¡Hola¡ ¡Bienvenido a mi aventura en Centro América! I am drowning in Spanish right now. Quite literally. I have thrown myself into it between a homestay with a Mayan family and Spanish school without any prior knowledge of Spanish…and it is definitely the best way to learn.
For the past two weeks I have been in San Pedro La Laguna, a sleepy and picturesque town on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. The town is engulfed by Volcán San Pedro which sits right behind it. The daily views of the enormous lake and numerous towering volcanoes is truly breathtaking. The majority of people here are Mayan and they still hold many traditional values and keep to their culture, with the Spanish influence of Catholicism or Evangelism present. The narrow streets are regularly filled with bright colours, music and singing.
As I said I’ve literally thrown myself into Spanish here as my main aim with this first stop in Central America is to learn Spanish. And why here? San Pedro was recommended to me by friends as it is beautiful and affordable, and I also read an amazing blog about the Spanish school I’m attending: La Cooperativa. For only 1580 quetezlas a month (around 160 UK pounds) I get accommodation with a local family, 3 meals a day for 6 days a week (Sunday is family day) and 4 hours of lessons a day Monday to Friday with my own tutor. ¡Bueno! My brain is taking time to adjust to all the learning but I’m enjoying it (mostly.)
And so the teacher has become the student; it has certainly given me a new perspective and filled me with empathy for any student that I have ever taught. I am not the most perfect student: I haven’t turned in my homework three times, I get frustrated if I can’t understand the ‘why’ behind irregular verbs (“it just doesn’t sound right in Spanish” irks me as to a non Spanish speaker it sounds perfectly fine!) and I ask A LOT of questions. Luckily I have a very patient teacher who bears with me, challenges me when necessary and doesn’t scold me for late homework submission.
The best addition to my learning is definitely the homestay. It was slightly overwhelming at first as the family do not speak English so our interactions were awkward to say the least, the 96 year old grandma hunts me upstairs (to the kitchen) at every opportune moment, I can hear EVERYTHING on the street and my room is an overbearing lime green:
But anyone who knows me knows that I love a challenge, I love old people, I can sleep through most things and I’m never too fussed about where I sleep so I have settled in perfectly well. I now can have a laugh with my foster family- I even picked up a couple of Mayan phrases so I can chat with grandma- and I have a healthy balance between family time and me time. ¡Esta agradable!
Es todo por ahora. ¡Hasta luego!