Shakespeare slept here!

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Spanish History-3

This arch is visible from the freeway/highway/expressway/dual-carriage way/ motorway. That's "autopista" for those of you who speak Spanish. It's about 2 hours from Madrid, going north. If you're paying attention you'll see it high on the hill on your left. What is it? Where is it? Who built it?

Advice: There is a great little village up there too. You should go there and walk around sometime. A UEM student years ago said his family was going to open a "Casa Rural", a rustic Country Inn, a Bed & Breakfast place up by the plaza. I wonder if they did? I'll have to go again someday and find out.

More Advice: Look at Spanish History, January 2013 and Spanish History 2, February 2013 on SHAKESPEARE SLEPT HERE. Do you recognize those places too?

The first to send in a comment answering all of the above questions about this arch and adding a little more interesting information will win a prize! Send me a comment and include your email address.
- Wendy

arch: arco
freeway/highway/expressway/dual-carriage way/motorway: autopista/carretera
pay attention: prestar atención
high: alto ("low" is the opposite)
hill: colina
advice: consejo
village: aldea/pueblo
Rustic country inn: Casa Rural
Bed & Breakfast: cama y desayuno
find out: enterarse
prize: premio


Now you can see. Now you can't

Juan Vázquez Menlle, Presidente de la Federación Madrileña de Deportes para Discapacitados Intelectuales y Profesor de Actividad Física Adaptada de UEM was here to show us what it is like to be blind and how to be a guide for a blind person. He's collaborated with me in this activity at the LANGUAGE CENTER for 4 years now, and passers-by always stop to see what's going on.

. .Being blind! What a challenge! All we really had to do was walk around the basement
hall of Building A, first defining the perimeter with our canes and then ....moving the cane back and forth as we walked about. We found that just moving around with our goggles on and a cane in hand to be exhausting. It wasn't too bad when we were holding onto a partner we could trust. It became harder when we were on your own, with just a white cane and just a nearby voice
speaking in a foreign language. We learned some techniques and then...

Then came sports: circle games and goalball. . Could you play a ball game when you can't see the ball? These people could. If you look up "goalball" you'll find out how.

Recommendation for the adventurous:
When you get to New York City, which you will of course some day, and you have a few couple of hours, go to "Dialog in the Dark". You walk around in rooms that are pitch black, following the voice and instructions of a blind person, your guide. What an incredible experience. Ask for Frank Senior. He's a guide but he's also a jazz musician! Tell him Wendy sent you.

P.S. The day after posting this. Frank Senior wrote back, twice. "Dialog in the Dark" is closed because of damage from the storm "Sandy." Hopefully it will reopen before you get to New York.

He also said "Nice!!!!!!!!! just read your thing. thank you!! I play goalball, it's a fantastic game.

Music is my life, singing is my love!! please, Check out my music, videos and calendar for exciting up coming events at

Listen to Frank Senior talk to you about what it's like to be blind in New York City.

blind: ciego
challenge: desafio
basement: planta sótano
canes: bastones
back and forth: de un lado al otro
building: edificio
goggles: gafas protectoras
exhausting: agotador
holding onto: sujetándose a
trust: confiar, fiar
voice: voz
foreign language: idioma extranjero
look up: buscar online o en un libro de referencia
find out: enterarse
pitch black: completamente oscuro, como el alquitrán

twice: dos veces

damage: destrozos

storm: tormenta

events: acontecimientos


Speed Exchange- TODAY!!!!

"International" SPEED EXCHANGE

Meet new people really fast !

Everyone is welcome.

The 2º trimester exchange students are here at the UEM. Students from Spain, Mexico, Germany, England, Ireland, Poland, Canada and the USA were among this multi-lingual multi-cultural group. They talked and talked. Then met someone new and talked some more. It was fun. YOU should have been there. Hope to see many of you at the English Activities. Welcome to Spain. -Wendy

Thursday, January 17th, 2013 14:30-16:00 Basement Hall Building A


Sports in English- Baseball & Four Square

Have you ever played Baseball or Four Square?

