My Journey of Learning to speak Spanish

Here's a page to tell you a little about me and my Spanish learning journey. I'm one of those who had years of Spanish in school, but could never get a simple sentence out of my mouth.

My Goal for this site: To encourage you to learn Spanish smart, dispelling ideas of difficulty and showing you how language is learned on many levels, both conscious and subconscious.

Why learn Spanish? It opens a huge door to many new lands which in turn leads to meeting new people which then enriches your own life because you begin to have a whole new perspective of your culture and begin to adjust your own understanding of another culture.

Door of Cathedral in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico

High School: 4 years of Spanish. 4.0 GPA in Spanish, but never learned to speak it.

College: Double major: B.A. English (emphasis in linguistics) and Spanish M.A. Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language

I almost flunked my first college Spanish conversation class, but determined to become conversant by taking a summer course in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, purposely choosing a small town to be forced to speak Spanish most of the time, away from English speaking tourists. I spent a summer really learning to SPEAK Spanish.

Extra classes: 4 summers of travel and study in Guatemala and Mexico received college credit for formal classes taken.

Work Study Courses: one summer taught English with a Mexican Normal college to Mexican students studying to be English teachers, in Mexico City and Acapulco. (at this point I reached a level of intermediate speaking, had learned most common words and phrases used in travel and teacher/student topics)

Single life: Lived in Mexico teaching English in various language institutes in Mexico 3 years.

Taught English in US universities foreign student programs 4 years. Though teaching English while living in Mexico tended to make me think and speak in English daily, I was still learning to speak Spanish apart from work. I was learning church vocabulary as I began reading my Bible in Spanish and teaching and praying in Spanish (now that will give you a lot of subjunctive tense practice!) and everyday local interaction.

Married life: All our children were born in Mexico. I Homeschooled my older three children who learned English first and naturally began learning to speak Spanish with friends and neighbors. Taught Spanish to Americans and English to Mexicans in private classes.

In these years, I was learning Spanish words dealing with pregnancy and childcare. My first three children were delivered with a midwife who could speak Spanish and English; the last three with a midwife who only spoke Spanish. Started learning more about alternative medicines readily available in Mexico,i.e. herbal, natural and homeopathic remedies.

Also at this time my "mommy" vocabulary grew as I was learning to speak in Spanish about the growth and teaching of babies; milestones, potty training etc. Also learned a lot about native Mexican perspectives on what foods are considered good for mothers and babies.

I lived a regular home life of going to the market daily, taking care of the children, preparing meals (learned to make lots of typical Mexican dishes). My children became bilingual in a very natural way with us where they would speak English in the home and then speak Spanish outside the home. Keeping them bilingual was a goal of mine, and by homeschooling them, it was the best way to do it. Our classroom was our life within our neighborhood, taking everyday life as our textbook so to speak.

I taught English at a local university and trained teachers at a language institute there over the years as well.

After 15 years of living in Mexico and really loving it, enjoying the people, the culture, growing in Spanish, my husband, family and I returned to the United States in 2005. It was time for our children to get to know their grandparents. I had lived out my dream of living and learning more Spanish while in a Spanish speaking country. I had given my children a great start at being bilingual.

As we live and readjust to life in the U.S., I see a great opportunity to share what I learned in Mexico via the internet with this site. Being back in the States doesn't mean I have closed the chapter of ever living in a Spanish speaking country again. In fact, I hope that by learning more about making websites, I'll be able to work from anywhere in the world continuing on my journey of learning to speak Spanish.

Learning a language is one of those things where the more you learn, the more you see how little you know. It is my dream to return to living in Latin America again learning Spanish in everyday contexts. I'm using SiteBuildIt for anyone aspiring to share their passion and find financial and geographical independence too.

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