Note: the easiest way to read this whole blog is to go and click this May 2005 link. It will take a bit to load, then you can easily just scroll down through the whole thing. If you have a spare 10 hours or so.
A quick note: if I sound like a cranky, clueless gringo, well, these posts were mostly written at the end of long days of hard study and being lost and confused. Like so many travel adventures, the fondness and good memories come AFTER the fact...In reality, I loved Oaxaca and highly recommend it as a destination. It is a magic place.
In April 2004, I started thinking -- obsessing, really -- about studying Spanish in Mexico.
Living in California and being monolingual sort of stinks. I knew I could have a lot more fun if I spoke Spanish.
After a miserable 3 years of junior high school French classes with Mr. Pampalon, I had started to study Spanish about 20 years ago at Cal Poly with my one required quarter (9 whole weeks!) of a foreign language.
After that, I took a class every few years, but my progress was slow and I kept learning the same things over and over.
My need to learn Spanish became more urgent when I went to work writing for a newspaper. I would go out on story assignments and run into people who only spoke Spanish. It drove me crazy to not be able to converse with them.
After much thought and discussion with people who had been to Mexico, I decided to go to Oaxaca.
I'm not a big traveler. Having been a low-paid wage slave with 10 days off a year, I have never had the time or money to go very far or for very long. But thanks to my beneficient sweetie, I was finally able to plan a 3-week trip out of the country.
Oaxaca is both a city and a state in southern Mexico - the capital of the state named Oaxaca is Oaxaca. Kinda like New York, New York.
The city has good weather in the summer, when most parts of Mexico are very hot. It is at about 4500 feet in elevation, in a valley between two mountain ranges.
The other thing that attracted me to Oaxaca is that it had an airport. I was too chicken to go to the Mexico City airport alone and then have to find bus transportation across Mexico by myself, relying on my bad Spanish.
I found a small language school Espanol Interactivo, that could make housing arrangements for me to stay with a Oaxacan family. I wanted the full immersion experience.
Here is how I did the research to find the school: I looked at a great website called 123 Teach Me . They have ratings for Spanish and French schools all over the world. Espanol Interactivo wasn't the highest-rated or the cheapest, but it had a website that looked very sweet, so I went with them. See how scientific and rational I can be?
I sent an email to Sra. Luz at Espanol Interactivo and the deed was done - I was signed up for three weeks of Spanish classes, six hours a day.
This is what happened on my first trip out of the country at age 43.
posted by Sue at 5:24 PM 2 comments
You can read more about this exciting adventure at: