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“Hi, good morning. So, the problem is that every afternoon I have cuts. There are cuts. The internet works, and then it doesn’t, and then it does again. Every two minutes. It falls and then returns. The red light blinks. Blinks? It is like this for one hour in the afternoon, every afternoon. I called the last week and they told me if the problem was not resulted, uh, uh, resolved in 72 hours, I should call again. Also, can you please speak slowly? I obviously don’t speak Spanish well.”

“Of course, no problem. Do you speak English?”


“Okay. I speak some English, but we will talk in Spanish so you can learn. Where are you from?”


“The United States.”

“Ahh, United States. Whose gone swan?”


“Who is going to win, Obama or Romney?”

“Oh! Obama. I hope. But I listened — um, this is hard — they say Romney has been very good in the debate, so things are changing.”

“I see. And what do you thin biscuit gannon stand?” 


“The wand afterstand.”

“I’m sorry, I…”

“Af… ghan… i…”

“Oh! Afghanistan! Um, obviously I do not like it. I think the soldiers are going to leave in 2014. But I believe that it is not responsible to leave without a military system or education or… those things. Does that make sense?”

“Yes, I understand. I am going to do a test on your line now. Have you been to Canada?”

“No, but I would like to. I recently realized I am a Canadian citizen. My mother was born there. Her father was military, so she thought … but yes. I don’t have a passport yet, but I will go!”

“I have a Canadian friend. He’s from Toronto. But honestly, Canada, the United States — they’ve never interested me. I would much rather go to other places, like Africa. What color is the light now?”

“Road. I mean red. Have you been to Asia or South America?”

“South America, yes, all over. I backpacked in Machu Picchu. Why are you living in Madrid?”

“I work at a high school in Moralzarzal. Do you know it? It’s near Villalba.”

“I’ve never heard of either.”
“Hm. Where in Madrid do you live?”

“I am in Chile.”

“Aha! I noticed that I did not recognize your accent! It was that! Where in Chile?”

“A town called Valleycars. It has about 40,000 people. It is on a river, the Tulip. It’s nice; it’s very quiet and I was born here. I live with my father and my sister.”

“How old is your sister?”

“40. I am 35.”

“Why have you just made that noise?”

“35 feels so old. But I still try to be active and do sports. I would like to go on a bicycle trip for several years. What color is the light now?”

“Still red. So wait, not like, a two-month bicycle trip, but years?”

“Yes, I was traveling for eight years.”


“What do you teach?”

“English, of course.”

“I used to teach music. I am a musician.”

“What do you play?”

“Trumpet, guitar. A little percussion.”

“No piano? In the United States everyone plays piano because…”

“It is a harmony. Like guitar. What color is the light?”

“Red, like always.”

“Has there been a sturmarang?”

“A storm or rain?”

“Rain, yes, but just a little. But like I have said, the problem started when the weather still made hot. Was being hot. When there was no storm, you understand?”

“Yes, I understand. I am going to transfer you to a technician.”


Previously: The First Time I Heard the Term “Helicopter Parents.”

As you may have surmised, Gillian Brassil teaches English in Madrid. Her internet is working again.


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