We’re now in Copan for two weeks of language school to improve our Spanish skills before we head back to Amigos! We’re living with a Honduran family, which allows/forces us to use our Spanish in conversation as we learn it. It’s definitely been challenging, being thrown into a language that I had minimal experience with before, but I already feel like I have learned a lot. This morning was our first official day of class at the language school – we ate breakfast at the house with our family, and then walked through the cobblestone streets of Copan to school. When we arrived, I was pared with a Honduran teacher who worked one-on-one with me for the next four hours. We even went on a walk around the town and to the market to practice my conversation skills and to work on some practical vocabulary!
Initially, I was overwhelmed (well…I guess I still am kind of overwhelmed), but my teacher was very patient and I really felt like she wanted me to learn as much as I did! The hardest part has been being confident enough to just speak even though I may say the wrong thing – I think it’s the inner perfectionist in me. Everyone that I’ve talked to, from the kids at the hogar to our host family to my teacher, has been kind enough to speak slowly and explain things more than once. But I am definitely starting to pick things up…or at least a lot more than when we first arrived at the airport! I had studied quite a bit before coming, but there’s something very different about the way a native speaker speaks, and actually being in a plethora of situations where there’s no understanding of English! I’ve got quite a bit of studying and a lot more practice to do this afternoon, but it’s starting to seem possible.
Last week at the hogar was full of “orientation activities” and was definitely a busy week. We’d usually wake up around 6:15 am, get dressed and ready for the day, and then head off to whatever morning activity was planned for that day. The kids who are in grade 6 or below attend the school on site, and most of the older kids attend a school in the local area. I had the privilege of volunteering in the bilingual kinder class, which has about 15 kids under the age of 5. It was crazy and chaotic, but I loved every second of it! I also got the chance to work in agro, helping to clean the water and food containers for the chickens and to pick weeds that were growing around the watermelon plants. We ate all our meals in the dining hall with the kids – and I’ve developed an addiction to fresh tortillas! These kids make sure that nothing goes to waste; if you don’t finish every single grain of rice on your plate, there’s bound to be a kid somewhere near you who would be happy to lick the plate (literally!). We’ve started to get a hang of the names of all the kids (122 is a lot to remember!) and the kids are starting to get to know us too, so I’m definitely looking forward to going back – and this time with more Spanish!
Necesito praticar mi español. Adios por ahora!
P.S. Pictures will come soon — I’ve just been too enamored with taking everything in to take any pictures!