Dear Mom,

OK, so I THINK I understand a little bit about the subjunctive, because I have read this.

However, I would love to have your help in applying any knowledge you have on the subjunctive tense to Spanish. For example, under what circumstances should one use the subjunctive tense in Spanish? Are the circumstances the same as they are in English?

I have found myself spending quite a bit of time with this guy I met on my 3rd day here, José Romero Antonio de los Angeles [not his real name], (though you can call him 'José' for short). He and his best friend, Ana, have been far more instrumental in my improving my Spanish than the school has been. There's nothing WRONG with the school exactly, but it's just not a very good environment to learn a language, when it comes down to it. I´m going to get what I can from the school experience, but next time, I will not bother with formal study. I already have most of the basics in place, and the thing I need to improve is my vocabulary and to learn colloquialisms.

I´ve learned a tonne from being forced to speak in Spanish with José and Ana, and very little practical stuff from the school.

Which brings me back to the subjunctive thingy. I tried to get some tutoring on it from José and Ana, but they really don´t understand it so well themselves. They report that it is a rarely used tense, and they argued amongst themselves for a few minutes before delivering to me their verdict that it was not, in fact, important that I learn it. Nonetheless, I do wish to have it in my repertoire, and so I petition here your assistance.

Finally, on the subjective of subjunctivitis (haha, or, as they write here, ¨jaja¨), is there any relationship between the subjunctive and the imperative in Spanish? That is, does it make it easier to learn the subjunctive if you already know the imperative? Or vice versa? Any assistance you can render would be wonderful.

I fly tomorrow to Madrid. I'll check in again soon thereafter.

I've not liked the food here so much, honestly. They eat tiny portions of mediocre food, and it seems that the majority of their daily calories come from olive oil. And they LOVE tuna! And I'm not talkin' 'bout fresh, line-caught tuna. I'm talkin' regular, Chicken of the Sea, canned tuna filets. It's the most popular fish/meat here, besides "jamón serrano", which is just a very very old ham that was smoked and salted several years before (maybe 10 years ago?), sliced thin, and then doused with, of course, olive oil, served atop stale bread, and christened a "tapa".

OK, well, I'll look forward to talking to you soon - either by phone or email. Let me know if you want anything either from Málaga or Madrid, ¿ok?