Letters from Madrid – The Paperwork is Done

The first letter from Madrid left the us worn out from crisscrossing Madrid trying to finish up the paperwork for our residency cards. The saga continues with us looking for flamenco classes, a description of where we lived and Tristan’s schooling. She was 9 years old when we moved to Spain.

18 April 1996

Madrid, Spain
With the paperwork out of the way, Laurie and I went off in search of flamenco classes. Of course finding dance classes was not difficult and Laurie is taking class every day for two hours, and is looking into adding some other classes. I got lucky, and found an excellent guitarist, Miguel Rivera. who has taken me as a student. He was recommended by Pablo’s old teacher, Angel Torres. Miguel is a superb player, fast and clean like Paco de Lucia, very tasteful and very knowledgeable. He is constantly on tour with flamenco groups, so I get lessons when he is town for a couple of days between shows. He is performing in northern Spain, Italy and Poland for the next three weeks. He has me playing some very difficult material plus he has exercises for every technique and fingering I am deficient in (which is about everything). The style is very different from what I have played and is taking a lot of getting used to. I’m slowly adjusting and my speed and clarity is improving already. I am very excited about the guitar right now.

We live in the barrio called Chambari, in a small, but comfortable, fairly modern apartment. As it turns out, Chambari is a fairly upscale area, and this is the best priced apartment we have found so far, especially considering it has central heat and air-conditioning (Heating is not standard in apartments, and air-conditioning is rare) included in the rent. We are central to everything and right on a metro stop. There is a nice playground/park up the street from us where Tristan goes to play in the evenings. There are a lot of families in this area and Tristan has made several friends. There are real grocery stores fairly close by, a nice market down the street, a great book store around the corner, and the main branch of the public library up the road a bit. After looking at several apartments in the areas we like, we have come to the conclusion we are in the least expensive apartment we can find, so we are staying put at the moment.

Tristan is being home schooled, which is not something normally done in Spain, as most people don’t understand the concept. The Spanish schools are in session until the end of May and then have a break until the middle of September. We might put Tristan in School in September. Classes run from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday here. Tristan doesn’t even want to consider it at the moment. She has just finished a fourth grade math book and moved on to a fifth grade math book (she is a third grader). She is reading regular novels in English (middle to high school level), plus the Bible and some easier history, horse and bird books in Spanish on her own. Laurie is reading Don Quijote and Greek Myths in Spanish to her. Tristan has to do handwriting exercises and write at least a page, plus she has to write letters and post cards to friends and family. I work with her on Geography and Geology from a couple of very good, generally middle school level, text books. She has an Explora science book that she is reading and doing experiments on her own with. We go to the museums regularly so Tristan is getting art, art history and Spanish history. As she has learned from looking at the classic paintings, you have to know history, the Bible stories and mythology to understand many of the paintings. She is reading the Bible and discovering many of the stories in the paintings. She is also starting to understand and see a lot of the mythology and history in the paintings also. She is actually getting somewhat of a St. Johns College curriculum in her home studies.

We have not done a lot of site seeing outside of Madrid. There is so much to do here that it is tough to get out. We are what I would call micro tourists. We are getting to know an area of about 36 square kilometers in the center of Madrid very well; and that is a very small area of the city. We are finding all kinds of great museums and seeing great musical performances, learning the history of this wonderful city, and how to get about in it.

More to come…

While I did not take many photos the first couple of years we lived in Spain, I did find videos of Miguel Rivera, the guitarist I studied with in Madrid. Although the videos where posted on Youtube only in the past 5 years, some of them go back to the the 1990’s. The last one below that is very recent.

Flamencos de la Feria – Suite Sevilla Obra de Rafael Riqueni por Miguel Rivera y René Mora  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5rBpcCFSCM (Miguel is on the right side of the screen)

El Real – Suite Sevilla obra de Rafael Riqueni por Miguel Rivera, René Mora y David Vázquez https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6WaVEGjRx4 (Miguel is on the right side of the screen)

Bulerías – Miguel Rivera https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r51aSk7fDOI

Así suena el genial Miguel Rivera https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63H-1EW9e_8 (Miguel in 2014)