Shakespeare slept here!

We speak English and so do YOU!


A new school year

Remember the first day of school when you were a child? You had your new clothes, your new books, your notebooks and pens and maybe a new backpack! You couldn't wait to see all your school friends again, but you were very reluctant to give up the freedom of summer vacation.

Well, things haven't changed that much. Your mom probably doesn't take your "First Day of School" photo any more. You´re the one who grabs your cell phone to show pictures to all your friends and take their pictures on the first day back.

It IS incredibly hard to come back. That summer break was much too short and oh so very long ago. And you have all the challenges of a new academic year.

Well, we have to be thankful for one thing. We don't start back to school until September, and the first year students won't appear till October.

In many parts of the US school starts about the 20th of August. They've got to be kidding! What happened to a nice long, warm summer vacation?

Spain is good. Spain believes in down time--and that happens in August. August, the month in which most of the country just closes down and everyone heads for the beach or the mountains or back to the "pueblo" or travels abroad. You need to get something again or come back in September. You have a medical problem. Try to hold off until September. You want a loan.. You've finally found the perfect house but you'll have a mortgage. Sorry, come back in September.What? But I need it NOW!

Well, it's now September. Everything starts up again. And here we are looking forward to the 2010-2011 academic year. Welcome back. And now the eternal question: Did you do your homework?

I'm sure you spent a lot of your summer practicing your English. Good for you! You're making an effort. You're preparing for the future. You're getting ready for the international job market.

Hope to see you or hear from you soon.



Give up: dejar atrás, despedirnos de, soltar, rendir,
Freedom: libertad
grab: coger, agarrar
back: de vuelta
hard: duro, difícil
break: descanso, tiempo libre
challenges: desafíos
thankful: agradecido
appear: aparecer
till / until: hasta
They've got to be kidding: Tienen que estar bromeando
What happened?: ¿Qué pasó?
down time: tiempo ocioso/de relax
close down: se cierra/ se echa el cierre
heads for: irse zumbando para / dirigirse a
travel abroad: viajar al extrajero
get something done: que te hagan algo /hacer algo
hold off: esperar, aguantar hasta
come back: volver
a loan: un préstamo
mortgage: hipoteca
sorry: lo siento, lamento
look forward to: esperar con ganas
get ready for: prepararse para


Do you have a "green thumb"? Giant pumpkins from...

Can you take a seed and make it grow?

"Giant pumpkins--from little pumpkin seeds grow!"

Have you ever heard the expression: 'Mighty oaks from little acorns grow'? -Geoffrey Chaucer-1374

Over 150 members of the UEM community planted pumpkin seeds this spring. Some have been very successful. Others have not. When someone is a good gardener we say that he has a "green thumb". Gardening, like everything else in life, is a learning experience.

Some of our participants have watched their seeds grow into little plants, and some of those plants now have flowers and little pumpkins. How exciting!

Antonio Huete, who works for Dima at the UEM, definitely has "a green thumb". Look at the size of those leaves! And this little plant was once a miniature pumpkin seed. I'm still hoping for a flower....and some beautiful miniature pumpkin.

UEM Farmers! Remember to water and fertilize your plants ! Impress your friends and neighbors!

And don't forget about the GIANT & Miniature PUMPKIN CONTEST. It's the last week of October, just in time for Halloween.


green thumb: pulgar verde/ tener mano para las plantas
pumpkin: calabaza
seed: semilla
grow: crecer
mighty: big and strong
oak: roble
acorn: bellota

spring: primavera
successful: tener éxito
gardener: jardinero
everything else: todo lo demás
take care of: cuidar

Have a happy summer! And take care of your plants!



Storks, storks everywhere!

Spring in Vinuesa, Soria, Spain.

A beautiful stone village, off the beaten track... but easily accessible.
You'll find a river and a lake and pine forests. Spend the night. Get a feel for the place. You'll relax. You'll forget. You'll meet new people. You might even bump into someone you know. Someone who's kept this place a secret. Someone from the UEM!

