August 2, 2005

8/2/05 Málaga Spain

Bubbling energy that makes you smile

Tried to get up early to do my run. It started out ok, and I finished fair. But it was only 3 miles. The knee is sore but not as bad as the last time. Either way, I'm not happy. Tomorrow is a 7-mile run and I don't think the knee can take that. The only option I can see right now is to take a full week off and try again next Monday. If I can't get it healed, training will be halted and that means no marathon. I just wished I had a bike. At least then I could keep up the endurance work without the impact stress on the knee.

It's just lonely here. Being an older single guy who doesn't speak the language makes it difficult to connect with people. I'm surrounded by twenty-somethings or whole families on holiday at the beach. And I only think my fellow students tolerate me because I'm a nice guy, but I feel as if I'm interfering most of the time.

But, for the most part, I feel this way at home too. On the plus side, I am learning Spanish, albeit really slow, from some good teachers. I have the sun and the sea. And I'm surrounded by some incredible beauty (just too bad I can't touch [smile]).

Just have a down-day. Oh, and I forgot to tell you I misunderstood Ramón yesterday. Class is even later than I thought, 2:30 to 6:30. The Spanish words for 12:30 and 2:30 sound very similar. With the afternoon heat, these classes won't be very productive. But at least I have the morning off to workout and go to the beach. The poor teachers have a pretty long day due to this temporary schedule.

Met my new classmates, Patricio and Gaia are from Italy and Jan is from the Czech Republic. It was if I skipped over a semester. I was so lost. During the breaks I thought I was going to crack with the stress of trying so hard. While everyone else took the break, I kept my seat trying to figure out what we just went over.

I tried to talk to Ramón about it. He said the Italians would probably move up to the advanced class next week because Spanish and Italian are very, very similar. Jan reminds me a lot of Ondrej, a smart kid whose been studying Spanish at school. And Josofin had at least four years of high school Spanish. I understand the grammar but I don't know enough to apply it. It's as if someone explained how each of the tools work on the mechanics bench, then point to a car and said “fix it.”

I can't say I hate school, but I do dread it. I try the best I can. Ramón said I'd be almost starting over if I went down to the lower class, but right now I would rather learn a little material real well, than learn a lot without any understanding to use it at all.

Sat around the table at home working on homework with Gemma and Cheryl. They just have this bubbling energy that makes you smile (even when you don't want to). And put a smile on my face they did. Later we went downstairs to eat at El Chupete. I definitely got lucky again with roommates.

Just wanted to take a short walk along the beach to clear my head before bed. But on the way home, saw Magdalena and Sylvia. Ended up stopping and having a few drinks with them. They were 18 and 19 from Prague and are in the class ahead of me. Unfortunately they are going home this weekend. More people to miss.

Magdalena and Sylvia