Yesterday, I had simply the best day! It started off with a morning Level 2 Spanish Class at the Warren Hardy Escuela in Centro San Miquel de Allende. This is really a tough quantum leap forward for this third time snowbird in Mexico! But poco by poco, ltttle by little the past tense is falling into place and I’ve got a somewhat shaky textbook grasp of direct and indirect objects. The wonderful thing about the Warren Hardy system of language learning is that it is immediately useful. Unlike the script/vocabulary based approaches typically used in Travel Spanish classes which I’ve taken in the past you actually can generate your own sentences that mean something to you and to the locals you are seeking to communicate with.
As a typical Canadian, I’ve spent lots of time in textbook French and was a late arrival to the world of learning Spanish unlike some of my fellow students. Just two winters ago, I basically arrived in Ajijic, Jalisco at ground zero in terms of Spanish everyday communication. Then I discovered the Warren Hardy system of language learning at the Lake Chapala Society and I actually mustered up hope that I, too could learn functional Spanish!
The first winter I worked on Level 1 one to one with Juan which was great. Then I returned to Canada and promptly forgot most of what I learned.
Fast forward to Winter Two in Ajijic where I once again took Level 1 because I had heard that Level 2 was really the most difficult level and that I needed a solid grasp of Level One and the power verbs. When I returned to Nanaimo I did enroll in Travel Spanish once again with a expat teacher from Guadalajara in an attempt to retain what I had learned but time went by and my survival/functional Spanish faded, alas.
Which brings me to Winter number 3 and a four month stay in San Miquel de Allende. Although there is a ten percent expat population here, I am hearing and using Spanish every day unlike Ajijic.
At the end of the second month in SMA, I decided to take the leap and enroll in Level 2! OMG!
It’s really true. Level 2 is definitely a quantum leap forward but my teacher this time around is THE Warren Hardy who is an excellent teacher. The lessons are well paced and effective and there is a lot of much needed repetition. Which is what I definitely need because I’m not a natural language learner but I do develop an ‘ear’ after being here for a couple of months. I’m slowly but surely making slow progress from survival Spanish to functional Spanish and yes, I can generate my own unique sentences to communicate my needs and ideas. It’s a wonderful thing!
Immediately after the final Level Two class, Warren and Tuli Hardy invited the class and other alumi back to their impressive estate/villa up in the hills overlooking the city for a potluck al fresco lunch. Absolutely amazing in terms of originality and scope the property has many levels and buildings including a white ashram type building that the gracious couple took those interested on a complete tour of. As I and the other students walked around the grounds and had a walk through of the unique custom designed buildings the word/palabra,’Shangri La’ came to mind!
Wonder if there IS a Spanish translation of this term/concept for the ‘Paradise Found’ estate that Warren and Tuli Hardy have s created in this semi desert colonial city?
In any case, we returned to the al fresco tented and tabled area to feast on a wide variety of offerings ranging from interesting botanas/appetizers to ensaladas/salads to entrees and finally some sweets to top off our lovely wrap up lunch.
Mil gracias, Warren y Tuli Hardy for your authentic and gracious hospitality!