Espanol Escuela in Esteli

Trip Start Aug 09, 2007
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Flag of Nicaragua  ,
Saturday, December 13, 2008

We have made it to our long awaited Spanish school in Esteli.  We have been planning to take a Spanish course on this trip and heard this was an excellent place to do so.  Here is the website for our school http://www.ibw.com.ni/~horizont/.  We choose this particular school because the reviews were good, the spanish was one on one, a homestay and an afternoon activity.  Plus, the area is not touristy and little english is suppose to be spoken in town therefore immersing ourselves deeper into using Spanish and the culture.  The cost for the lessons, activites and homestay with three meals a day is $190 each for 6 days (20 hours of class).  Not too bad and keeps us really close to budget. 

Our homestay is with the sister of the schoolīs owner.  Lucila is probably around 70 years old.  Very sweet woman.  Her son comes over nightly and we try to use some of our newly aquired speaking skills and he too trys to pick up on the English.  We arenīt quite sure of his story.  He is married and we met his wife once but he comes over nightly for dinner and is over often in the afternoon watching TV and what not.  He seems to be a bit of a premadonna.  She even heats up water for his showers and carries the large bucket into the shower for him and cleans up after him.  He doesnīt lift a finger for anything.  Probably part of the culture here.  He appears to be close to 40 yrs old.  I probably look like the bad wife as we both clean up our dishes.

We get fantastic meals that are high in carbs and fat but are yummy none the less.  Lunch, as in most of Latin America, is the larger meal.  Breakfast (desayuno) is fruta y pan y cafe.  While the other meals (almuerzo y cena) is surrounded around rice and beans and tortillas typically with a vegetable in a cream based sauce.  She squeezes us fresh orange juice in the mornings. 

The home is very simple (as all are).  Most every structure is made of concete walls (inside and outside is same wall) and a tin roof with gaps that provide airflow as well as noise flow.  The whole home flows openly from garage to living room.  One simple kitchen with no oven or stove just dual propane burners on a counter and a small fridge.  One sink exists in the entire house for handwashing, teeth brushing, dish washing and laundry cleaning.  The living room has about 4 rocking chairs and thatīs about it.  There are two TVīs however.  One in her room and one outside ours otherwise technology is pretty simple.  Showers are freezing (el duche is muy frio)!  Hot water doesnīt exists in Nicaragua unless you heat it up yourself.  So showers are an adventure.  I turn on the water and watch it run while giving myself a pep talk to get in.  We are however luckier than the other students.  One has no toilet seat (we have one and it is even soft and puffy!) and the other has a connecting wall to a butcher that slaughters pigs around 4 a.m.  You all know I couldnīt begin to deal with that. 

Our teachers are great and both younger than us.  Mine is Isabel and is 18 and Jeremyīs is Aura and is 24.  They know a little English which helps otherwise we would be completely lost trying to realte things.  But 95% of class is in Spanish with much charades to learn the words.  They arenīt suppose to use much English but without some the first two days I would have probably walked.  We are both feeling pretty good about our progress but at first it was frustrating.  We walked in with high expectations of being pretty communicative after two weeks but have come to realize the road will be much longer than that.  We can speak simple sentences now but need to really memorize the words so we still need to use the dictionary almost all the time.  We feel our vocabulary is around a 2 years old however Martin (the son) said we are at least 4 years old know.  Yey!  Plus it is funny to learn a language along side learning grammar.  We certainly knew how to talk way before we knew what a adjective was and how to conjugate. 

Our afternoon activities look intersting however we only get a gist of what is being told to us as, you guessed it, it is in Espanol.  There are two dutch students whose skills are more advanced and can usually pick up on some more.  We visited a natural medicine clinic, an art center for creating revolutionary art to record history (seen everywhere around the country on the outside walls) and a paper recycle shop where woman recycle paper to create cards and notebooks for money. 

So far our experience has been great.  The area is beautiful surrounded by many green hills.  The area is known for farming and cowboys.  We met a Nico couple who lived in LA for 30 years.  First night we were here, we went to the Virgin Mary celebration a couple of doors down and immediately meet English speaking people.  It was quite funny but a welcome repreve.  They took us to their farm nearby the next day and it was nice to talk with them.  They moved back as the cost of living here is so cheap and they are close to retirement.  They can live here for $400 per month.  Canīt quite do that in the States.  There are also others that speak some English but we donīt expect it.  The other day someone said Ļeight cordobasĻ and we looked at him funny trying to figure out what eight meant.  The adventure continues.......pictures early next week.
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