Monthly Archives: October 2014

A good note

I had a good day today in Spanish class didn’t get everything right didn’t get too much wrong either. I got some things right on the button. So I’m happy for a change not much to whine about. Well, nothing to whine about. One of the highlights today was that the Cultural Center had a performance for children. Two women one dressed as a clown another as a witch told a story and mixed several stories together and clowned around on stage with the kids. This was very entertaining and colorful. Being clowns the humor was obvious and loud the kids loved it and so did I because I could follow, at least some of it.

I’ll be on the road to San Felipe tomorrow and I’ll get there sometime in the afternoon. Hopefully all is well at my house.

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Almost done

I thought I was smart but trying to learn a new language is making me feel less so. I’ve found one concept “Reflexive Verbs” that I have a hard time getting my head around. English doesn’t have them Spanish does and it is a component of the language that to speak it well one has to master. I wasn’t getting the idea and the times I tried writing it out I got the thing wrong. Tonight when I got back to the house I sat down with my computer and went to YouTube and sure enough there were several YouTube videos on Spanish Reflexive verbs I watched a couple of them and got a bit better idea of how to use them, at least at the simplest level. So I wrote out the verb conjugations for four of them and then tried writing short sentences with the reflexive verbs. I’ll go over this with my teacher in the morning and see if I am on the right path.

We wrote out sentences today describing what some people were doing in some drawings I seemed to have that idea okay, even though in Spanish I make spelling mistakes. I need spell check in Spanish. One of our class discussions today was on regional differences in pronunciation of Spanish. My teacher could tell I had learned a lot of my spanish in Baja and Sonora by the way I used the ch letters didn’t know I had a regional accent ! Can’t speak Spanish well but I have regional accent ….go figure.

I took some photos of where we have class so I’m posting those today. The photos are the interior of the cultural center this where the classes are held. Tomorrow is my last day here, Saturday I drive back to San Felipe, it will be good to be back home and visiting friends.

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Tuesday new student arrives

We got a new student today he is an older man and a Priest and he is trying to improve his spanish. For once there was someone who was making as many errors as I was so even though I mad quite a few I didn’t fee so bad when he mad even more. Of course this was his first day and he hasn’t taken spanish for few years. He also smelled bad don’t know why.

Today was more irregular verbs seems the most used verbs in spanish are irregular in one tense or the other and some are irregular in all tenses. This makes things challenging to remember and my short-term memory has never been good. Once I learn something and can relate it to something I usually can recall it. Until then it is difficult for me to quickly recall something I heard or read minutes ago, makes for interesting lessons.

Tonight’s home work was to write a sentence about what we did in each of the month’s since January using two verbs in the past tense. I hope I did it correctly anyhow I’ll find out tomorrow. I still like learning spanish and I’m still eager to take more lessons. I miss San Felipe but learning to speak proper spanish is important. Next month the same teachers will be teaching spanish there and I’m already signed up.

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Took a day off

Saturday I took a day off and took a trip to La Bufadora and Punta Banda two places closely located south of the city of Ensenada. I have been to both location before with a friend and to my amazement I was able to find my way without difficulty. The good news is the road out the La Bufadora (Blow Hole) is being widened and that is also the bad news as for some distance there are no lines to guide you on the road. During the day not a big problem at night that makes for an interesting drive in the dark as there aren’t many lights to guide you even when driving through the little villages.

I got to La Bufadora and the main reason was to see an artist and friend Scott Kennedy and perhaps buy some of his prints for my house in San Felipe. The studio Scott has looked like it was closed up and I asked the parking attendant what was up and he informed my that Scott may have closed the gallery but he still came by. I went down to the blow hole cautiously eyeing the wares for sale and avoiding the eager venders looking for an early more sale. I took a few photos for my Facebook page and then walked back to the gallery. On my way back I smelled some food cooking and went into a restaurant and the greeter was handing me a menu to entice me to stay when I asked him for a menu in spanish. Well, that threw him for a spin as he had to look for a menu in spanish then we exchanged some ideas of what to eat and I was given the menu to take up stairs where I was the only customer with a wonderful view of the shore line, the waves coming in, sea birds flying by and the sounds of the sea. My waiter was a very pleasant fellow and we passed a few words in english and then I asked him to please use spanish as I was learning spanish and I needed the practise. There was a perceptible change in demeanor he became more friendly and curious about where I lived and where I was learning spanish all this passed in spanish which just pleased the heck out of me 🙂

