CEX Madrid

cexI am quite the movie addict. I’ve seen my share of classics, a lot of good, bad and some I’m ashamed to even name; but what’s great about learning a new language is that you can watch even the bad ones and feel ok about it because it’s like a form of “study” even though probably a lot gets lost in translation. The best part about watching movies dubbed in Spanish is that the dub over stars here in Spain are awesome and sometimes make the characters more bad-ass when needed; it makes the bad movies endurable.  Here is a mini example of how Spain dubs can be 10 times better than other dubs: Adventure Time Opening
I also like to watch films in Spanish with Spanish subtitles and sometimes that is hard to come across online or just a pain in the ass. So if you are looking to find a series or some films that can be dubbed and have subtitles check out CEX.
They have a range of movies and tv series which you can browse online. They also sell video games, music and an assortment of used electronics and phones. The great thing about it is that everything is fairly affordable and can be sold back for either cash or store credit. Check it out. I’ve found many useful DVDs for school at only a euro and they have come in very handy when the school’s internet doesn’t work.

You can find them on Calle de Atocha 40 and also Calle de Madrid 28,  in Getafe.

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Instituto Cervantes Library

biblioteca madridAnother great library is the Instituto Cervantes Biblioteca.  In order to receive your card you fill out a quick form and they make a copy of your NIE (you don’t need to be enrolled in their school).  You will receive an email letting you know when your card is available for pick-up.  This library is great if you are attending school or taking Spanish classes AND they have a large selection of films.  It is also a great quiet little hide away where you can use the wifi and is never super crowded.

I hear their spanish classes are great but a bit costly like most classes in Madrid.  However, if a class is backed by instituto cervantes then it is supposed to be quality.  I just couldn’t  vouch for it but their library is great!

February Bulletin Board

heart posterFor February’s English Board display I went a little overboard.  I had one idea after the other and I ended up mushing them all together into one mess of a mural but it was a lot of fun.

First I spent some time with the Infantil English Class, they are soo adorable and really impressed me with how well some of them understood English.  The project was to paint their hands with colors of red, white and pink and make hand prints.  Later I would assemble them into a heart and write a quote as an outline.  I asked one girl if she had already made a hand print and she responded with “no, I did.” I really didn’t think I was going to get a response from this tiny little 3 year old but I was so proud of her.

heartThen I had an idea based off of a video I had seen where parents ask kids what they think love means.  So I went around asking kids from every grade on the playground “what is love?”  I wish I had video taped it.  Here are the responses ( I also added these to the mural) :

-“Love is when a person likes another person and they have an energy in common.” – Valeria, 5th

-“Love is a feeling in the heart.” -Alicia, 5th

-“Love is when they hug you and they love you.  My dad helps me with my homework.”- Natalia, 3rd

-“It’s what you feel when someone likes you.” -Sergio, 5th

-“Love is when you like a person and you spend a lot of time with them.” – Valeria, 4th

-“Love is when you kiss a person and I think they like it.”- Paula, 4th

-“Love is a thought.”- Nico, 3rd

-“Love is a very beautiful word.”- Kenia, 3rd

-“People give presents.”- Jorge, 3rd

-“It’s when a person is very interesting because he’s in love.” -Claudia, 4th

-“Love is love.” -Manuel, 5th

-“You have a date.”- Jorge, 5th

-“Love is when you send letters with kisses and you take them into a corner and discuss your lips.” – Hector, 5th

-“Love is when you have a boyfriend and then you get married.” -Sarah Q, 4th

-“I know my mom loves me because she pinches my cheeks.” – Javier, 5th

-“It’s when one girl likes a boy or a girl.” -Diego S, 5th

-“Love is a feeling you feel when you love someone.” -Alvaro, 4th

-“Love is beautiful.” -Iker, 4th

-“Love is something that happens between two people.” – Eva, 5th

cupidAnd I couldn’t help but include my beloved 3rd grade into the project, so they drew pictures of “love” within a heart cutout.  But since there are 45 of them the mural had a bit too much going on. But all in all the kids loved it, and that’s all that matters.

Néctar saved my life

So I’ve been sick but still forcing myself to go out and take care of business.  It was cold and rainy out and the chill just wasn’t helping me feel any better.  Luckily, I stumbled across Néctar, a great lil restaurant/ tea house in Cuenca.

The owner knew exactly what I needed; a huge glass of té de jengibre.  It was perfect.

This place is great!  and if you are in Cuenca you should definitely check them out.  They have a great vegetarian menu, their pastries are to die for and it is super affordable.  It is also just a really comfortable environment and they have WIFI.   The wife lived in the US for 10 years so if your Spanish is terrible you definitely won’t starve here.

They also have an intercambio group on Saturdays at 3PM, the people are super friendly.  Stop in, maybe we’ll run into each other because I definitely plan on frequenting this place.

Néctar @ Benigno Malo 10-42. Entre Gran Colombia y M. Lamar.

Spanish Classes in Cuenca

So much has happened over the weeks that I had no time to write.  We are taking Spanish classes now and I am very happy with the school.  We thoroughly researched our options and visited multiple schools but the best of the bunch is Amauta.

Most of the schools offer the same perks like salsa dancing, city tours, cooking classes and so on.  But Amauta was best for us because 1. We wanted to take classes together.  Most schools won’t allow couples classes; they will offer them on their listings but they will make you take a placement test and even if you are at the same level (which we are) they will place you separate because that means more money.

2. Amauta does not make you buy a useless text book.  Most schools make you buy their text book which is usually sub-par.  Amauta gears each class based on your interests, job, why you are traveling and what you want to learn.  Eventually they may have a book of their own but they are very student focused and gear the class on your needs.

3. The teachers are young and down to earth.  Another thing I liked was that some weeks we had a new teacher due to scheduling.  This was good because each teacher brought a new style to the table.  For instance we had one who was amazing and conversed with us over matters of worldly interest; she asked us questions about our personal lives and beliefs which really helped prepare us for normal discussions in the real world.  We also had a teacher who was super grammar focused; she taught us much of the basics to get by.  And another teacher gave us more vocabulary and continued to review any weak areas in grammar and discussion.

4.  The school has some knowledge in helping you obtain a visa extension.  This appealed to us because we only came into the country on a 90 tourist stamp.  But we knew we would probably want to stay longer if possible.  The school helped us compile what we needed for the process and brought us to the place we needed to go.  The rest was up to us but it was more help than any other school would offer.  Ecuador Tourist 12-IX Visa info here.

5.  It is in a good location and the atmosphere of the place is very comforting and welcoming.  And the people are wonderful. Also it is the best for your money, especially if you take the 4 hour classes per day for each week you get a discount.

If you are looking for a language school in Cuenca, then Amauta is the best of the best.

Here is a link to their website:

http://www.amauta.edu.ec/programs/04_school_cuenca.htm