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What I am: Complicated. A mom. A wife. A thinker. A seeker. A 'musician'. One of the volunteer executive directors of a niche music festival. An administrative business owner who set up shop in a senior's condo. Oh the stories!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

A word in Spanish

Previously, I wrote about my Spanish classes and how badly I wanted to learn to speak and understand.  Well, as of Monday, I will have two of eight levels of Spanish classes under my belt. Aplauso, aplauso for me!  Onto Level 3 in the fall.  I can now go to a Spanish speaking country and know how to ask for more than a beer and the bathroom.  I also have learned the difference between "I love you" and "What is your name?"  Very important, as it turns out. 

Senora tells us that she doesn't want to 'escare' us, but Level 3 and onward becomes much harder.  We learn many more verbs and do much more 'espeaking'.  She has now learned my name (probably associates it with the smell of fried onions) so I like to keep my head down so I'm not called on.  Often, she'll think she has asked each member of the class a particular question, but then she'll say, "OK, who I no asked yet?  Ah....Traaaaaacy."

We are encouraged to watch a series called, Destinos, which will help us absorb conversational Spanish.  Destinos is a soap opera set in the '80s and I am very distracted by the wardrobe, therefore not much Spanish is getting through.  Ramon's high-waisted jeans are far too tight and Raquel's shoulder pads make her look like a linebacker with too much blush.  I keep expecting Erica Caine to waltz on set and declare her undying love for Victor Newman. No me gusta.

My family and I really love Cuba.  We've been there several times, but to go for a short time and on the cheap like we do, you really only see the resort areas.  We are sick and tired of the beer-swilling fellow tourists who see this beautiful country as a place to get hammered, or worse.  We want to travel inland, away from the English speaking tourist areas, but in order to do that I need to feel comfortable communicating.

As it stands after completing level 2, I can do little more than play Bingo and have a bizarre conversation about one's personal hygiene and daily routine. I'm going to have to trust that the University folks know what they're doing.  I know I'm getting a base for vocabulary but I really have to question why we're learning some of the things in the order we are learning them!  It makes me think back to the many years of French classes I took in elementary and high school.  After all the nous avons and vous avezes, I have little in my French repertoire other than "Pass the Cornflakes" and "Guy is going to the discotheque".  I can also remember how to ask "Where is the library?" and  "There is a lovely tree in the yard" but in a situation where you're partying it up with some French folks, it just doesn't fit to slip that into the conversation.

The more I learn, the more I am tempted to keep my mouth shut!  According to my progress so far, I think the trip is going to have to wait a year or two. Still, if I were more confident and less self conscious, I would just out and out practice the things I know.  Sense be damned!  I should close my eyes and imagine myself rolling into a dusty Cuban town.  The townsfolk would eye us with curiosity... I would certainly impress them with the material from my two Spanish classes:

     Good Afternoon, My name is Tracy. What is your name?
     Ah, pleased to meet you!  What time do you shower in the morning?
     Can I erase the chalkboard now?
     Julio Iglasias is a Spanish singer.

Further conversation would reveal more impressive facts from me:

     The pencil is on the table.
     The cat is named Bonita.
     Carlos is a firefighter.

And my piece de resistance-o:  Where can I find a Bingo game?


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