Along the Natchez Trace

Monday, February 25, 2013

One Step Forward Two Steps Back...

That's the way I felt a couple of days last week...  about classes and learning Spanish...
Enforex.... The school we attend.
Our classroom is the upper left window.

It's been a long time since I attended classes on a regular basis for any length of time.  It's been a long time since I actually THOUGHT about subjective verbs, or irregular verbs, or infinitives, or for heavens sakes... diphthongs!

At this school there is a morning session and an afternoon session.  Each session has a different teacher.  AND...  each week that teacher is likely to be different.
Students come and go....  some are here for classes for as little as one week...  some two or three...  some a month or more.

The school gives you a test upon entry and places you in the class at your ability level....  Basic 1, Basic 2; Intermediate 1, and 2, and Advanced 1 and 2.  Bill & I are in the Basic 1 level class.  There have been as few as 4 of us (students), and today there were 7.

Sometimes, after a day or so, a student will re-test and move into a higher level (there are no lower levels ;-)  

Spanish is the only language we are supposed to speak.  Some of the instructors are very strict about this, some will bail us out (in English) if we're desperate.  Today we students consisted of 3 Americans, 1 English, 1 Holland, 1 Japanese and 1 Austrian (who lives in Istanbul most of the time).  

We have workbooks to use and sometimes CDs are played for audio instruction.  I'll tell you right now that I've never understood one thing on those CDs.  

Each instructor we have had teaches a little bit differently.  Some are quite patient and speak slow enough we beginners can catch the words.  The morning instructor we have now doesn't speak English and doesn't speak very slow.  There have been times I've been completely lost.  (the two steps back part)

But you know something?
I AM learning...  not quickly, not easily, and certainly not smoothly. Today we conjugated some irregular verbs and I (pretty much) understood what I was doing.
Major breakthrough!

It's not just about learning Spanish, it's about learning ABOUT the customs of other people and trying the foods and seeing the city streets and buildings.  And I've learned some about the countries my fellow classmates are from.

And something else...
I'm having fun.  Okay... being totally frustrated about not understanding what's going in one class isn't fun...  but I like the challenge of learning.  I'll get over the frustration...  and in the process I'll have learned at least a little.

You know, I think I should have titled this...
Two steps forward, One Step back

That's All For Today!


  1. diphthongs, you say? oh, lord? I would imagine Spanish has a bunch of those guys. yay for your breakthrough!

    Your class sounds fascinating. I agree that the people and the customs ~ an Austrian living in Istanbul? would be the most interesting and fun.

    The accents must be a hoot! When I lived in old Mexico for a bit ... I met a guy from Brooklyn who was married to native Mexican ~ they had come down for a family visit.

    Let me tell you ... a guy ~ oh, and he was a policeman ~ from Brooklyn, New York speaking Spanish ... I mean ... eh? Kapassoo for Qué pasó

    lol... I can still see that guy with his body language along with the accent ... hilarious

    diphthongs must be a hoot in your class... love it

  2. I am quite impressed Sharon! Learning and living the customs as you are and for sure enjoying the food would be fun, but I am afraid I just would not have the patience you do for the you go girl..... make us all proud! All I see are steps forward so be kind to yourself and enjoy!

  3. My hat's off to you both. I tried to teach the girls Spanish (as we home schooled them both) but had to finally admit defeat. They went to a tutor. What fun to learn and live the culture at the same time.

  4. Good for you. I'm sure I would have bailed after a week. Or even a day.

  5. I know what you are going through with your Spanish lessons. I attended classes in Antigua, Guatemala and the instructors only spoke Spanish. No English. It was difficult, but I did raise my speaking level and comprehension after a while. Hang in there.

    Have you had a chance to do any Geocaching while you are in Spain? That would be interesting to pick up a few caches in a foreign country.

    We are enjoying your blog about Saville and look forward to each days adventure. We spent some time in Madrid and Toledo and really enjoyed our time there. Hope to get back sometime soon.

  6. I have enough trouble with English. My brain is not real good at language.

  7. Y'all get an A for trying...glad it's you and not me, but I would like to see the country!!!

  8. Concentrated learning like this is good for a person in many ways. I find that I become absorbed in the topic and all other cares disappear. You feel that you have accomplished something.

  9. Good for you for conjugating all those verbs! As for the dipthongs - I thought those were those itty bitty things the young people wear to the beach when they go for a swim...

  10. I admire your efforts. I wouldn't even try taking a class from a non-English speaker!