Breakfast was good; not in the style I’m used to at my favorite restaurant in San Felipe where I’m spoiled at Chupo’s restaurant but passable the coffee was very good, the view was excellent. I took my time and enjoy the view and my food-lingered over coffee then paid my bill and continued on my way until I got to a vender selling woven bags there I purchase a very sturdy woven bag for $15 and had a pleasant conversation with the man and went to another vender selling glassware were I got what I thought was a deal; I bought six bubble glasses the typical Mexican bubble glass with the blue rim for $16 so I beat the price for the same thing in San Felipe. The new woven bag came in handy for carrying my new glasses. I talked again to the parking attendant and found out Scott had to go to a doctor’s appointment and wouldn’t be back till after lunch. So I took the time to explore the area and take few more photos then waited for Scott to return at the local bar with grand view of the cove and again had the place almost to myself.

Long story short I got to meet Scott we reviewed his stock of prints at his gallery and then went to his and Marie’s house and looked at more prints and talked and talked some more. I bought three prints and love them can’t wait to get them framed an on my walls at the house in San Felipe A few beers later we agreed to meet at a local restaurant for dinner and when we did we had a wonderful evening talking and meeting new people.

After dinner I made way back to the house I’m staying at. I found it in the dark without a problem which gave me a lot of relief.

Here are some photos from yesterday;

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The Cove

The Cove

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The Pacific was being very tranquil saturday

The Pacific was being very tranquil saturday

The waves gently breaking over the rocks

The waves gently breaking over the rocks

Here we are at Sharky's restaurant Punta Banda

Here we are at Sharky’s restaurant Punta Banda

The ladies

The ladies

The gentlemen

The gentlemen

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Day 5

After yesterday’s health issues I needed a shower and a good meal when I got to the house the lunch which is at 3pm was waiting some veggies and piece of meat that was cooked dry and tough I managed to cut it into small pieces so I could chew it and get it down. I asked about taking a shower and the lady told me in spanish and english that the water pressure was to low at this time of day and that there wouldn’t be much hot water. I let the issue go for a while but later on at 8pm when we have what is called a light supper which consisted of crackers chips some sort of cheese mix and spoonful of beans I asked again about a shower and she said I could use the shower in the laundry room that it might be a little warm if I used just the hot water.

After the “Dinner” and I use the term very loosely, I got my shower stuff and went to take a shower and she was right the water was cold and there was no pressure. I did the best I could and washed up. I was drying myself off and noticed the water heater above the clothes washer and the heating dial was set on the lowest setting possible there is now way there ever would be hot water.

This afternoon I arrived and found that lunch which is supposed to be the main meal of the day was going to be rice and beans! If this is the main meal I’m more than disappointed in these arrangements. I’m talking to the coordinator first by text then in person on Monday in the mean time I’ll eat at a restaurant.

As for class I’m disappointed in myself as I didn’t feel I did as well as I should be able to at this stage and that has left me frustrated. I don’t seem to always understand the instructions and make way to many errors to make me satisfied with my performance. I will soldier on and see how far I can get then evaluate the situation for now I’ not pleased.

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Day 3,4

Well tomorrow came and I was suffering from constipation totally distracted. Even so I stuck it out for most of the day. I left class early because I had so much discomfort. Talking with the lady that owns the house I’m staying at I took her advice and went to the local pharmacy that had a doctor and got a visit and prescription to unblock the blockage and ……….DRUM ROLL  PLEASE…… the cost was less than forty pesos …. FORTY PESOS! Or less than FOUR DOLLARS!!!! Two hours later  I’m a happy old lady totally unblocked ! What a relief it is ! Now I hope the process started stops in time for school tomorrow.

Well the process slowed I thought it had stopped put later on in the morning it started up again and I was doing the quick step to the bathroom every hour for most of the day; interfering with my class time. I wasn’t happy about that-then it was over done I’m fine now. As for the class somehow with all the exercises and discussing the lessons it seems we are more and more using Spanish. I realized that at the end of today’s class. Slowly and persistently the teacher is leading us to use what Spanish were have just learned and that pleases the heck out of me. I have surprised myself with how many words I now know and I hope I don’t forget the use of them especially the verbs! Verbs are so important and in Spanish do so much. I’m not confident in their use-far from it but I’ll bet better one day!