What did you play when you were a kid? Between classes, at lunch break, after school, on weekends, all summer long we played Dodge Ball and Kick Ball, Tag and Capture the Flag, Tether Ball and Four Square. Then we graduated to Baseball, really Softball and a long list of other sports you played too.

FOUR SQUARE was easy. There were 4 squares inside a bigger square. All you needed was a ball and 4 or more kids. You hit the ball and returned the ball when it entered your square. If you were good you could stay in the game for a long time: maybe the whole 10 minutes between classes, or possibly just a few seconds if you weren’t quick enough. Everyone got to play and the rules were pretty basic. If you didn’t return the ball, you’re out! And everyone moved up a square. The best player made the rules. Those squares looked so big when you were small! Four square was great!

Baseball. Some of us miss the baseball games of our youth. The days we just grabbed a ball and a bat and mitts if we were lucky, met our friends and started up a game. We didn’t need uniforms or schedules. No one needed to drive us anywhere. We just got together, threw the ball around, divided into teams and got started. “I’m the pitcher.” “I’ll be the catcher.” “You’re the first baseman.” “She’s up first.” Run! Run! Run!” “The bases are loaded.” “It’s a home run!” What a fun way to spend an hour, or most of a day.

You may have been among the students who’ve participated in our BASEBALL GAMES in ENGLISH here at the UEM.

Did you try FOUR SQUARE, a new activity created by Jose María López Lago. Send us a comment about your experience! And look for these activities when they are offered next year.



Blind Date in English

They couldn't see each other. There was a big white bulletin board between the guys and the girls. They could, however hear each other, speaking in English.

And after 20 minutes of non-stop questions and answers, giggles and laughter, everyone had to choose a mate. And several actually chose each other!

And some just couldn't agree....

Let's see if anything comes of it. There were 5 couples who chose each other!
More photos on Photo Album.


each other: uno al otro
bulletin board: tablón de anuncios
guys: boys
giggles: risitas
laughter: risas, carcajadas
a mate: una pareja
actually: realmente
couples: parejas



If you had come to this activity you would have learned a lot of new vocabulary, especially action verbs, in the present, past and present perfect tenses. We used them in context and then yelled them at each other as the water balloons began to fly. "Don't drop it!" "Catch it!" "He missed it!" Can YOU put these verbs into the past and present perfect and spell them correctly? Bet you can't !

throw, toss, pass, shoot, catch, grab, drop, miss, hit, burst, pop

We had some phrasal verbs too: fill up, blow up, let go of. It was also interesting to see how a preposition can change the meaning of a verb as in "He threw a water balloon AT his friend." "He threw one TO his friend."

As you see in this photo, so far few of the water balloons have hit the ground.

Which team can toss them down the line the fastest?

The Free Throw Champs !

We read a story, "The History of WATER BALLOONS EVERYWHERE"

Many years ago, when we were kids, we filled up water balloons and threw them at our brothers and sisters or neighborhood friends. It was a great summer time activity that we all remember fondly. Then we grew up and became university students and serious adults. Water balloons were relegated to the distant past, something for children.

Then one day in 2011 we discovered that we could buy packages of 100 water balloons for 1 euro or less. What a find ! It was too good to be true! We'd have to create an activity for water balloons at the university. Would the serious adults and dedicated university students like to participate, or would they reject the idea saying it was just for kids? Hmmm. Let's just go ahead and see what happens.

Last spring we hosted the first UEMLAB TRACK & FIELD DAY. And among the many events was the "Water Balloon Toss". It was fun! The students like it. We liked it. The university authorities liked it. Well, we think they did. At least no one complained to loudly. So WATER BALLOON activities on campus...YES !

This September the weather is still great. It's probably going to be hot all month so we decided to play with water balloons! A class exclusively dedicated to water balloons? What an absurd idea!...No one is going to go to that class! Why not? We'll practice English, learn new vocabulary, and make new friends. I can't think of a better way to spend 50 minutes on campus, can you?


Tossing water balloons. Catch them if you can!
After the class was over....

The playground we pretty wet.......

