This blue marble

– and yet it spins

The dance of the giant Basques, and stumbling into Spanish


SS-1La Semana Grande includes many odd things in its program. Such as a dance and parade of giant Basques. In berets, of course (“baskeri” in Finnish and “Baskermütze” in German).

Spanish class started today. As there was no A2 group starting I was put in the last week of A1. I sat down with 8 women and a female teacher. Thankfully for the sake of diversity, a quarter of an hour into the class the door opened and one man rushed in, to even out our class at least a little.

There is no English spoken. At all. “What is ‘lechuga’?” asked a Filipino student. “Well,” our teacher replied in Spanish, “it is a vegetable. For salads.” “A cucumber?” the student asked. “No, it’s more leafy….” and the teacher went on explaining until I could not help myself and burst out in plain English: “it’s lettuce.” “Ah!” the classmate said. Our teacher gave me an annoyed eye. But really, it was enough effort and time spent, and at least we could move on with the program.

After half of the 3-hour class was spent in introducing one piece of grammar, we spent the remaining time speaking, practising introductions and playing word games. The teachers had high hopes for our vocabulary: the first word game required us to name a word that started with the same letter as the one the previous word ended. Lechuga. Aire. Entender. And so forth. I would be in so much trouble here, if it were not for the endless hours of studying “the 1000 most frequent Spanish words” list all throughout the year.
SS-2(San Sebastián, Spain; August 2019)

2 thoughts on “The dance of the giant Basques, and stumbling into Spanish

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