Escuela de Espanol
Trip Start Aug 20, 2011
53Trip End Dec 29, 2011
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I've had my moments of frustration at not being completely fluent in a fortnight (not putting any pressure on myself, obviously!), but the little victories in being able to make myself understood to total strangers has been worth it ...
I've been really lucky that since it's not high season here at the moment, I ended up with one-on-one tuition the whole time so that has really helped. All of the classes were totally in Spanish, instructions and all, so there was a fair amount of hand waving, miming, and practising of the aforementioned Spanglish to get things done, but I guess that was the point
I had 3 professoras in total: Liz as my first grammar/vocab teacher; Rebecca as my "Flavours of the Andes" food/cooking teacher; and Yusey for grammar/vocab in week two. They were all wonderfully patient and encouraging, so it's up to me now to keep practicing and revising before I get to Costa Rica for round 2. (Turns out I may have killed a few brain cells over the years - who knew?! ;-)).
The Flavours of the Andes course was different and a bit of fun. Rebecca's family own a local restaurant, so I got to not only taste a whole range of local dishes, but get involved in preparing it too. We took a trip the local market to check out all the local produce, visited a local suburban bakehouse, and I can now whip up a mean lomo saltado - essentially stir-fried beef with tomatoes and onions, and a local speciality. Happily I wasn't required to do the dishes!!
In my second week I also did a homestay with a local family which was great - the people were lovely and generous in their hospitality, and also were very patient with me whenever I tried to say something as it still takes a while to string a meaningful sentence together! Orti is the volunteer programme coordinator at the school, and it was her family whose house I stayed in. Her mother, Maria, is this beautiful little mama who is an awesome cook and was totally sweet to me even though we barely understood each other! Her sister, Violeta, also lived at the house so we shared a few meals together, and her cousin, Raphael, was also in town for a few nights and was a larger than life character who was also really keen I learn about Cusco and Peru so did his best to add to my edification!
I had my own little flat attached to the house so could come and go as I pleased, but shared breakfast and lunch (the main meal of the day here) with the family.
So all in all a fabulous experience - not always easy, but the people here were truly wonderful.