Well, I did it — signed up for Spanish lessons! I paid in advance for 2 hours a day, 3 days a week, for 10 weeks. Surely I will walk away more conversant in the language than I am now!
There are two other people in the class, retired men who live here in Boquete with their wives. One has lived in Central America for several years – a year in Nicaragua, a few in Costa Rica, and now Boquete for about 6 months, I think. The other has lived in Boquete for almost 4. That gives them a head start on me as far as conversation goes; in fact, after I first introduced myself to the class (as we all did, in Spanish) one of them seemed incredulous that we all tested in at the same level. Good thing I have a strong ego!
I’m glad Mark didn’t sign up, because he would HATE this! Instead of being rule focused, with lots of drills, which is what we had (and needed) last year, this is very, very conversational. I feel like it’s already helping me understand people better when they speak.
Mark and I went to a party Friday night, and I forced myself to practice my Spanish, even though the people I was speaking to spoke English quite well. Two of the women were laughing at themselves and their heavy Spanish accents. One said that she greeted someone who came into her office, asking if he were there to donate to the upcoming function, and he said “Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t speak Spanish. Is there anyone here who speaks English?” She said “I AM speaking English!”, in her heavy Spanish accent — it was a hilarious story when she told it! People look at me like that now when I speak Spanish to them, and I don’t have the perfect grammar and vocabulary she does — I can just imagine how they feel!
Practice may not make perfect, but I’m sure it will make improvements!