I had hoped that we would be finishing at 12.30pm this year, but I'm afraid I was misinformed, or probably misheard (more likely). This would have meant that I would get home by 1pm and still be able to Skype home. It turns out that we do have fewer classes but they go until 2.30pm, Monday-Wednesday. On Thursdays, we go home to have lunch at 1.30 and come back for two more periods in the afternoon (but hopefully I will wiggle my way out of that), and Friday we finish at 1.30. So at least I can see mum once or twice during the week. It was nice to be able to kind of hang out and talk about recipes and other useless stuff, though. JYC (the exchange company here in Spain) discourage us from talking to people back home, but I've found that keeping in touch gives me more comfort than not knowing what's going on. I feel less lonely, even if it means I'm not getting into the whole being Spanish thing.
I guess Spain isn't really for me. I think this has impeded my ability and willingness to learn Spanish (but I would still nominate laziness as the main culprit), which is of course a huge disappointment. I probably won't get over that for awhile and will be complaining about it (at least to myself) for months to come. I still think that the country is a great holiday destination and that there are wonderful things to see and do here. But, as Simon (side note: I joined a church, and Simon is from Northern Ireland and is very nice, as is everyone else at church and I am really enjoying going despite having taken so long to get off my butt and find one) said, if you're a foreigner here, it's so hard to integrate properly. I think it's part of the culture, and perhaps they are unwilling to be completely open because they are so proud of who they are. This is only a hypothesis and I'm unsure what I'm trying to get at here, but this aspect of Spain is one I find both interesting and sad.
So yeah! I joined a church. It's called Oasis Madrid, and is an international English-speaking community. Six of us went for a hike on Saturday, and while I feared a bit for my knees on the mostly-way-down, I really enjoyed getting out and doing something I don't usually get to. They do a sandwich route for homeless people on Saturdays too, so this week I might go do that.
Counting down the weeks until I get on that plane (December the 2nd). There is so much I want to do when I get home.