Practicing my Spanish….
I’ve been finding all sorts of new opportunities to practice speaking spanish. Unfortunately I haven’t had any time to get together with my two Panamanian girlfriends to practice since moving to Jaramillo Centro. Living right next to our casita project makes it much easier for me to help Scott in many different ways so I’ve been busier than ever now. No longer do I only make lunch and take care of banking and bookkeeping. Nope..now many mornings I drive into town to pick up our workers and I also started to help transport materials up to our work site. So, what does this have to do with my Spanish practice? Well, you see….this means I’m in a car with spanish speakers! And they’re trapped with me! Whahahahah! Soooooo I muddle through trying to chit chat in spanish with them. Hah! When I’m driving the truck up and down our hill Edgar rides with me and we talk about his family in Bocas del Toro, or about his hobbies or my hobbies, about California, about music and all sorts of different things. I know my grammar is hideous and I sound like a two year old, but I really love to keep practicing. Then in the mornings and the evenings our other two workers are trapped in the car with me, so I try my best to chat with them, now, they are much more like my husband….not big chatters!! Pffffffft! I don’t let that stop me…noooo! I ask them millions of questions and I try hard to think up something…anything to talk about on our ride down the hill, boy do they jump out of my car quickly when I get to town! Now that Kat & Al have left us in charge of their house I’m managing her two gardeners and her cleaning lady…all of whom I am torturing with my bad Spanish! I love it!
I must tell you, all of these lovely Panamanians are so patient with me and most of them are great about helping me muddle through. Today was my first day with Carmen, the cleaning lady. She is especially fun to talk with because she speaks slow and she’s pretty easy to understand. This morning when I picked her up we chatted all the way here and I gotta tell you, I know I still have a very long way to go with my Spanish learning, but I feel so great when I can talk with someone and get my point across. I learned that she is 34 years old , she’s a single mother of two girls, 14 and 9 years old. She lives in a tiny house on a little road where her entire family also lives. She has 5 brothers and 2 sisters and her parents are both deceased. Off and on during the day as she cleaned we chatted about this and that. I decided to clean Scott’s filthy BBQ while Carmen was cleaning and a I was at the sink scrubbing the racks we just chatted away about different coffee fincas and about her children’s school, we talked about different people she cleans for and I got a bit of Boquete gossip as well! Hah! Nooooo, I’m kidding! We laughed when I couldn’t get what she was trying to say, which was often…. At one point I got on the computer and typed in what she was trying to say….Ahhhhh she was trying to tell me about a particular cleaning tool that telescopes so she can clean the dead spiders and bugs outside up at the ceiling of the terrace. Ohhh, okay. So, I’ll look for one of those next time I’m at Do It Center in David.
Yesterday, when I drove the gardeners home I got a great chat in with Carlos, he ’s the friendlier of the two gardeners. Leo’s not much of a talker at all, I’m lucky if I get a grunt out of him! But Carlos is a talker! Love it! It took me quite a while to finally get that he was trying to ask my how many hours it takes to fly to California from Panama City. Whew! But, we laughed when I Finally got what he was asking…he never gave up on me either…he just kept trying and trying to ask until I got it! He has a tiny bit of English but not much. He knows that I’m trying hard to learn Spanish and I know he likes helping me. He’s such a nice man. Although….he too seems to jump out of my car really fast when we get to his destination ! Hmmmmm….??
The spanish school that Scott and I went to last year is having another half off sale on lessons for residence. So , I went and got signed up! I start Sept 22nd. Here I go again! I must tell you, I sat down with one of the instructors to be tested so they could determine my level and wow! What a difference from the first time I had a test last year! I remember feeling like such a failure…I knew nothing at all!! I remember the instructor asking me all sorts of questions and I just had no idea what was going on. But this time!! Whoohoooo! I Got this!! I know my sentences were incomplete and my grammar was hideous, but I understood so much more and I actually had a clue!! I did good! I think I’m in level 3! wow! I hope the classes are helpful because I think I’m doing pretty good just getting myself out there and attempting to listen and to talk as much as possible. When Scott and I are in David though, I have such a hard time hearing what’s being said. He seems to be much better at understanding when I’m just totally lost. Oh well, most of the time, I seem to be making my way and getting by but I know, with lots of practice and plenty of patience someday I will be able to carry on an actual conversation with a native speaker. Poco a poco! In the meantime I plan to keep torturing any poor soul who finds themselves trapped in my car with me! Hahaha!!