Sunday, June 17, 2012

Spanish Immersion---Six Weeks to Go.

July 30 isn't far.  Forty-four days away.  I'm feeling the amps about going more than ever.
I paid the rent for my studio in San Mateo while I'll be gone.  I paid the tuition to the Spanish language school, Simon Bolivar, plus the cost of rent and food to the Ecuadorian family with whom I'll be living. The flight ticket is paid.  I paid all this expense with credit cards, and when I return to San Mateo, I'll pay back the loans with pension deposits that will be accumulating in my bank account while I'm gone. I also set up automatic payments to pay the bills I'll be getting while I'm there.

The family is the Fernandez de Cordova Family.  Enma, 55, is the mother and does the housework and Ivan, the father, is 60 and works as an engineer. Two of their children are married with families of their own.  Ivan, 40, is a civil engineer and Mauricio, 36, an electronics engineer. Their 28 year old third child, Andres, is also an engineer and lives with the parents. I was told by the student coordinator for Simon Bolivar, Lorena Vivanco, that Enma and Ivan have three grandchildren who often visit.  I get a kick out of kids so I expect to enjoy it when they do.  Their house is a 20 minute walk from the school.  That's just about right for a day's exercise.  Lorena is filling in for Alexandra Diaz, the student coordinator who I have been in contact with about attending the school. She had a baby and won't return to work until sometime in July.
My Spanish lessons will be provided by a tutor Monday through Friday, from 2 pm to 6 pm. I'm hopeful the Spanish immersion of one- on- one tutoring and living with the family will enable me to speak with at least a moderate degree of fluency.  Helping too will be the daily immersion of radio and TV and Spanish newspapers and everyone around me where I go speaking Spanish.

I'm also looking forward with anticipation to tours of Cuenca and the countryside offered to students by teachers at the school.  ---The Inca ruins in Ingapirca---the Amazon Jungle---Guayaquil---craft markets and local fiestas--- I'll be keen on visiting Spanish colonial era churches and monasteries for the beauty of their architecture and religious significance.

Inca ruins in Ingapirca
Simon Bolivar offers dancing lessons in merengue and salsa as well and explains on its website that to learn the language you really need to learn the culture.
Having all these matters completed relieves me. I need yet to arrange for a mail forwarding service to deliver the mail while I'm gone, but I have the family's home address.   I also need to e-mail with Ivan about internet connections so I can have an ethernet cable hooked up and ready to go in my room when I get there. I have his e-mail address so all I need is to get around to it. He speaks English.
The Ecuador Expats group on Facebook is a virtually non stop source of valuable information about Ecuador. A recent post performed a direct personal service. The flight from Miami arrives in Quito at 11:00 pm, but the next flight to Cuenca doesn't leave until noon the next day. This post explained that a lot of people in this situation book a stay at Travelellers Inn Hostel for the night--- and a link was left to their website. I see at the website I can easily reserve a room and arrange to be picked up and transported there when I arrive.
This week before last I discontinued taking Spanish at San Mateo Adult School . I'm substituting instead with Spanish lessons via Skype from a tutor for an hour a day, five days a week.