¡ Okay, time to head back to escuela espanol! As a late blooming Spanish learner with some vestigal French using up vital memory brain cells, I’ve taken what they call Travel Spanish many times before traveling to places like Costa Rica or Baha California but I didn’t really get past rock bottom survival Spanish.
Enter Warren Hardy and his proven method for teaching Spanish to adult learners like me. I became aware of this effective language study approach my very first winter in Ajijic. By learning and endlessly practicing and yes…gasp…translating 100 verbos I was suddenly able to rachet up my use of Spanish on day to day interactions. In mercados, in restaurantes, in bancos, with taxi drivers and most importantly in cantinas ordering a Margarita or a muy frio cerveza! I was able to confidently use the language with si, a mal/ bad accent but be understood. It was a miraculous quantum leap forward!
I took Level One twice which is what was recommended, tried to keep it up when I returned NOB/North of the Border pero/but it was a use it or lose it proposition alas. Fast forward to my third inviernos/winter. To begin with I was in Ajijic visiting amigo y amigas for three weeks. Well, far too many gringos for my liking hence I didn’t have to use even my vestigal Spanish very much at all. Because of the large expat population in many restaurants the menus are either bilingual or simply in English. Most people dealing with the expat population in order to increase their income on service occupations spoke English.
And omg, everywhere I turned around I was running into fellow Canucks! In fact the neighbors of the amiga I was staying at in West Ajijic were from Gabriola Island,a twenty minute ferry ride from Nanaimo and the woman was a retired librarian from the Nanaimo Public Library! Her exposo recognized my commemorative pin on my blue jean jacket!
I knew it was time to get outta Dodge or the Mexican equivalent. Now based in San Miquel de Allende, this city does have a ten percent gringo population pero the city has about 130,000 residents! This makes a muy grande difference! Spanish is the primary language of day to day life and commerce and it is generally not assumed that most people know English. In fact, since I’ve been here I’ve made some false assumptions that various locals who I’ve asked directions from were indeed gringos like me. Sometimes they do know enough English to assist me but not always like at Lakeside!
Anyway, as I head into my fourth week here in SMA,I feel it’s time to head back to the classroom to continue my Spanish lessons for the Winter of ’14.
Bring it on, Warren Hardy. Soy listo! I’m ready!
One week down and one to go. The two week communication class is an excellent refresher for this late blooming Spanish student. I´ve taken Level 1 twice so later this month I´m going to dive off the deep end into Level 2 and the perils and possibilities of speaking in the past tense! Knowing the 100 power verbos es excellente to get by but to kick it up a noche I really need to be able to converse hoy, manana y yesterday!