Well, I’ll tell you what’s up with me! Officially, as of today, I’m a spanish student — well, sort of, since it’s of my own making but what the heck. All I can say is “this ain’t easy!” Let me tell you, learning a second language at this age is calling on every last brain cell I have!! Forget the crossword puzzles and sudoku math puzzles — THIS is a killer way to fight early on-set dementia.
This morning I actually put my new found Spanish language skills to the test during breakfast with Tim and Kayla. I was able to say, “I need to take a taxi to the bank today” and “He wants to go to the movies but needs to work later.” Neither of which pertained to any of our lives at the moment but let’s not lose the point here, okay? And in case you think I haven’t learned anything of great importance yet, you are sooo wrong! “Necesito ir al baño ahora.” How do you like them apples!
Remember how I said that life in Costa Rica is very laid back — nothing done in a rush. Well, I am plenty thankful for this because I’m afraid it’s going to take the patience of Job to wait for me to finish a sentence in spanish when we return in May.
The brilliance of this program (Visual Link Spanish) is that every word is presented with an animated picture for easier recall. I’m amazed at how well it works, except that there is a rather lengthy delay at this point as I hear the English, rummage around in my head for the picture and then slowly but surely swoop down on the spanish translation. It works, just in s–l–o–w motion at this point in time. But I’m bound to get faster…aren’t I?
Having a son who is fluent in Spanish should be helpful but we have completely different learning styles and, whereas, he immediately and forever retains what he hears, I am on the far opposite end of this spectrum! I found myself begging him this morning to stay within my limited vocabulary as he quizzed me. After several minutes he asked, “Aren’t you bored?” Bored?? Ahh, NO! Far from bored, I was ecstatic with my recall of 3 verbs, 8 nouns and 4 references to time of the day! I’m just hoping that after a night’s sleep, they will all still be there tomorrow morning!
Granted I may never become fluent but, dang it anyway, I don’t want to be like so many of the gringos I met in Puerto Viejo. Some had lived there for 5 years and were proud of the fact that they still spoke no spanish. The best part of Costa Rica is their culture. I don’t want to be an “outsider” living among the locals.
I’m excited to think that just maybe the next time I shop at the local Saturday feria (public market), I can actually converse with my favorite vegetable vendor. Up until now, we have had to rely on sign language and the occasional bilingual shopper who stepped in to help with translation. It won’t matter if I botch the language, he will be pleased that I tried.
Learning the language puts me one step closer to reaching my dream of living there one day. Waking up to the sounds of jungle animals and sunshine, living organically, using bikes for transportation, perfecting my spanish, and living a laid-back existence among friends both expats and locals sounds rather “dream-like” doesn’t it?