Along the Natchez Trace

Thursday, January 26, 2017

A Happy Woman...

One of the things Bill & I wanted to pursue while here in Mexico this winter was to (for me) learn to speak Spanish, and for Bill to improve his rusty skills.  
This was one of our first lessons...  taken back on November 2, 2016.
There were 8 of us in that class......

 with Molly, our teacher, sitting on the floor with her dry-erase board beginning our instructions.

Learning a new language doesn't come easy to me...  I've made attempts to learn Spanish in the past.  A few years ago Bill & I enrolled in an Enforex school in Seville, Spain, attending class 5 hours a day, 5 days a week for 2 months.  I didn't get very far in class, but sure had a great time in Seville.

While the going for me is still very slow, this time is different.  There are plenty of English speaking folks here, but most of the shop keepers speak limited English and we have lots of opportunities to talk with local people who speak no English at all.  The incentive to learn just to be able to communicate is really strong.

We started lessons back in November with classes held once a week.  Molly also taught an English class to folks who spoke only Spanish.  She invited our class to sit in on those classes, and we not only benefited from the language lessons but established some new friendships.

Most of those students were artisans who work the tianguis (street markets) during the winter months, and after a few weeks, fewer and fewer attended class as they were busy selling their jewelry and other artwork at nearby towns.

Molly rearranged the "classroom"...  hanging the chalk board on the wall where she was able to better direct her attention to all of us.

Molly's lessons aren't just learning to conjugate verbs...  yeah, we're learning when (and how) to use "soy" and "estoy", but often we'll spend half the lesson time talking about local expressions, about words we've heard or the such.

Molly decided to discontinue the English lessons for the time being...  and we asked if she'd consider teaching the Spanish class twice a week.  So now lessons are on Wednesdays and Fridays...  they're supposed to be an hour or 1.5 hours, but often run into 2 hour classes.

This is the official song for Nayarit (the state where we live).  
We have fun trying to sing it when we start each class.

We usually have homework, and often it's to do three things...
1)  Listen for certain words or phrases when out and about (like... Que te vaya bien, which is an expression meaning "Have a good day").
2)  Write out 5 sentences using the verb we're learning.
3)  Have a Mexican friend check your sentences for accuracy.  (this encourages us to get out and meet the locals).

I guess I didn't have my sentences checked the other day...  
We were learning the difference between "I am - (permanent)"  and "I am (temporary)", and I used the sentence "I am a happy woman".  Well, whatever I wrote, the interpretation was...  I was saying I'm a slut.  The whole class just cracked up laughing (with me laughing the hardest!).... 
It's so easy to mispronounce or just plain use the wrong word, and, boy! can it backfire on you!

I look forward to each class...  I may be a slow learner, but I'm sure having fun along the way!

That's All For Today!


  1. I studied Spanish in high school. Even then the words slipped together. You'll be fine, it will all make sense some day.

  2. It can be fun trying to learn Spanish, I learned a bit, self taught before we went to Mexico and managed to get by no problem.
    Miss pronouncing or using the wrong word can be fun.

  3. Hahahaha. You crack me up! How in the world did you write the word slut? Lol
    Molly sounds like an excellent teacher. Being a retired teacher, I think her homework assignment is perfect. Enjoy your lessons.

  4. What a funny mistake!! I bet that just made everyone's day including yours!!
    I think it is fantastic that you are learning another language!! You certainly have the motivation!! Keep up the good work!!

  5. When I was in Honduras everyone was cautioned to be VERY careful about how we wished locals Happy New Year. Apparently it can come out in an equally inelegant manner.

  6. People say I have a knack for learning languages, and I learned Norwegian pretty fluently over 6 weeks when living there. Like you I'd like to learn Spanish, but we are currently not travelling and so we don't get into a Spanish speaking area. Good luck and progress with your classes.

  7. It’s great that you’re having so much fun! Mark and I have taken Spanish classes a few times. The more the class progressed, and I didn’t, really stressed me out! It sounds like you’ve found a great teacher.

  8. Thanks for sharing your Spanish story at the end. We had a funny incident too, talking to vendors at a beach in the Dominican Republic. Greg mixed up hombre (man) and "hambre (hunger). We all cracked up laughing, except Greg, who had no idea he'd basically said he was hungry for a man!