Create-Your-Own ¡Extran Hero! Day

Fourteen people (including myself) turned out on Sunday, March 11th, 2012 for Create-Your-Own ¡Extran Hero! Day!  It was inspiring to see everyone gathered in Café Faborit near Plaza de España working on their own ¡Extran Hero! entries and sharing their stories from their times in Madrid.  The group was a perfect mix of great friends, readers of the blog, and those who heard about the event by word of mouth.  A big thank you to everyone who came out and participated in this event!

The Extran Heroes hard at work on their pages!
Here are the entries!  

Ashleigh Hess (Tigard, Oregon) writes about one of the humbling and true aspects of being a teacher- that you may need to brush up on middle school science and your students may in some cases know more than you do! 
Laura Tabor (Raleigh, North Carolina), member of the Auxiliares de Conversacion en Madrid Artists Group,  makes a hilarious observation about the naming of stores in Spain, some of which could use some creativity.

Cathy Smith, a reader of the blog who I had the great fortune of meeting at Create-Your-Own !Extran Hero! Day!, writes about mishaps with the Abono, the monthly unlimited-ride Metro pass that can be easily lost and demagnetized.

Kayla Hendrickson (Fresno, California), fellow English Teaching Assistant at IES Clara Campoamor,  with whom I share daily therapy sessions and is an English language whiz, writes about the time she thought our coordinator told her that each bathroom visit cost five euros. 

Colin Shevlin (Springfield, Illinois) uses his sharp wit to perfectly capture the confusion Americans face upon teaching British English in Spain, and all the new vocabulary we need to pick up.

Kogilan Govender (Durban, KwaZulu-Natal), who runs the fantastic Sunday meet-up called Global Night Out, a place for foreigners to make friends, practice language, and swap stories, tells how the 2012 World Cup put his country of South Africa on the map.

Natasha Raisch filled with positive energy, took her students to London and proved that you can’t take the Spanish out of the Spaniards- they found a way to have a botellón even while drinking is prohibited.

Alex Pons (Austin, Texas), a lovely and kind human being, made a new friend while in Spain: her landlord’s dog Pequito!

Of course, I, Mike Young (Staten Island, New York) was up to my usual habit: drawing the day’s ¡Extran Hero!  I drew this Stevie Wonder from a reference shot of his “Definitive Collection.” 
Matthew Troji´c (Flushing, New York), who has two years of experience teaching in France and is now adding Advanced Spanish to his linguistic repertoire, writes about the perceptions of native, spoken American English and “Proper English.”

Kyle Locke (Spring Lake, Michigan) draws a much-needed ¡Extran Hero! about Spaniards’ obsession with ‘jamon’.  Fun fact: for his ham leg he used as a reference the “Paradise of Ham” shop from across the street.

Kathleen Griesbach (in flux), future professor of Sociology, shares her eating adventures in Alcalá de Henares, or what I like to call “Quixoteville”!

Alison Ganem (San Francisco, California), who serves as my Chief Adviser, shares a story about seeing her high school student’s metal band perform that is so awesome it can’t be contained on a single page.   

Bob Weatherford (Laramie, Wyoming), English and Spanish scholar extraordinaire,  writes about how his students immediately identify him with “Bob Esponja,” otherwise known as Spongebob Squarepants.

Hail hail, the gang’s all here!

Since foreigners in Spain are not the only Extran Heroes, I opened the event to digital submissions. I received a number of great ones, as follows!

Olga Shcheglova (Omsk, Russia), who is now living exceptionally in the Big Apple and inspires me by the pursuit of her dreams, writes about her first experience as an Extran Hero aboard the New York City Subway.  
Dan Feldman (Staten Island, NY), astrophysicist and humor writer, tells us how his sleep is disrupted by booming announcements on the express bus, which provides transport from Staten Island to Manhattan.  Now I know what I have to look forward to upon return! 
Cathe Shubert (West Bloomfield Township, Michigan) is on a Fulbright in Andorra la Vella, Andorra.  She shares with us not just one, but two ¡Extran Hero! entries.  I had the lucky chance to meet Cathe during our mid-year meeting in Valladolid, in which she and the other Andorrans shared tales of their wonderful host country, which many incorrectly presume to be part of Spain.  Andorra, as we’ve learned, is a separate country rich with culture and comedy! 
I hope you enjoyed these incredible submissions.  If you liked what you saw on this blog post, perhaps we will meet at the next Create-Your-Own ¡Extran Hero! Day!

4 thoughts on “Create-Your-Own ¡Extran Hero! Day

  1. Hooray! I'm very proud to be a part of this event. Honestly, I've forgotten that I'm from Omsk, Russia for a while – thank you for reminding me of my roots! 🙂
    Indeed, go Extran Hero!

  2. Thank you so much for doing this, Mike. It was so great to reflect on our (not so) heroic moments this year and see how others are faring, as well. You're a great social catalyst! (Can I say that? I hope it made sense.)

  3. Hi Mike,

    I came across your blog, and very much enjoyed your writing.

    I run and would like to invite you to contribute guest posts about Spain to the site. We were recently featured in national Geographic and should you be interested in breaking into travel writing, this is a great opportunity.

    Is this something you might be interested in?

    If so, drop me a quick email at and we can see how to get started.

    Thanks and until soon,
    Isabel Eva

Comments are closed.