SPANISH, CHAPTER 1: The Struggle

Studying Spanish in Buenos Aires

Today was my first spanish lesson with Cecilia, a very energetic and caring Argentine who will be tutoring me. I posted a craigslist ad and emailed teachers who also posted their services. Cecilia wasn’t the cheapest at about $12/hour, but seemed to be just the right fit for what I’m looking for. I chose individual tutoring to begin with because the prices were comparable and honestly, I wanted all the attention!

We didn’t waste much time getting started either. As soon as I introduced myself she said “now try to say all that in Spanish.” And she gave me homework on the first day of class! If this was 5 years ago I would have been bummed. But, it’s a different time and I’m so glad she came and took the bull (me) by the horns! It makes me wish I would have paid more attention back then but there is no point in worrying about it now. A favorite quote is “There is a reason why spaceships don’t have rear-view mirrors!”

I am definitely feeling overwhelmed with everything I need to learn. Especially since I’m trying to learn the different dialects of Argentina and the rest of South America (Columbia). To stay focused, I created a tentative plan of attack to ensure I maximize my surroundings and learn as fast as possible. This is what I figure…

1. Take classes from Cecilia at least 3-4 days a week. We are going to start with an hour a day because she said more than that would “dolor de cabeza por tanta informacion”. I will do this for a month and then reevaluate the progress.

2. By December 1st I will evaluate the idea of taking a class so that I can practice my conversational spanish (and meet new people). Also there are social networking events here that I am going to look into.

3. After the first week of instruction with Cecilia my roommates (and friends) have been instructed not to talk to me in English. Sergio is already teaching me a lot of great things, including what to say to the apposing teams players at the futbol match (I won’t repeat).

4. I will continue to throw myself in the deep end by frequenting local restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries and attempt to converse.

5. Watch TV (everything is uncensored… Girls Next Door in Spanish = Awesome).

WHY NOT ROSETTA STONE? I was actually going to use Rosetta Stone before I left because a friend of mine had all the CDs, but I decided to go organic. My friend Scott who runs Stayclassy.org in San Diego actually came up with the idea and it made sense. I wanted to learn from real people and develop relationships through that interaction.

However, it should be known that I am not against Rosetta Stone. My brother uses it for the Army and if they wanted to sponsor this blog then by all means – Rosetta Stone it is! Until then, I will stick with a more grass roots approach.

QUICK LESSON FROM SERGIO: Que Es Eso? – Eso Es Queso! – What is that? that is cheese!

It’s much better when he did it because he wrote the letters on his hand… Q-U-E-S-O and holds them up for each word. I guess it’s what they do for kids when they’re learning to spell.

My name is Gareth Leonard, a Marketing Director turned World Traveler with a passion for slow, meaningful travel. I have been traveling the world full-time for the past 9+ years and document it all on Instagram and YouTube. Come join me!

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