Playing with language should be enjoyable. After all, it’s a hobby not a chore.
And that’s exactly how I approach teaching Spanish. You can dabble in it or get serious about it but you should always be enjoying yourself.
For instance, I paint pictures in my spare time, but I don’t want to go to art school and become a renowned artist. I just want to dabble with my paints for the pleasure of it.
So I’ve created a Spanish program for dabblers…another for medium enthusiasts…and a third for the serious players.
I call them the Moon, the Sun, and the Stars…and that’s how I think of my students.
I have a friend who has lived in Mexico for over 20 years. He knows about 100 words and cannot make a sentence. He speaks “Tarzan” Spanish. He doesn’t care to improve. He gets along fine with a good attitude and a lot of well-placed words.
My friend Susan came to San Miguel at age 65, retired with her husband Richard. She decided if she lived in Mexico she should learn to speak with the locals.
She and Richard enjoy visiting Spanish-speaking countries. They traveled to Argentina and many countries in South America. They walked the famous Camino de Santiago trail in Spain. They are not fluent, but they are fluid with their speech. They are now in their 70s and still on the move.
Some people are life-long learners. Some are not. Learning enough Spanish to get around is a pre-requisite to a fulfilling life in a Spanish speaking country…but the level you develop after that is entirely up to yourself.
I have seen thousands of students face the challenge of learning Spanish. Some give up. Most learn enough to get by. Some get hooked and learn it all. It is a choice and a personality type.
What’s important here is self-confidence and freedom. If you understand what people are saying and you can express your needs clearly, you’re going to have a lot more fun in your new life.
You’ll be able to connect with your waiter and tell him exactly how you like your steak cooked. You’ll be able to order cocktails from your bartender…tell your hairdresser how much you want cut off…and engage with the friendly local vendors as you wander around your local farmers’ and artisans’ market.
You’ll be able to develop a relationship with your maid and your gardener.
Best of all you’ll be empowering yourself with a new skill and that’s part of the adventure.
The good news is that everyone can learn enough to get by and enjoy themselves.
It takes some determination. It takes what I call spunk…but everyone can do it.
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