In the spring storks nest here. Dozens of storks. They're on the churches, on smoke stacks, in the trees. We saw 2 and 3 nests in some tall trees.


Storks: cigueñas
Off the beaten track: apartado,

bump into: encontrar por casualidad, chocar con
Smoke stacks: chimineas


Springtime at the UEM-Villaviciosa

It looks like winter is finally over. The flowers are blooming!

You would have thought that this was northern Europe a few short months ago. We had snow, and more snow and then even more snow. What a strange winter for central Spain!

Now it's a different story.

There are daffodils and tulips and pansies.

The rain comes and goes but the trees are blossoming and everything is green.

Have you noticed? Everyone is out, walking around, sitting on the steps and benches and the lawns.

Yes, spring has come to the UEM campus. Get outdoors and look around.

See that mallard in the lake? He's been a resident at the UEM Lake for several weeks now. I bet his wife and babies will be appearing soon.

Advice: Don't hurry. Don't worry: Don't forget to smell the flowers.

Have a happy Spring. --Wendy


looks like: parece
is over: ha acabado
blooming: floreciendo
daffodils: narcisos
tulips: tulipanes
pansies: pensamientos
blossoming: floreciendo
benches: bancos (para sentarse)
lawns: céspedes
spring: la primavera
get outdoors: sal fuera
mallard: male wild duck(pato)
bet: apuesto que

Don't Hurry. Don't Worry.

Don't Forget to smell the flowers!

Happy Spring. Wendy


Happy New Year- 2010

Happy New Year! Happy 2010 ! Oh, that looks futuristic just like 2000 or 2001 did a decade ago. And what about 1-1-2010? That looks really strange, doesn't it? Well, a week has already passed and we're still sitting here, writing 2009 by mistake and staring at the computer screen, wondering what the future will hold.

Have you made your New Year's Resolutions yet? Are they the same ones you made last year and the year before? Is this THE YEAR when you're finally going to get it together? Did you start the year off right, start in on your fitness program, your diet, your personal Stop Smoking campaign, or are you waiting for a more auspicious date like maybe 10-1-2010 or as the Americans would write it 1-10-2010? Shall we procrastinate perhaps until the day before exams begin, or till next semester, or possibly till Groundhog Day or your birthday or.....1-1-2011 (ouuu, that looks really cosmic. That's only 11+ months from now. Maybe we should just leave our great plans for personal development till next year.

So, where were you on New Year's Day? Were you sleeping it off?
Were you outside, enjoying the day from beginning to end?

This is where I was as the 1st day of the year 2010 came to an end. Wendy


staring: to stare: mirar fijamente
wondering: preguntándome
will hold: ofrecerá, sostendrá
get it together: organizarme
start X off right: empezar con buen pie
auspicious: prometedor
procrastinate: dejarlo para el último minuto
Groundhog Day: día de la Marmota
sleeping it off: reculperándose

Last year's NEW YEARS post:


The words to a very famous song

You hear many songs in English every day: on the radio, in the department stores, in the mall, on CDs and DVDs, in the cinema and on TV. You might know a few words but do you know ALL the words to the most famous songs?

Here's one I know you'll recognize, and have probably heard recently. Do you know the name of it? Who's the composer? You can learn the words if you watch this link."

department stores: grandes almacenes
the mall : centro comercial
link: enlace



We hope you came by to try some of the 41 homemade desserts at the UEM LAB'S 2009 THANKSGIVING PIE TASTING FEAST. Did you taste the traditional American apple pies and pumpkin pies? Did you vote?

Well 149 people voted for "THE BEST COOK AT THE UEM" AWARD"
1st place went to Valerie Clark of the UEM LAB and her 10 year old daughter Isabel de Moya for their APPLE CAKE. In 2nd place was Maria Power of the UEM LAB with her Irish Banofee Pie.

