Once More, Madrid.

My writing space at the moment.

I’ve pretty much always been lazy. Give me a hammock, a deadline to ignore, and a patch of sun to bask in and I’m a happy procrastinator. Years after accepting this personality quirk/limitation, I’m still trying to reconcile it with my ambition to complete everything on my annual to-do list. Spoiler alert: The to-do list becomes an ignored set of suggestions, basically speed-bumps to my next poolside nap.

This time though, I’m determined to follow through on my latest goal: to learn Spanish. And when I say that, I mean I want to have enough Spanish to ask the question, “What other kinds of seafood can I have in my paella?” (Qué tipos de mariscos es posible para tener en mi paella?) and then to understand the answer. I’m not quite there yet but at least I’m beyond the “¿Dónde está el baño, por favor?” group of basic tourist questions phase. Barely.

To do that, though, I’d actually have to dive into one of the language courses I’ve bought on Udemy.com or crack open the grammar book that’s supposed to help me with my verb conjugation and tenses. That’s where my laziness has set in. For me, learning grammar kind of sucks. I only think of doing one of these two useful things when something else needs to be done: writing, doing the dishes, leaving the house for an appointment… Which is part of my excuse for coming back to Spain, and to Madrid in particular.

I’ll be here for the next three months, rambling once more around the city, writing

Language goals.

a book or two, eating pastries, and (hopefully) learning through immersion. Before arriving in Madrid last year at the suggestion of a friend temporarily based here, the city wasn’t on any list of mine. Compared to Barcelona where I’d spent two weeks about ten years ago, it seemed to lack so much—including an all important beach and salt water to play in. But, during my visit, I came to appreciate many aspects of the capital, including its inspirational properties. Already, one of my works in progress features some scenes set in the south of Spain, a region I had the good fortune of seeing in November. Now, I’m looking forward to seeing what this current trip sparks and the photos that come out of it.

So, although I can laze my way through just about anything, it’ll be hard for even me to eat, write, and sunbathe my way through Spain without learning any more of the language. Already I’ve been told that I’m a few breaths closer to communicating in full sentences than I was last year. Hurray for progress!

My goals then for before/when I leave here in August are:

  • Speak to a stranger or two in Spanish beyond the standard hello and goodbye and have them understand me.
  • Read and understand a whole chapter in my new book, Sin Noticias de Gurb, without consulting the dictionary or another person.
  • Meet my all my writing deadlines while traveling.

Vamos a ver!


  1. That’s more effort to learn a language than I’ve ever invested in anything probably, you’re definitely on the right track. Good luck with the learning!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! It gives me a great feeling of accomplishment when I succeed beyond my own limited expectations. And puts a good excuse on the table to drink more Spanish vermouth when I don’t.


  2. Fiona, I admire your determination to master Spanish beyond the limits of survival-language. Yo sé que puedes hacerlo. If you decide to blog about your experiences in Madrid, I’ll be eager to read what you have to say. ¡Adelante, amiga mía, Adelante!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Renee! Espero que si… I’m the laziest blogger alive but I’ll try to do more than the bare minimum over the next few months.


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