After the hour I have teaching the guys, I head to my last class of the week, two stops north, at AIG. My agency is on the way there, so I typically stop in to grab some teaching materials, sit down to eat a sandwich, and practice my horrible Spanish with our secretary who speaks no English. At 6:00 sharp I arrive to the AIG office and pull out my laptop to do some pre-class downtime writing. At 6:15, as always, my students show up, all smiles, ready for the long weekend. This class, like the one before, is elementary. Today we are learning how to give directions in English. But instead of learning how to give directions in English, all my students want to do is talk about their weekends, so I sit quietly and correct their mistakes on the whiteboard. One is going to visit family in Toledo. The other, to a park somewhere to enjoy the weather with his family. I tell them that sounds nice. I’ll probably just stay in Madrid and relax with friends. By relaxing with friends I mean we’ll go to clubs all weekend and stay out until the sun is up and cafes are open for breakfast. I don’t tell them the last part. They nod their heads and smile as I talk. I think they understand about 50% of what I say.
For the rest of the hour, as we stumble through prepositions and street maps, my eyes can’t help from darting to the clock every minute or so. The weekend is so close. I can smell it. It’s the Thursday ritual of waiting for that school’s-out-for-summer feeling. The rest of the week flies by, all four days stuffed together into one hour. It’s like the exact opposite of a kinked hose, but with time, not water.
7:30 does finally come, of course, and it’s all I can do to keep from flinging my textbooks into the air like graduation caps in celebration of my three day freedom. Another week gone by. Another set of satisfied students. Another job well done. After giving myself a great big pat on the back I hop on a bus with the rest of the rush hour weekenders and head home to drop off my laptop and textbooks – the old workweek ball & chain. Now with anchor up, it’s time to set sail once again on another madrileño weekend adventure. I’ve heard it quoted before, and I’m too lazy to check for sure, that Madrid has the highest percentage of bars and restaurants per sq. km than any other city in the world. I don’t know for sure, like I said, but I believe it. The possibilities are endlessly overwhelming. Visions of tapas and frosty mugs have been dancing in my head all week, and now is the time to make the dream a reality. With a belly full of olives, chorizo, and Spanish beer, who knows where the night wind will blow us? Who knows who we’ll meet? Who knows what we’ll do? Who knows? That’s the beauty of it all; this strange Spanish odyssey. And, well, that’s my Thursday for ya.