....and so was I. Wendy

Grammar: Ooooh! A 3rd conditional:
If you had come, you would have learned...:
Si hubieras venido, habrías aprendido...

yell-yelled: gritar
each other: uno al otro
bet: ¿a qué no puedes?, apostar
throw: tirar
toss: tirar suavemente
pass: pasar
shoot: lanzar, tirar
catch: coger
grab: agarrar
drop: dejar caer
hit: pegar, golpear
burst: explotar, romper
pop: explotar, romper
fill up: llenar, rellenar
blow up: llenar globos, explotar
let go of: soltar
so far: hasta ahora, tan lejos
hit the ground: dar al suelo
team: equipo
kids: críos, chavales, jovenes
fondly: con cariño
grew up: nos hicimos mayores, crecimos
What a find!: Vaya ganga!
go ahead: seguir adelante, continuar
happens: ocurre
hosted: organizamos
complain-complained : quejarse
was over: había terminado
was wet: estaba mojado

More photos at PHOTO ALBUM


Advertising and Location

Location! That's the key to success. Or is it?

Are you an entrepreneur? You start with one shop in a great location,good products, friendly personnel, and business acumen. Local advertising + a lot of word of mouth, and your start-up is a success.

Then, before you know it, your territory is being invaded.
Another company backed by a large advertising campaign and they've planted themselves down the block or take over your lease. Your once thriving little business is going under fast.

Think about your favorite coffee house of a few years back. I bet there is a Starbucks there or in the immediate vicinity. Think of your favorite mom-and-pop corner store. It has now, most likely, been replaced by a major chain.

What do you prefer: the small and familiar or the famous mega-chain?
If you'd lived in San Francisco in the 1950's and early 60's, you'd remember a great little toy store on Post Street, two doors down from Union Square. It was local. It was well-loved by San Franciscans of that era. It was considered a big treat to get to go to Ambers Toy Store to pick out a birthday present. Adults went because every kid wanted a "Bring-me from Ambers" from those "Four floors of toys for girls and boys". Occasionally a TV personality like Captain Fortune or Pogo the Clown was there to talk to YOU. What a fun shop! Toys and bikes, Steiff stuffed animals from Germany and Madame Alexander Dolls of Queen Elizabeth from New York. Big red fire trucks and electric trains in the window, and books and puzzles and...: everything for kids!

As a child the owner had been to Hamley's in London, the toy store par excellence for the last 250 years. He wanted to create the same feeling.

After less than 10 years Ambers had to close. Why? The lease was up and FAO Schwarz, the biggest toy retailer in the US moved in 2 blocks away. You know Schwarz Toy Store on 5th Avenue in New York City, the one with the incredible window displays. If you've spent any time in NYC, you've probably been in the store to see the piano keys Tom Hanks danced on in the film "BIG".Great advertising! The personnel is friendly and the kids can play! FAO Schwarz was a big hit in San Francisco for years. Everyone who went to Alcatraz, and rode a cable car, also went to this landmark toy store just off Union Square, just a couple of blocks from where Ambers had been. Then one day Toys R Us appeared and the crowds opted to spend their money at the mega-store. What happened? FAO Schwarz was bought by Toys R Us in 2009.
Os bigger necessarily better?
What's next? On-line purchasing? Are toys going to belong entirely to a virtual world, from TV commercial and on-line display to home delivery? Are toy stores and toy departments in big stores on the way out? Wouldn't you rather go check out the toys for yourself and for your kids?


Key to success: llave al éxito
entrepreneur: emprendedor
acumen: conocimiento
start-up: empresa que ha empezado de cero
success: éxito
backed by: respaldado por
advertising campaign: campaña publicitarias
down the block: calle abajo
take over your lease: subrogó el contracto
thriving: exitoso
bet: apuestar por
mom and pop: de barrio
most likely: probablemente
toy store: tienda de juguetes
chain: cadena
a big treat: una gran ocasión
pick out: elegir
kid: niño, crío, chaval
owner: proprietario
feeling: sensación
the lease was up: terminó el contrato de alquiler
retailer: minorista
two blocks away: a dos manzanas de distancia
window displays: escaparates
landmark: punto de referencia
a couple of blocks: un par de manzanas

crowds: las masas, muchedumbre

purchasing: compra

commercial: anuncio
home delivery: entrega a domicilio

on the way out: a punto de desaparecer
check out: echar un vistazo


Summer Homework? Remember "los deberes de verano"

