Spain—Day 9: Meet the Cast

Today I thought I’d introduce you guys to the people I’ve been spending time with in Valencia this week.

First up is Jerome. Jerome one of my classmates, and also one of my roommates. So he’s a guy I spend practically every waking hour with. He’s from a small village in Northern France. He’s around my age, and is a mechanical engineer who’s learning spanish before spending a year traveling around the world. This is undeniably cool. Spanish will be his fourth language, as he already speaks French, English, and German. I don’t know how his German is, but his English is very good. He has a little trouble understanding me, but I tend to talk fast and use a lot of expressions you wouldn’t learn in a language class. As long as I remember to speak slowly (recuerdo hablar despacio) and not use a lot of colloquialisms, he and I have no trouble talking about any subject. His spanish is getting pretty good, too. His pronunciation isn’t great (hablas español with a thick french accent), but his vocabulary is much better than mine.

Next up is Joob (pronounced Yo-eb). He’s a 21 year old kid from Germany. He’s taking a semester off of university to study Spanish in Valencia. He’s got a head full of shaggy blonde hair and a lip ring. His spanish is also getting pretty good. His vocabulary is better than mine as well. His accent is probably about the same; maybe a tiny bit worse. He’s a big soccer fan and he lives in Dusseldorf, ten km from Belgium.

The third classmate is Paul, who’s from New Zealand. Joob, Jerome, and I are all in our first week of classes, but Paul has been here three weeks. He’s either not paying attention or didn’t have any spanish exposure before coming here. He answers almost every question by saying, “Dunno” with a New Zealand accent (which, so far as I can tell is exactly the same as the Australian accent). He also showed up for the first day of class with a black eye, which he couldn’t remember how he acquired. He was fairly certain booze was involved. He’s a good kid; just a space cadet.

In the apartment with Jerome and I are three girls and one other guy.

The other guy is Vitor, from Brasil. He’s been here studying for a few weeks. I don’t know how old he is, but I don’t think he’s 21. His english is ok—good enough to make himself understood and understand me. This is helped a lot by the fact that he LOVES the NBA. He wakes up in the middle of the night to watch the Knicks play on the internet. I love the NBA, and I wouldn’t wake up at 3am to watch the Knicks play in my backyard. He’s a sweet kid, and seems genuinely entralled with America. We went to watch the soccer match the other night and he wore an Amare Stoudamire jersey. And he already has plans to acquire a Carmelo one.

Hiromi is the roomie I know the least about, because she’s from Japan and doesn’t speak English. We’ve talked a bit in Spanish, but my Spanish isn’t good enough to really converse in depth. The other two girls I’ve spent a lot more time with.

Sonia is a 21 year old Korean girl (which is probably why she insists on spelling her name ‘Seon Hyung’, but I refuse). She has been in Spain studying Spanish for 6 months. Her Spanish is, by far, the best of anyone’s in the apartment. She also speaks virtually flawless English with a faint British accent, which I find thoroughly adorable. She also likes to give me shit for not having any other Korean friends. She loves learning languages and is planning on learning others beyond Spanish. She es loca. Sonia is also extremely bubbly and out-going. Her and Katy, the last roommate, are constantly organizing meals and outing for the roommates. She’d be a kick ass sorority sister.

Katy is from France. She’s also 21 or 22. Her and Sonia are thick as thieves. I have rarely seen them apart. She’s old school about stuff, as was evidenced when she was nearly offended because I like to cook my own food instead of letting her and Sonia cook for me. I think it’s pretty awesome that they do that every night, though. She also appears to own more boots than I do socks, and she changed outfits at least four times when we went out the other night. If she smoked I would say she matches my image of a stereotypical French girl perfectly. Except that she’s much nicer than I’ve been led to believe French people are. As is Jerome, for that matter. She hasn’t been in Spain long, but she seems to have done quite a bit of traveling for someone her age. Spanish is her third language. English is her second. Hers isn’t quite as good as Jerome’s or Sonia’s, but we are able to communicate without much trouble. And as I keep telling everyone who apologizes to me for their English, “Your English is a thousand times better than my [their language]!” She has also asked me more than once where she can download my music, which everyone knows is an excellent way to make a good impression on me. And she drinks whiskey on the rocks! Chick is bad ass.

Anyway, the classmates and roomies are all pretty great, and I have completely enjoyed spending time with them this week. I’m going to miss Valencia, and all of these guys as well. I’m planning to come back here for Las Fallas, which is some sort of festival happening in two weeks or so.

Español para dia: “Esta noche vamos al centro de Valencia comer paella y beber caña o vino. Manaña, yo estoy dormir tarde.”
Translation: Tonight we’re going to go to the center of Valencia to eat paella and drink beer or wine. Tomorrow, I’m going to sleep late.

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