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Day 2

Today was day 2, we went over the homework (tarea) and worked with some verbs at least the regular verbs in the present tense. Learning how to use the verbs is interesting as one has to pay attention very carefully to get things correct in sentence. There is no hiding here every other question is for me and I have to pay attention and not drift off. If I weren’t having so much fun this would be work and or frustration. I feel, rightly or wrongly, that I’m learning a lot. I’m lucky the chair I’m using is just right for my back and I only have a little pain.

Tonight I have 15 new words to find the meaning of and use in a sentence plus review yesterdays corrected homework. Tomorrow we start in on irregular verbs and the past tense. I am going to try to review the past tense this evening to prepare for class tomorrow.

 

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Settling In

I had lunch with my Mexican family and they are delightful Edith (Eee Deeth) is my house Mother she has a daughter who still lives at home who is fluent in English. The daughter is a very smart University student with a double major of Engineering and some other science course. She has already been to many places with her studies such as Prague, Seattle, San Diego and other cities, makes me feel like a donkey. However, she is so nice it doesn’t matter. Mother is a sweetie too, very animated and has some command of english that helps us both in conversation. At lunch we talked about San Felipe vs Ensenada; she said she wouldn’t like San Felipe as it was too hot and too small she likes Ensenada but lately it has been getting hotter longer. We spoke in both english and spanish I got most of the conversation while in spanish got lost a few times.  The water situation is critical here, there is a water shortage as they share the same weather patterns with San Diego and there just hasn’t been enough rain. Therefor the water pressure is low they have had to add a tinico (tank) to the roof of the house to hold water so most of the house is gravity fed water and it takes a long time to fill the tank, makes for interesting times. I took a siesta after lunch which was at two in the afternoon. I slept well after a long ride it was welcome rest for my back which still gives me pain if I sit to long, stand to long or lay down to long. I was awakened by someone practicing his tuba then the whole band started up and they have been at it for a while now. I don’t need to play music on my computer I have a live band right in the neighborhood 😀 I love Mexico-it is life in your face, no holds barred 😀

Report of the first class meeting; there is only one other student in my group so the two of us and the teacher a lady named Edit the same as my house-mother. The teacher is very patient with us and is exploring how much Spanish we know and where our weaknesses are. There is no time to-day dream you’re in the spotlight too much to get away with that sort of thing. The subjects covered today were the verbs to be in Spanish which are Estar which is for location, condition temporary position and Ser which is for expressing time, possession, relationship,place of origin, religion, politics, what things are made of and on and on. Lots of new words today all nouns. My head is swimming with new words. Instruction comes fast when there are on two students. I am tired, but absolutely delighted to be learning Spanish for real not just out of books and tapes. I will see what tomorrow brings because just like the old days I have homework to do :-). I hope I am not repeating myself here if I am forgive me, my head is full now.

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The trip to Ensenada

The trip to Ensenada was mostly uneventful, the road is in very good shape just a few lumpy spots. My only problem when was I had to PEE it was one of those GOTTA GO NOW EVENTS and there is no place to pull over and take care of business and there is too much traffic!!! When I got to the military checkpoint just outside of Ensenada I must have looked nervous because the soldier went through everything in the truck even though I told him in Spanish I had to go to the bathroom. Fortunately for me there is one at the PEMEX (gasoline station) about 100 meters from the check point. When I told the ladies at the gas station I was in a hurry to use the bathroom they smiled broadly and pointed it out. It was very clean and I made the most of the occasion.

I thought for sure I would get lost in Ensenada, but the directions were spot on and I found the Riviera Place with ease. I asked around about the school and finally someone told me that they would show up later that their office was somewhere else. So I called my contact Yolanda and she said she would come right over. We talked for a few minutes and we went to the house were I will be staying. The lady at the house is very nice and my room is big and bright she even brought me a fan to cool me off. I’ll post some photos later just want to get this out there now.

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House across the street

House across the street

Neighborhood

Neighborhood

Front Door

Front Door

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View of the house

View of the house

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Preparing to go to school

Today is for preparation for my trip to Ensenada Baja Mexico to attend Spanish Language School. This is a full immersion type of school-once there one speaks Spanish all the time “no english”. I have never done this before and it sounds difficult. I know enough Spanish to take care of some things but my use of the language is not at a level where I can communicate well.

As usual I barge my way into things and work my way out to the edges. I have no idea if this type of school is good for me to learn Spanish or will it frustrate me and disappoint me. I’ll know in a few days if it is going to work or not. First I have to find the place, I have the directions but reading the directions and driving at the same time is going to be interesting.

I’m packing and I know I’m taking to much I just hope I don’t forget something important. So off I go on another adventure 🙂

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