Remember when you had summer homework, year after year? Your teachers had told you that the exercises would be fun, that you'd enjoy doing them, but you weren't so sure. Summer finally came. You were desperate to get outside with your friends, but found yourself, most likely, at the kitchen table under your mother's watchful eye, doing those "fun exercises". The first and second lessons were OK, but you were soon shouting "NO quiero hacer mis deberes de verano!" Your bike, your friends, your dog were impatiently waiting for you outside. "Hurry up! Just do it!" The swimming pool or the beach were also just out of reach. And your teacher's words were ringing in your ears. " This will help you remember what we've done in class and get you ready for next year." Deep down you knew you had to get those workbooks done. Your parents and the teacher were in agreement. You had to take this task seriously. "No arguments!" YOU definitely didn't want to do homework IN THE SUMMER! Nevertheless there you sat, stalling, daydreaming, wishing you had already finished and were free to do whatever you wanted to do.

Well, the years have gone by. Next time you're in a book store or department store, or the toy department of Carrefour or Alcampo, or practically any store in June, look for "Vacaciones Santillana". You don't have to really search for them. They'll jump out at you or you'll bump right into them. Will they bring back good memories? Good or bad, they WILL remind you of your younger self. Some of you probably whipped through those workbooks and are now avid readers or even........teachers! Those workbooks reenforced the basic concepts you'd worked on during the academic year, and many of them WERE fun and creative. Whatever your attitude was at the time, you DID learn to read and write well, and you DID learn those basic concepts. Your parents were happy. Your teachers were happy. And you even had time for your bike, your friends and your dog. You got to the swimming pool or the beach, though you might have taken the workbooks along with you.

Remember how you used to stress out about "Lengua" and "Sociedad" and "Mates"? Well, you're all grown up now and have different responsibilities.

Are your kids going to do "Deberes de Verano"? Of course they are. Why? Because YOU know that they were good for you and they'll be good for your kids too. Not only will they reenforce what they've learned, they'll teach your offspring about obligation and responsibility, the importance of making an effort and getting a job done.

And now YOU have summer homework, "Deberes de Verano", once again. Look at this as a chance to keep up your ENGLISH over the summer with VERY LITTLE EFFORT. How? Just start reading my blog: SHAKESPEARE SLEPT HERE. There are over 100 short articles about a variety of subjects. Most of them have a vocabulary list at the bottom with a Spanish translation. There are even some games. Read 2 or 3 a day. And then go talk to the tourists, in the streets, in the department stores, at the beach, in the cafés. You may not be in an English speaking country, but you can still practice your English.

Why? Because you can hear your teachers' voices ringing in your ears. "Have a happy vacation and PRACTICE YOUR ENGLISH!"



most likely: probablemente
outside: afuera
bike/bicycle: bici
hurry up: darse prisa
swimming pool: piscina
beach: playa
out of reach: fuera del alcance
ringing in your ears: resonando en tus oídos o cabeza
get you ready: prepararte
deep down: al fondo
workbooks: cuadernos de trabajo
in agreement: estar de acuerdo
take this task seriously:tomar esta tarea en serio
no arguments: Sin discusión
nevertheless: sin embargo
stalling: evitar hacer una tarea
daydreaming: soñando despierto
bump right into: chocar con
bring back: traer de nuevo
remind you: recordarte
your younger self: el tú, más joven
whipped through: leer rápido, hacer algo sin esfuerzo, batir
avid readers: lectores entusiastas
or even: o incluso
grown up: crecido, adulto
kids: críos, hijos, chavales
offspring: hijos
chance: oportunidad
keep up: mantener
at the bottom: al pie


Spain, Spanish, Spaniards

Do you know the answers:>

Who won the 19th World Soccer Championship in Johannesburg,South Africa in July 2010? ____.
And which player made the winning goal in the 116th minute of play? ____________ .

