Summer in Canada is waning. We arrived in Calgary mid-March and almost five months later we find ourselves 50 days away from landing back in Argentina.
It’s been great to see family and friends, but our feet are itchy to get back on the road again. When we selected Buenos Aires as the city to spend our first winter away, we hadn’t planned that it would also be where we spend our second winter. Original thoughts were that we might spend winter number two in Southeast Asia.
We credit the friends we made in Buenos Aires with our choice to return for another go. Let’s see if they can convince us to return again and again. They’re a mighty persuasive bunch.
Since we’ve been back in Canada, I’ve invested more than 80 hours into formal Spanish lessons (and countless additional hours doing homework). I was worried that the small gains I made in Spanish while we were in Argentina would drop off while we were back in Canada. And, indeed, I noticed that within a few weeks I was struggling to remember some of the basics.
Thanks to the marvels of technology, I’m able to connect with a Spanish teacher who lives in Guatemala. Throughout the month of May I would Skype with her for one hour each weekday. Together we worked out what I wanted to accomplish and she was able to determine areas that I needed to work on. I set the pace and wanted to go at it hard out-of-the-gate. Our time together happens through Skype. The hardest part of learning Spanish for me has been finding the confidence to actually speak it out loud. Rosetta Stone and the many language apps helped with vocabulary but didn’t help me speak it. These lessons have helped build my vocabulary and juggle verbs, but more importantly have helped me wrap my tongue around it and helped tune my ear to understand spoken Spanish.
The flexibility of these lessons is what really sold me. I’ve been able to keep up my lessons while I visited family and friends in British Columbia, Ontario and Puerto Rico this summer. And best of all… I’ll be “bringing” my teacher along with me to Argentina for a weekly dose of formal instruction.
If you’ve ever wanted to learn Spanish at your own pace, check out Verbalicity. Great pricing and the first lesson is free! My instructor is Marlin and I can’t say enough good things about her.
In addition to learning Spanish, part of my daily routine includes grabbing a coffee and walking a dog for 45-minutes. Some of you may remember that I was running dogs in Calgary last summer. I’ve given up running dogs (I still run, but solo) and now have a nice leisurely walk with a dog that lives very close to where we are staying. Given our nomadic lifestyle, having a pet no longer works for us. My daily walks with Bella give me my four-legged, fur fix. And since she is such a great dog to walk, I can take along my Spanish flashcards and practice my verb conjugations. I’ve been on the receiving end of some strange looks by others at the dog park while I rattle off, “hablar, hablo, hablas, habla, habamos, hablan….”
With 50 days to go, we are back in countdown mode. Making sure we see who we can before we leave and starting to create packing lists. We are notorious light packers. However, we’ve learned a few things from our last extended time away: what we didn’t need to bring and what we want to make sure we have with us next time.
Stay tuned for more as we get ready to go.