"Honorable Mention" goes to Joseph Parker for contributing 3 desserts and earning 6,9 and 3 votes. Ismael Fernandez also received 9 votes. Another "Honorable Mention" goes to Gustavo VIOTTO and Lais KANTOR, Italian students who also brought 3 desserts called Little Kisses and Brigadeiros, and earned 2, 1 and 8 votes. Antonio MACEDA also received 8 votes for his Apple Pie with Flaky Crust.

We collected 297.80 Euros for the FUNDACIÓN RAIS, an NGO which helps the homeless.

Thank you for making this event a great success.

Look at the UEM LAB photo album for pictures of this event.Maybe you'll see yourself there!



Autumn Colors- Are you looking at them?

-Wendy Frankel

It's autumn! It's fall! It's "otoño"! Where are all the children? Why aren't they out here kicking up the leaves? And where are the other people? They should be out taking a walk or sitting on that empty bench.

Get out and look at the leaves, before they all turn brown.
Who's locked behind these shades and bars?

-wendy frankel


kicking: dando patadas

empty bench: banco vacio

taking a walk: tomando un paseo

shades and bars: persianas y rejas


A 3-day weekend! and then Thanksgiving, a 4-day weekend !

We have a 3-day weekend! There's a holiday this Monday. All holidays should be on Mondays. In fact, in the U.S. most holidays are celebrated on Mondays so that everyone who can, gets a 3-day weekend. We should do that in Spain!

And then there's Thanksgiving. That's a 4-day weekend! Yep, it's always a 4-day weekend, because Thanksgiving is the 4th Thursday in November so that everyone who wants to can get home for the weekend. The airports, train stations, bus depots and highways are crowded because Americans are all "going home" to see the family and have a Thanksgiving Feast.

All of you at the UEM campus are invited to our THANKSGIVING PIE TASTING FEAST. We can't put on a whole Thanksgiving dinner, but everyone is encouraged to try our APPLE PIE and PUMPKIN PIE and to contribute a home-made dessert. You could be the winner of the "Best Cook at the UEM" Award ! We'll cut all the desserts up into little pieces so that you can try a lot of them. If you don't contribute a dessert, you can try them anyway for 1 Euro.

All the money collected will go to the NGO: FUNDACIÓN RAIS, an "ONG" which helps the homeless in Madrid.

Hope to see you here in Building A on November 26th 13:30-15:30.


Some of the dessert contributed in 2008

Grammar: 3-day weekend, 4-day weekend.

Notice that "day" is singular: There's no "s". This is because it is used as an adjective and adjectives in English are NEVER PLURAL.


Halloween Eve: Madrid, 1975

Halloween Eve: Madrid, 1975

In 1975 Halloween hadn’t yet arrived in Madrid. Only the foreigners, the ex-pat community celebrated this childhood classic at private parties and bilingual schools. Halloween costumes and decorations were nowhere to be found. October 31st was the eve of All Saints Day, and that was that.

The film “Halloween” appeared a few years later. And then in 1982 a little extra-terrestrial named E.T. joined a group of trick-or-treaters and the world took notice: Steven Spielberg introduced Halloween to Spanish children. E.T. was surrounded by children in costume who had parties and went “trick-or-treating”. What fun! And they were on the big screen!

Over the last 30+ years Spanish children have seen more and more of Halloween in films and TV shows. And now Halloween is celebrated at schools. Whole aisles are devoted to witches costumes and draculas, pumpkins and Halloween décor at the local stores and supermarkets. It’s hard to ignore. Children demand to celebrate Halloween. The older generation don’t really approve.

Well, let’s get back to October, 1975. Girls had to be home at 10 pm. The Serenos patrolled every block. Things were pretty quiet and controlled. And we were going to have a Halloween party at my apartment! We were young! We didn’t realize that there could be any objection to this. Who could possibly care? Well, there were objections and not from the neighbors calling about too much noise. No, this party was stopped before it started. Someone from the Embassy called to say that more than 3 people at a time could be considered a political act, that wearing costumes was not acceptable either. Franco was terminally ill at the time, and our little party would not be appropriate.


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


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