The reason we left cozy America is because we wanted to learn another language and with all our books, CDs, and Rosetta Stones, it simply wasn’t working. We couldn’t stick with it, we weren’t hearing it spoken, and we simply didn’t have the dedication to learn another language, even though we’ve both talked about learning since we’ve known each other. So we’re here to learn Spanish.
We’re at the Cooperativa language school in San Pedro La Laguna on the shores of Lake Atitlan. We heard about the school through our cycling friends Jenn and David, the Canadians we met and rode with on our bicycle trip down the West Coast this past summer. We’ve found since we’ve arrived here that there are actually a lot of these schools here, maybe a dozen, and there are a lot of foreigners here both for school and for the touristy town itself. It’s seems to be on the “Central American” trail for most folks touring this part of the world and a stop at one of the language schools seems pretty common.
But for us, not on a touring trip, this is a set six week stop in San Pedro simply for the language school. We have four hours a day of one on one lessons with an instructor and then we have homework in the evening. It was kind of fun and exciting to have homework at first but after a month of it, it’s getting to be kind of a drag just like it was back in real school days.
Our teachers are cool and we’ll review the school once we’ve seen it through to the end but we are definitely learning and that is what we’re here for. We also learn through our homestay with the family of Miguel and Maria. Along with them, we share the home with Maria’s father Alex, and their two daughters still living at home, Norma (14) and Angela (6). Their extended family is large and uncles, aunts, and cousins always seem to be around giving us a good opportunity to practice what we’ve learned.
We’ve also realized we won’t leave here fluent in Spanish. Language is simply so massive and there is so much to learn and retain that it may take a lifetime of using it and practicing it to really get it down. At least that’s what we’re telling ourselves since we still struggle sounding like semi-intelligent beings when trying to communicate in Spanish.
But the end result is we can actually communicate pretty well right now. Julie still comprehends better than I do when listening to people speaking. Her talking has improved quite a bit because that is a large part of her lessons right now. I am getting a lot more of the grammar rules down so I’m getting the structure of the language down better. I’m no longer only speaking in present tense which is a big accomplishment. I have a ways to go but hope to get through all the main stuff in my six weeks so that then it’s really filling in the structure with practice and more vocab.
So we’re learning. Maybe not the most exciting blog post ever but we wanted to share what it is we’re actually doing here in Guatemala and how it’s going. We hope all is well back home. We’ve had some good emailing with friends and family (when the power is on here) and look forward to seeing people on our next leg of the adventure after this.