1st day of Spanish lesson [YQrtw Day 64 Jun 10]

Fideos Semolados

Location: Buenos Aires, Argentina

One of my goals for South America is to get my Spanish up to conversational level so I signed up for a week of class here in Buenos Aires.

I believe I searched for my school using Foursquare. I really do not like walking in the cold so I figured that my school should be very near where I stay.

Luckily, there was a school on Foursquare. I checked out the place, paid a deposit and became of of their students.

The school is literally opposite my hostel. I only have to go over a crossing to get there. Wonderful.

YQ goes to school

First day of class

My class was small, with only 3 students. Our teacher is Felisitas, who’s younger than I am. Actually, I’m the oldest in class and the youngest is a 19 year old. (NINETEEN!)

Our class started with lessons in the middle of nowhere. We were asked to read a passage on our photocopied textbook (or really just sheets).

I realized that I’ve forgotten almost everything. I don’t remember how to conjugate verbs “to be”, “to have”, to anything, actually. I even have to count on my fingers to get to number 9 which means I probably have to use my toes when counting to 19.

Still it was quite fun, although I do not look forward to memorizing all those new words I learned. Blergh.

After school, one of my classmates brought us to the pizzeria below my hostel for empanadas.

Empanadas are curry puff-like pastries, only it’s much much better. I’m not a big fan of curry puffs because I find them boring. But empanadas are totally different.

The size is about 2 times larger than a regular curry puff. This means more filling. My chicken-filled empanada was bursting with chicken. I fell faint remembering how good it was. I’ll get you a good photo one day.

Tour of the avenue

Our school organizes after-school activities. Today, it was a tour of Avenida de Mayo with Ms Macarena (I am not kidding).

It was less of a tour and more like one hour of intense intermediate Spanish listening lesson.

Ms Macarena spoke at full speed Argentinian (lots of “sh” replacing the usual “y” sounds). I could catch about 20 percent of what Ms M said and was too confused to ask about parts I didn’t understand.

After the tour, I headed to Carrefour for groceries. I am finally cooking, after two months of travelling!

I was planning to make tomato soup but at the supermarket, the tomatos were expensive and half of them look like they were rotting.

Broccoli was much cheaper so that ended up on my menu. I also tossed in a packet of small pasta called Fideos Semolados Ave Maria.

Fideos Semolados
Fideos Semolados

In the first floor kitchen, I manage to make my very first dish: Broccoli soup with pasta.

Based on the other half of broccoli, I’ll be having the same thing tomorrow but maybe I’ll throw in an egg or two.

YQ made brocolli soup
YQ made brocolli soup

Do you cook when you travel? What’s your secret recipe?

Hola! Let’s learn Spanish.

Spanish in 30 Days

I’m travelling to South America some time next year and I want to be able to speak Spanish to help me go through life easier.

I went to a Spanish language school a few months back and quite enjoyed it. My four semesters of French made it easier to pick up the language compared to my other classmates who were were thrown into the deep end of the Spanish pool.

Even though the language school has higher level classes, I don’t think I am want to spend about S$300 to improve my Spanish.

Self studying Spanish

What will I do then? I plan to self study.

I’m a fan of self-proclaimed language hacker, Benny Lewis, who evangelizes speaking from day 1.

While I probably won’t be as hardcore as he is buy speaking from day 1, I plan to learn from his methods and do a lot of self studying.

Spanish in 30 Days
I don’t think I will be able to speak Spanish in 30 days.

I’ve borrowed some language books and CDs from the library which I can practise reading and listening from.

For more listening and vocabulary practice, I can check out Spanish versions of pop songs (although I’m not that sure of some of their accents).

I also discovered that my current-favorite TV show/band (Flight of the Conchords) has Spanish dubs. I’ve put up a playlist of Los conchords in Spanish. If I can get my hands on the lyrics, I’ll be able to learn new vocabulary.

If you are interested in laughing out loud to songs, I recommend:
– Fashion is Danger [English | Spanish]
– You Don’t Have to be a Prostitute [English | Spanish]
– Business Time [English | Spanish]

Even though it’s still too early, I have a Spanish version of Bridget Jones’s Diary which I bought second hand while in San Francisco. I have the English version, maybe I can do a side-by-side readings? My goal is to understand at least 50% of the content by the time I leave for South America.

Bridget Jones's Diary, en espanoil
Bridget Jones’s Diary, en espanoil

To end this post, I bring you the only Spanish song I know all the lyrics to.

Indie Travel Challenge
This blog post was inspired by BootsnAll’s Indie Travel Challenge weekly travel blog project.

Week 43 of the Indie Travel Challenge is a challenge to start learning a new language:
Q: Do you speak two languages or more? What are those?
A: Fluent English, Mandarin Chinese and Malay. Conversational Japanese, French.

Check out my other #indie2012 posts.

Do you have any recommendations for beginners in Spanish?

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