Who Knew that Learning Spanish Could Be So Fun???

Foreign Service LifePeru
June 14, 2012

I was more than a little nervous to start up Spanish classes again.  I mean 2 hours a day, 5 days a week is a LOT of Spanish.  That 2 hours could really go by slowly, especially if I’m buried in overwhelm.  To my delight, it has been a absolute blast!

Most of the credit goes to my teacher, who does an AMAZING job of keeping the 13 of us enthralled for 2 hours straight.  He’s funny, great at pantomiming, and very creative with his methods.  In my first 8 days of class, we’ve done things like:

  • Take a trip to the grocery store to learn the names of fruits and vegetables
  • Bring in different Peruvian fruits and try them together
  • Do mock restaurant scenarios
  • Play charades
  • (And my favorite) Share a recipe from your country of origin

That last one was today’s assignment.  I thought long and hard about what I wanted to prepare because a.) we didn’t have any cooking apparatuses and b.) we had to talk through all the instructions in Spanish, so I didn’t want it to be overly complicated. I ended up choosing a favorite from my childhood, a recipe called “Apple Smiles”.  It goes a little something like this:

  1. Slice an apple into 8 pieces.
  2. Take 2 apple slices.
  3. Spread Peanut Butter on 1 side of the apples.
  4. Place marshmallows on top of the Peanut Butter on one of the 2 slices.
  5. Put the second side on top to form the mouth.
  6. Eat and enjoy!

As you might imagine, this was a MAJOR hit with the class.  I was incredibly proud to show my classmates a little ‘slice’ of American life (pun intended).  By the way, did I mention that I’m the ONLY AMERICAN in the class?  That totally floored me.  There’s a large contingent of Canadians, but otherwise it’s mostly Japanese, Koreans and Chinese.  Based on where I ended up sitting, I’m entirely surrounded by the non-English speakers.  It would be very easy to flip over to English on every break, but since I usually end up wanting to make conversation with those around me, we have to use Spanish (much better for my learning).  I love the fact that I can communicate with my new Chinese friend even though neither of us is using our native tongue.  Pretty damn cool, huh?

The weird part is that I’m enjoying the learning so much that I’m wanting even more – I know – shocking, right?  No lie, I’ve started interviewing 1-on-1 tutors for a 6th day of lessons a week.  Can you even imagine the learning that is possible???  WHOA.

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  1. Libby says:

    So great Sarah! I am so happy that you are enjoying yourself so much and having a fun time learning more Spanish! It sounds amazing. I love those apple smiles, I am going to have to pin that and make them for Sylvia someday! Great work dear!

  2. Sarah Novak says:

    Thanks Libby, I find that I have a whole different attitude towards it this time around. I’m having a blast instead of beating myself up every time I get something wrong (which still ends up being pretty much every sentence). The amazing thing is that Peruvians somehow understand me – and that’s all that really matters!

  3. Kate says:

    Way to go, Love! I’ll bet you’re now yearning to hang Spanish verb conjugations above your bed so you can study at night. You know you’ve always wanted to! So glad you’re having fun with the language.

  4. Joyce says:

    Sarah, love the apple smiles. I am making them for us for Father’s Day! You rock girl!

  5. Nomads By Nature says:

    Your apple smiles made me smile! Will surprise my kids and niece and nephew with those this summer when we all get together – such a cool treat! Love your enthusiasm for Spanish learning — you are gonna totally rock the language! Vaya chachita!! (you go girl!!)

  6. Erin says:

    Estoy muy orgullosa de vos, Sarita!

  7. Sarah Novak says:

    I can honestly see how tempting that could be now Kate! Remember how much I hated Spanish and just wanted to be done and for you it was like you were in love! Such a contrast. It’s amazing that I can be in a totally different place with it now…

  8. Sarah Novak says:

    Super cool! :)

  9. Sarah Novak says:

    I didn’t know what the middle part of your sentence meant, so when I put it in the translator, it came out as “I am big head of you” – awww thanks, Erin! :) That’s so sweet. HA HA

  10. Sarah Novak says:

    Thanks – I love starting every day with it. I am appreciating the second chance at learning it (and the new perspective I have).

  11. Erin says:

    Too funny. No idea where the translator got that — not even close! It says, “I’m proud of you, Sarita!” Way to embrace this challenge, dear friend. Can’t wait to chat with you in Spanish. :-)

  12. Sarah Novak says:

    No, I got it. One of the many translations was correct. :) I was just teasing you! Won’t that be the day when we can converse in 2 languages!

  13. hessse says:

    You remind me of my old Spanish Teacher Sra robinson. Ounce we where singing happy birthday and accidently said feliz cumpleano instead of cumpleanos.

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