Archive for 4. Learn a foreign language

Day 42: Destinos: The Story

Day48_Raquel I am almost half way through Destinos. It is amazing how much Spanish you can pick up by watching these episodes. The story itself is pretty bad. A rich family inexplicably hires a lawyer named Raquel Rodriguez to travel the world looking for lost long relatives. Raquel learns about the culture of each country she visits while she constantly encounters drama, death, and romance. Yet she still has time to stop along the way to count fruit and name her articles of clothing. It is like the Spanish version of a really bad soap opera combined with Sesame Street for adults and a special on the Travel Channel. Very bizarre. But still I have learned a lot so I continue on.

Check out a few minutes of an episode if you want to see what I am enduring:

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Day 37: Destinos: An Introduction to Naptime

Day43_Destinos Anyone remember Destinos? Destinos is a 52 episode saga told entirely in Spanish. We were required to watch it in school. For me, Destinos was naptime. I don’t think I watched a single episode. I could recall a boy losing his dog and some guy trapped in a mine but that was about it. When I set out to learn Spanish I knew I would not be done after 12 weeks but wanted a concrete goal. So I found all the Destinos episodes free online and bought the workbook. Today I am on episode 20. I plan to get through all of it by the end of March.

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Day 31: I Never Graduated

Day37_gradcapThere are other reasons why I want to learn Spanish. For one thing, right after I married a Ramirez I started getting mail in Spanish. I might be missing out on some great credit card opportunities. Also, speaking of finishing things I start, I never graduated from college. A third semester of a foreign language is one of the three requirements I had left before I dropped out of college to go work in Europe (a story for another day). Since it has been so long I would have to start over. Or, I can learn on my own and test out of the requirement. So that’s the plan. My most motivating reason, though, is that I want to go back to Honduras to meet the rest of Alex’s family. This time I want to be able to talk with them directly. Going through a translator just didn’t cut it.

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Day 30: An Uncomfortable School Assembly

Day36_Spanish Obviously, studying Spanish in school was one of the main reasons I chose it for the “learn a foreign language” goal. I am hoping some of it will come back to me. If it had occurred to me back then how useful it would be to speak Spanish in Colorado I might have actually studied. I even went to a high school with a decent sized Hispanic population but to be totally honest, I never thought about it much at the time. The only day I remember really being aware of it was when a speaker came to our school to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. But instead of talking about the great victory of the Mexican army over the French, he talked very passionately about Latin America rising up to bring down the white man. That was a very uncomfortable school assembly. Anyway, now that I am older and wiser I definitely see the value of learning Spanish so that is what I am going to do.

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Day 28: Learn A Foreign Language

Day34_LearnForeignLanguageNext goal on the list is to learn a foreign language. Somehow I managed to take almost 3 years of Spanish and get all As and Bs without learning to speak any Spanish. Funny, but also a missed opportunity. In high school we had a soft-spoken red-headed Irish woman as our Spanish teacher. One day someone pulled me out of class early for a tennis match at Ponderosa High School an hour away. After that I made Mrs. (anyone remember her name?) believe that I had to leave class early every Tuesday and Thursday for tennis matches – even when we were playing at home. It is still a little funny but I feel bad. I am sure she was a really nice lady but this was before I realized teachers were actual people.

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New Year’s Eve – 2009

imageTODAY’S CHALLENGE was to do something creative to kick off the project. Unfortunately, a dry throat and aching muscles kept me up last night and I woke up too sick to do much.

However, my suffering inspired my husband Todd and I to buy a new bed. We dragged ourselves to Select Comfort and laid around in Sleep Number beds all afternoon. The result was the perfect complement to the “Change Myself” phase of the project – the promise of a better night’s sleep. It should arrive in two weeks!

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