Navigation Pages

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

End of an Era - Spanish Classes Complete

It seemed a bit of an anticlimax, my final Spanish lesson. I've been taking classes since November of 2013 pretty well non-stop, except for Christmas breaks and occasionally a couple of weeks of down time between sessions. It's hard to believe that the process has come to an end.

What have I achieved, you might ask? A good solid basis on which to improve my Spanish. Yes, after a year and a quarter I'm no where near fluent, nor do I think I ever hope to be, but I can get by. Sure, I mess up on conjugations, forget to use (or overuse) subjunctive and I could use a serious increase to my vocabulary, but what I do know seems to be useful. Case in point, we wanted to get some frosted window coating to cover half our master bathroom window, just for a bit of privacy. So we started checking all the little hardware tiendas in our neighbourhood, then we checked the plastic sellers (yes, there is such a thing here-they provide to-go containers, straws, plastic shopping bags etc.) but we weren't brave enough to go in and ask about a "cosa" (that means thing - we didn't know how to begin to describe what we were looking for) for our "ventana" (window).
Kind of apt, no?
We walk past a taller de letras (or signage shop) every day and I finally took a moment to read what they had to offer. It seemed like they might have what we were looking for. I took a deep breath and entered. I was polite and said "buenas tardes, como esta?" and then plunged in to an awkward, but apparently intelligible request for "lamina para vidrios que  puede darnos una poca de privacidad." (Laminate for glass that can give us a bit of privacy...I probably should have used subjunctive, now that I think about it - pueda instead of puede). "En el estilo de helado?" was the response (or something to that effect - I only really caught the helado part). Yes! That's exactly what we wanted - to make the window look frosted.
How I felt for the first 6 months or so...

Needless to say we left with a sheet of lamina helado and a plastic scraper to smooth out the bubbles. Success!

Here's the thing you need to know, or at least this is my experience...I'm usually so wrapped up in trying to think about how to say a thing, and deconstructing once the words are uttered that I normally miss whatever the response is, or only catch the tail end of it. I'm hoping this is normal. I also spend a lot of time after thinking about ways I could have said things better, after the fact. I just wish that my conclusions would stick in my brain and offer themselves up readily during the next challenge, but alas this is not the case.
Si, hablo espanol!

I know enough to know I'm not saying things correctly, but unpracticed enough not to be able to correct everything right away...sometimes it comes to me an hour later, but bless the Ecuadorians, they are patient and don't even cringe as I butcher their language. They're the first to tell me that my Spanish is very good (they mean for a "gringa") and while I don't believe them entirely, it's still nice to hear.

So, thank you Ana-Luisa (of Coffee Club Spanish for your patience, guidance and humour...I'm sorry I can't be the star pupil that leaves your class with fully functioning Spanish, but I know more than I did a year and a bit ago, which I'll have to be satisfied with for now.


  1. Congratulations Danica, a lot of hard work I'm sure. We were both pretty impressed that you could carryon a conversation for over 6 hours with our driver to the coast, so you're probably doing better than you think.

  2. Thanks for that Tom...he was very forgiving and really (REALLY) liked to chat.