In Spain, what was banned in enclosed areas on January 2nd, 2011? ________.

December 2010- Thousands of people were left stranded on a long weekend in Spain because of an ______________________________.

Pedro Duque (2 missions in 1998 and 2003), and Michael López-Alegría (4 missions) are ______ ________.

UEM in Villaviciosa de Odon, Madrid, Spain was the pilot university of the _________________________, a growing global network which now has 55 institutions of higher education in 27 countries.

Bill Clinton, Shirin Ebadi, Lech Walesa, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Nelson Mandela, Juan Antonio Samaranch, Enrique V. Iglesias, Valentin Fuster, Joan Rodés, Pedro Alonso, Antonio Garrigues Walker, Mario Vargas Llosa, Luis Bassat, Miguel Fisac, and Per Ingvar Branemark are all ______________of UEM.

A new, lower _________________ of 110 km/hour was put into effect in March 2011. The goverment recommends 100 km/hr in most areas in an attempt to reduce energy expenditure.

Italians are people from Italy, Germans are from Germany, the Swiss are from Switzerland and _______________are from Spain.

In 1992, on the 500th anniversary of the __________________, Spain hosted both the ____________________in Seville and the ________________ in Barcelona.

For the last 35+ years Spain has been a ________________and a ______________________.
Today Spain is made up of ________autonomous communities.

_________________ is known today as the "madre patria" to millions of __________________around the world.

World's Fair / Expo
Discovery of America
Doctor Honoris Causa
Summer Olympics
speed limit
Laureate International Universities
Constitutional Monarchy
Spanish air traffic controllers' strike
Spanish astronauts

banned: prohibido
left stranded: abandonado, sin recursos
growing: creciente
to lower: bajar (to raise: subir)
an attempt: intento
hosted: ser el anfitrión


Been watching the news? How's your geography?

You watch the news. You know what's going on around the world. You pay attention. However you may still have difficulty identifying all those places on a map.

For example: Japan is in the news every day. You know it's on the Pacific Ocean. It has been suffering from the results of multiple earthquakes and aftershocks, a tsunami and increasingly higher levels of radiation. Could you place Japan on a map?

Most of the Arab World is in political turmoil. Protests in Egypt started just after the new year, and other countries have followed suit. Rebel forces in Libia are trying to topple Gadaffi. It's in the news every day. We see both sides of the conflict from various vantage points as it is reported by journalists from French, German, Spanish, English and American TV networks. Their interviews and takes on the hostilities bring these countries problems right into your livingroom.

Hey, wait a moment. Those countries are quite close to home. Egypt.Libia. They share the Mediterrean with us. They are our neighbors.

Do you think you could place them on a map? Of course, you say. What about the rest of the Middle East and Northern Africa. Do you know your geography?

Well, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, today we're going to have a geography lesson. Don't worry. There's no score. It's really an interactive Map Game. Take up the challenge! Place all the countries in northern Africa and the Middle East on a map. You can do it!

Remember, this is just a game. No one is keeping score. Just keep trying to place them until you get them all right.
Drag the name of the country onto the map. If you make a mistake you'll just get a big X. Try again, and again.... Oh, you can do better than that!

Enjoy! Wendy

P.S. I put this same Map Game on my blog on November 18, 2008?
Did you take it then? Did you do any better this time? I did.

Pay attention: prestar atención
in the news: en las noticias
earthquakes: terremotos
place: colocar, localizar, poner
turmoil: revuelto
follow suit: seguir de una manera parecido
topple: derrumbar
journalists: periodistas
networks: emisoras
vantage points: perspectiva
don't worry: no te preocupes
score: puntuación
challenge: desafio
keeping score: apuntando los resultados
keep trying: sigue intentando
get them all right: conseguir tenerlos todos bien
drag: arrastrar
make a mistake: equivocarse
get: obtener, recibir
try again: intentar de nuevo
P.S.= post script: P.D. Posdata

Sobre este blog

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We LIVE & WORK at the UEM. And we do it in English!


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