Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room…

…is a Dwight Yoakum Song.  Not one of my favorites but it has a catchy title.

Well, we’ve come full circle.  I AM alone in a hotel room in Madrid ready to catch my early flight back to the world.  There is a wedding reception going on outside my window and they apparently hired a flamenco band.  We’ll see how much sleep I get.  Toledo decided to have one of it’s city-wide parties last night and set up a stage with a I-don’t-know-what-you-call-that-music band blasting away into the wee hours.  I guess I will sleep when I get home.  My yard needs mowing, my dog needs walking and my wife, well I am looking forward to being where I really belong.  But HEY! What a blast, huh?

As the program picked up momentum my students and I all had many adjustments to make and I regret that I didn’t have the opportunity to write more.  There was plenty of inspiration.  I will be rearranging this blog to make it more accessible to someone who might be thinking of studying in Toledo in the future and I will be adding a small assortment of the 2500+ pictures I have in the coming weeks.  So check back.  You or someone you love may become famous given the HUUuuuuge popularity of my ramblings.  I have posted some pix from the night after everyone left.  It was weird walking around a town which was celebrating the 30th anniversary of being named a World Heritage Site and not running into someone I know.  I remember the first time when I just couldn’t stand it any longer and snuck across Zocodover to McDonalds and didn’t WANT to run into anyone I know and be busted for cheating on the cultural immersion thing.  Sometimes you just NEED a french fry.

My hope is that everyone who came had half the great experience I had.  If so, then we shall put this one down in the success column.  From my perspective, the students changed a lot in a relatively short amount of time.  Quite a few of them have become some pretty impressive Spanish speakers and all are way ahead of where they were.  It was a hoot when we were somewhere with a guide who didn’t know us who would start to explain Mudejar architecture versus Gothic and the students would make it clear that their time was being wasted, they probably knew more than the guide thanks to Profesor David Calvo.  Or the time the guy pronounced “aljibe” not to the satisfaction of the students who corrected the native speaker.  These people really grew into their new life as people with some serious skills and knowledge and the confidence to use them.

The confidence, that is what I am most impressed and satisfied by.  People were doing things as a matter of course that back in January they found seriously intimidating.  For fourteen weeks I have watched a group of people work their way through challenges that I am sure will return benefits throughout their lives. It was my privilege to be there.

I will close with a heartfelt “Thank you” to my students for sharing this part of your lives with me and wish you continued adventures for decades to come.  Now you have a better idea of what is possible.  Never lose that.  The world is a place where YOU get to decide how to make it work for you.  Also, remember the thousands of kindnesses that complete strangers offered us so freely and do the same for others when opportunities occur.  There’s your real Final Exam.  Make this all mean something!

With Love and Great Respect,


One thought on “Buenas Noches from a Lonely Room…

  1. Keith, I don’t think my words will ever adequately express what I have lived and learned through Anna’s time in Toledo. I have come full circle from the terrified mother who sobbed the entire way home from the Pittsburgh airport after leaving her baby girl there to begin her journey abroad, to a mom who sobbed again for pretty much three days before Anna arrived home. But this time was different because I was sad that her time in Spain was drawing to a fast end. I didn’t want this wonderful experience to end for her or her classmates, and selfishly for me either!!

    My faith and trust in God has once again be strengthened, as I was reminded that I can’t control those things that are out of my control. I had to entrust my most precious possession with you, her host mom, professors, classmates, etc. Prayer after prayer was answered and every single thing worked out as it should.

    We can never express our gratitude enough to you, the staff at OU, the professors in Spain, Annas host mom, and on and on, for the absolutely wonderful, once in a lifetime experience that not only Anna had, but her family and friends as well.

    Through her travels, all of our lives were enriched by the many wonderful things you all experienced there. I said before, our hearts are filled to capacity with thankfulness that Anna was able to do this. We are blessed beyond belief and can’t wait to see where her journey takes her next.

    Thank you again for EVERYTHING! You rock!!!!


    Anna’s mom and of course all those Brewster-ites who traveled right along with you all!!!


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