I’m on Day 1137 of my Duolingo Spanish Streak. Yes, that’s over 3 years, and no, I’m still not fluent. However, I am improving.
I was reminded of how far I had to go when I was in Mexico last November with my friend, Nancie (who is fluent) and she remarked, “I would have thought you’d be a lot better by now.” Gee, thanks, Nancie.
Though, I was a little put off by her bluntness, it did remind me that I needed to do more than the minimum of a quick Duolingo lesson every day. I really needed to practice my conversation skills!
Microadventure #27: Spanish Conversation Class
As it turned out, Carlos, the man I was sitting next to at the TEDx event I went to in early March, teaches Spanish Conversation classes at the local library!
I’ve been attending Carlos’s class for the past 3 weeks and I really like that it’s for all levels! It’s a very informal class and fun that I’m not only getting more exposure to Spanish, but getting to meet others who are interested in learning Spanish!
Carlos talks a lot about culture, particularly of Latin American countries and one of the things I really appreciated is that he handed out a document with local-area restaurants and markets where we could practice our Spanish with native speakers!
Microadventure #28: Colombian Point Restaurant with Carlos
As soon as I got the list of markets and restaurants, I was on a mission to go to as many as possible! I told Carlos that I was a blogger and asked if I could share his list and he gave me the thumbs up!
He also asked if I’d want to go to Colombian Point Restaurant in Sarasota that weekend. Heck, yeah! It was so nice that Carlos asked ME to do this excursion instead of the other way around. Even though I’m proud that I’ve kept up with my microadventure resolution all winter, it’s still out of my comfort zone to ask someone new to do something.
As it turns out, Carlos and I chatted for over 2 hours! It was all in English, I’m afraid, but he has some very interesting stories and skills, including public speaking (something I always want to try and improve in.) He was interested in my skills with blogging and social media, so maybe we can help each other. And I did get some Spanish practice in with the waiters and felt very good about it!
Microadventure 29: Palmetto Flea Market with Coach Bill
Though it wasn’t on his spreadsheet, one of the places Carlos mentioned that I might want to practice my Spanish was at Mr. G Flea Market in Palmetto, about 30 minutes from my new condo in Bradenton.
So, when “Coach Bill” texted and asked if we could do a microadventure before we both went back to our respective summer places, I suggested the flea market!
I met Coach Bill way back on my very first Microadventure, a hike for Positive Thinkers in North Port. He introduced himself as “Coach Bill” and I’ve called him that ever since to distinguish him from another Bill I met around the same timeframe.
Coach Bill happily accepted my suggestion (he is, after all, a Positive Thinker) and we had a great time checking out all the wares at Mr. G’s.
Of course, one of the objectives was to practice a little Spanish, and I had that opportunity with the lunch place that was on site, Taquería Lolita.
We both ordered “Sincronizadas” which I’d never even heard of! It turned out to be a much richer dish than I’d bargained for. (And, by the way, if you ever order a drink here, be aware that they are supersized! I never order sweet drinks, but I wanted to see what the “limon” drink was… uh… it was a big, big, way too big, cup of lemonade.
So, yeah, I didn’t learn a lot of Spanish, but I got a little lesson: Figure out what something is before you order it. And actually, I really liked the Sincronizada, but it was probably demaciadas calorías.
Bill was busy coaching girl’s volleyball all winter and North Port (where he was living and working) is a good hour from Bradenton, but he made the trek up again to Bradenton on Easter Sunday to hang out with me and some other friends.
I feel so lucky for the people I’ve met during this wonderful Snowbird adventure! I already can’t wait to come back next winter!