Time to learn Spanish. In Perth. Yes, I know it would have been more logical to do this in California and to start about one year ago but better now and here than never.
It is not really news anymore that Jon and I are planning to travel to Costa Rica after our stay here in Australia. Even before and then during my seven weeks in Puerto Viejo, Talamanca in 2010 I realized fast that knowing the Spanish language is essential for spending time – and possibly moving – here. I lived with a wonderful local family for about 5 weeks and since they did not speak any English it was a fast track to learning Spanish from scratch. It was not always easy but we managed thanks to creative sign language, similarities between Spanish, English and German, and a good portion of humor and patience of my gracious hosts Rosa and Eduardo. All in all, I was able to pick up basic words and verbs, and even though I sounded like the worst grammatical nightmare we were able to communicate. And Jon and I got a lot of work done on the construction site, not to mention a hilarious trip to the local hardware store with the wonderful Bribri tribal elder Timoteo and his wife. But I digress.
My grammar is still shocking and I decided to check out ‘gumtree’, the Australian equivalent to craigslist to look for a Spanish tutor. I responded to a few posts and found Ivan and was not really ready to meet him the next day but did so anyway. I asked him if he would be open to Spanish & Coffee, my preferred way of learning: Meeting in a local cafe, having a latte and conversing (more or less) in Spanish with him correcting me as much as needed and teaching me some new grammar every time. But mostly conversation.
Ivan is great, from Colombia and just got to Perth as well. He owns a language consulting business in his hometown, his English is perfect and he is a very friendly and supportive teacher. Phew. BUT my Spanish sucks! It was barely okay in Costa Rica since I had the “I do not know any Spanish at all” excuse and Rosa did not mind speaking in turtle speed but now I realize how bad it is. It is not that I am depressed about it, I just realized the level of badness. Oh well, I guess it is not going to be like this forever (I hope) and I committed to three lessons a week to speed up the process: Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings at 8am. I convinced Jon to tag along as many times as possible when he does not have meetings in the morning. We will see what we can make happen in four weeks! Pura Vida!