Thursday, January 29, 2009

Good Day to Sail

This is the kind of day that has me wishing for a sailboat. It is another gorgeous day here in paradise, just enough breeze to keep a boat moving along.

We survived our first Spanish lesson yesterday. Our little class of 5 met with Esmerelda, a young island woman with experience in teaching Spanish, for the first session. She started out by asking each of us a number of questions, in Spanish, and then based upon our answers, either helping us or praising us. We all know a little, enough to understand most of what she asked us and to answer back in Spanish, things like..."how long have you lived on the island?... where do you live on the island?" She then asked each of us for our objectives - what were our specific needs? Andy is a volunteer at the Sandy Bay Children's Home and takes care of a couple of new arrivals who speak no English so he needs to be able to give them directions (like "take a shower!" or "go to bed"). Another man needs help communicating with construction workers. I need to learn medical terminology if I'm going to be useful at the clinic as well as how to communicate with our gardener, the hairdresser who cut my hair yesterday, and the man with the vegetable truck. The other woman in our class had tried to take a taxi to Alba Plaza and had difficulty conveying where she wanted to go.

Esmerelda then took each person's request, wrote our questions on the board in Spanish and we practiced saying them, along with other possible answers. So I learned to say "don't cut my bangs too short...take a little more off back here", etc. We learned that island people say "take a bath", never "take a shower", and that the word for bath is slightly different if you are telling several people to take a bath versus just one. We also learned a few typical expressions here that are different than in Mexico, like they would say "que tal" rather than "que pasa" when asking what's going on or what's happening, although both are correct, but if you are ever in a car accident the police will ask "que sucediendo"...for what's going on or what has happened. And we tried rolling those blasted "rr", which I just cannot do.

We have homework! Vocabulary words to memorize, a dialogue to practice, rr sounds to try, before our next class on Monday.

Now, if only my haircut had gone that well...

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