Friday, October 28, 2011

Word of the Day... or the Early Morning

Hello world! 

Hopefully you've already read about this in my previous post, but for those of you just now visiting and not in the know, I am in Spain participating in a program put on by the Ministry of Education. I am a language assistant in a high school in Calahorra, and am living in Logroño, a good 45 minute bus-ride away. While I'm here to teach English, I'm finding (as expected) that I have quite a bit to learn...

What am I learning, you may ask? Well, I could write about everything, but honestly, I'd probably never finish (it is an ongoing process, you know) and even if I could, the post would be so long that no one would want or have the time to read it. Instead, I will write about the things I am learning little by little, one post at a time. That way, you can learn with me. Today, our lesson is a word: La madrugada.

If you've ever  really delved into (or should I say hazarded) learning a foreign language, then you've probably realized that sometimes, things don't translate. You encounter words for which there are no single-word substitutions in your native tongue. La madrugada is this kind of word. Let me explain what it means (because, of course, when there is no one-word translation, description is the only way to convey meaning... I love that). Anyway, in English, we have dawn, dusk, morning, evening, noon, afternoon, day and night... have I missed any? Anyway, all of these words describe different parts of the day, but is this an exhaustive list? What about that strange time after late-late-night (who's on after Jay Leno, again?) but before sunrise... that time when most people, even the night-owls, have gone to sleep. The best (and only) phrase I can think of is "in the wee hours of the morning."  This is la madrugada, and I have recently become particularly acquainted with it. 

Two mornings a week, I experience first-hand the agony um beauty of la madrugada when I have to wake up at 6:30 to catch my ride to school for first period (the other day I start later, and can take the bus). It's really not so terrible, but those of you who know me know that, while I'm not a grumpy morning person, I am a much better night owl than early bird. Avian language aside, the ride to school in the morning really is pleasant. I get to see the sky start to wake up and change from night to not-quite-dawn. Beautiful. 

This is not my madrugada, but it's very similar.
At this point I should add one more word to your Spanish vocabulary, and that is madrugar. It's a verb and it means (you guessed it) "to wake up during la madrugada."

For example: 
Cate! Va con nosotros a Calle Laurel para ir de pinchos! Solamente son las diez.
(Cate! Come with us to get pinchos at Calle Laurel! It's only 10 o'clock)

Me: Pues, no puedo porque tengo que madrugar. :(
(Well, I can't because I have to... get up early.) 

And now you know something new :)

And now I'm off to Bilbao! Ciao!

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