What is up with this date stuff?!?)
However, I couldn't be like, "Oh, sorry, I don't want to talk to you because you are a boy. Find someone else." That would most definitely make me a third grader.
After emailing back and forth a couple of times, we decided to meet up at Nuevos Ministerios at 10 this morning. Naturally, we couldn't find each other for a good 20 minutes, and I was truly nerve raking, trying to find this dude in the middle of a major street in Madrid. I kept on looking at random people, trying to telepathically ask, "are you Jaime? Are you looking for an Angela?"
Anyways, we finally found each other, and he took us to José Luis, which apparently is very famous for their totilla patatas, a classic Spanish dish. We ordered two café con leche (naturally) and one tortilla española (same thing, just different name), and just started talking.
We decided to talk in English for the first half, and then talk in Spanish for the second half. And the whole conversation was so pleasant! :) We talked about my trips, Spanish history, Spanish geography, the economy, our majors, families, America, etc. etc. Muy agradable.
Around 11:30, we started getting ready to head out, and I took out my wallet, and he goes, "Angela, what are you doing?? No, no, sit, sit. This is on me. I cannot let you pay on our first meeting. Sit."
What a lovely surprise that was! I know the next few words are not going to carry over perfectly the way I want it to, but I felt really taken care of. Ugh, that is the best I've got on trying to materialize the experience through words. Maybe I could say, I was pleasantly surprised by his showcase of manners to a stranger.
Anyways, we both got on the bus, and headed our separate ways, but I think we might meet up next week to practice our conversational skills again.
AND, I know someone is bound to send me an email or a facebook message being, "ooo~ Angela, a Spanish boy!" And to that I say, no. Ya él tiene una noiva. (There's a Spanish lesson for you.) Plus, it's just not like that, people. I agree guys and girls cannot be best friends, but I am trying to break away from the notion that only guys and girls who have a thing for/with each other can grab coffee. Non-emotionally involved people can meet up for coffee. (Especially when the agenda is to practice speaking in a foreign language. LOL)
Y ya está.