Madrid's penetrative August weather is hard for any seasoned Madridilenos to bear. So this week's fresh September breezes complimented my first lesson very well. The metro is speeding me on my way to meeting a top businessman in the north of the city. I have just completed my TEFL in Madrid and am enjoying the wealth of new opportunities it presents.
Escaping my office job
It was two months ago that I was sitting at a desk pondering life's complexities - the type only office jobs throw your way on a daily basis - when I decided to bite the bullet and type "tefl Madrid" into the Internet. A few clicks later and here I am, on the Madrid metro munching my breakfast and reading an English teaching book. It is now that the first lesson butterflies kick in.
My first student
I find the business park and meet my first ever student, a delightful Portuguese businessman working in Madrid. Silver-haired and charming, he welcomes me to his office with the offer of a cafe solo, my drink of choice.
We have a great first lesson. I discover that he lives in Madrid during the week and flies home on Friday evenings back to Lisbon to spend time with his wife and son. He talks wistfully of home and confides that he often flies home on Wednesday nights for a few hours and comes back to Madrid in the morning so he can spend more time with his family. As I sip on my solo I get a warm feeling that has nothing to do with the caffeine.
His English is very good but like all students of a foreign language he claims that it is "very bad, very poor, needs improving!" It is when he begins to debate over the stock market and the financial crisis that I point out that he should have at least some confidence in his linguistic abilities.
More cafe solos
After a rousing game of 'call my bluff' I trot off back to the metro and speed to Plaza del Castilla where I meet a charismatic Irishman for job interview. We order cafe solos and merrily chat about our experiences in Spain. He has been here for 15 years and an absolute pro at getting around the city. Our meeting is adjourned and I wave him off as he rides back down to the south of the city on his motorbike. (Must get one of those at some point just for the dramatic exit.)
I check my phone. One of my new Spanish friends wanders if I want to meet for an intercambio. Si! I stroll down to our favourite joint in Tetuan and I meet him. Two besos later and a further cafe solo, I am happily floundering my way through the Spanish language.
Taking the plunge
Here I am flying solo in Madrid. Taking a TEFL in Madrid is not just about teaching English but about everything you experience along the way. There is no routine to this day of mine, only the cafe solos. And I'd take cafe solos over the nine to five grind any day.