Living Abroad, Spanish Culture and Language

How to Travel Gringo Lite

I learned a lot about myself when I studied in Spain. Perhaps more importantly on the world scale, I learned how to do business in Spanish and Latin cultures. My friend Don José was one of the best teachers on the subject. He was the life’s blood of the Toledo Spanish program; head server, concierge, […]

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Spanish Culture and Language, Study Abroad

Why Study Abroad?

Our biggest changes may arrive when we are looking the other way. Perhaps a stork , a blood red cardinal, or the wind delivers them at our door. At 20, I hoped to travel the world with my partner in the future, but I didn’t feel comfortable going on my own. During my first two […]

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Spanish, Study Abroad

Conquered by Food

When I traveled to Spain, I thought the food might resemble Mexican cuisine with its spiciness. However, black pepper was the most piquant seasoning in the Fundación Ortega y Gasset kitchen in Toledo. I was happy not to burn my tongue, but my Mexican roommate imported a suitcase full of hot sauce to survive the […]

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Spanish, Study Abroad

Joke’s On Me

Learning to converse in another language keeps me humble. Beginning with English, as a child I made up funny words. I’d call the small blue round Midwestern fruit, bluebodies. My father’s bluebody pancakes were and still are a family favorite. In first year high school Spanish, I wanted to say, “I’m embarrassed” Tengo vergüenza. Instead […]

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Spanish, Study Abroad

The Señora’s Advice

When I was fourteen, I went to Mexico City on a high school Spanish trip. Our teacher who was born in Mexico told us what to expect. Her advice to the boys was, no pink shirts, or people will think you’re gay and gays aren’t accepted. I sputtered in disbelief when she said that. I […]

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Spanish, Study Abroad

Aztec Silver

San Juan de la Penitencia dormitory was where I lived in Toledo, Spain. I knew the former convent was built before my parents’ house (1930). I visited the El Greco Museum and was amazed to recognize the curved portico balcony of the convent in his “View and Plan of Toledo” (1610-1614). San Juan de la […]

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