Sunday, January 8, 2012

Putting a toe in the water.

I'd rather do that here in America than in Ecuador.  That's what it was like, in a way, participating in the Spanish language conversation group in Burlingame Saturday morning. It was similar to being in a Latin American country. I know about ten Spanish words, so I was pretty much without a clue as to what was being said. That's why I was "mucho gusto" paying attention with not only ears but eyes--- to watch hand movements and facial expressions. Most of the twenty or so people there were not native Spanish speakers, but a few were, and they helped unhesitatingly the less fluent to understand rarely used words. I was impressed with the fluency of quite a few speakers there to whom Spanish is a second language. 
I told people about my plans to visit Ecuador and interested inquiries were made as to the scope and object of the visit. One couple plan to soon retire in Guatemala and teach English as a second language, on a part time basis.  Another lady from Mexico teaches Spanish at a high school in San Francisco. A word of advice I was offered while there by a man that I understand is very important in regard to learning Spanish. He said when in Ecuador, don't speak English. I can't be absolutist about that however because I'll be needing to Skype with English only speakers in America.
But the advice I consider highly valuable. If I can fix it, I'll live in a home composed solely of Spanish speakers.  And if I meet other English speakers at the Spanish school, I swear I'll avoid their company if they start speaking in English whenever they get together, for example, at the local ex-pat bar. To me, what's the point of living in Ecuador if half the default conversation is in English?