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Published: November 28th 2017
This past week we started Spanish lessons. Laura (our teacher) is very helpful and has a great community of people that she teaches, works with and simply just knows in the city. This is what drew me to her and why I had no problem paying her for lessons ( carisimo ). Similar to CrossFit I guess really. She has invited us to several events already and helped us fit in.
Our first couple lessons were pretty basic. We are learning mostly things to help us get by, so for instance: how to order food, greet people and understand some basic conversations. The language is pretty straightforward. In most cases consonants sound as they are printed. As in English there are a few exceptions: H is silent (or ignored). K is non existent, J sounds like “h” and G sounds different depending on what comes after it, so it sounds like an “H” if followed by e or i. V sounds like a "b" pronounced “bay” and I sounds like a hard "e". Double rr’s have a roll of the tongue (which I cannot do) and double ll’s sound like "i" which actually sounds like "e". LOL This can be
important when pronouncing certain words that look or almost sound the same, but have different meanings. So for instance Perro (don’t forget to roll the rr’s) is “DOG” but Pero is “BUT”. They also just change the indentation of their voice to ask a questions. So the wording is not changed just the way the sentence is asked? I think she has her hands full with me! LOL She did tell Lindsay that we are fast learners for "people our age". I mean come on, what does that mean......
Laura invited us to 2 events this past week- First one was only extended to Lindsay (but I am still not sure why she didn’t ask me, I’m not that much older than the ladies who went..Just sayin’) It was a Gin and Tonic party on Saturday night. She met some girls similar in age that are here at school and or teaching. She had a lot of fun and plans to spend some time with them. One of them has a friend coming here from Canada and is Julia’s age so they hope to meet up more then as well.
On Sunday we all went to the same
ladies house for an International lunch. Macarena and Jorge were our hosts with their 2 young children. We met a few other families who are expats and have been living here for a few years. Two different backgrounds and the kids seem to adapt differently. One family was Nina and her son Kaden ( so nice) who are originally from Indonesia but lived in Colorado before moving here 2.5 years ago. The dad works for KinRoss (a Canadian gold company) and got a contract here. Kaden told us how much he loved going to school here and that his perspective on life has changed so much since moving here . He was surprised how much he loves it, and seems so laid back. He is planning on going to University next year either in Colorado or Madrid. His mom, Nina hopes to be able to stay living here while he is at school.
We also met a family from Australia, Brenda and her 2 daughters ( Saffron and Elle) Her husband also works for KinRoss and travels back and forth from Africa. They have been here just over a year (they left when Saffron had just turned 16 ,
Elle is much younger) Saffron seems to somewhat resent moving here as she misses her friends, job and sports from back home. She does seem to like living here but not sure she would fight it if they said they were moving back home. Brenda is a fitness instructor and teaches bootcamp on the beach so I my join her for a few workouts as well. They ended up living only a couple blocks from us so that will be nice.
lunch was a lot of fun, I even got up to do the Macarena with the ladies. LOL. We sampled some international food, had some drinks ( they sure love their G&T’s) and then we walked home. It was about a 30 min walk but fun to explore. We stumbled upon a couple of nice back yards (if you can call them that) with pools and big gardens ….you don’t see a lot of greenery here, especially in the city so when I see it I try to take it all in. That is one thing I miss from home.
Sarah continued her surf lessons and Lindsay and I did another Yoga sunset night. Going again tonight!
Lindsay, Sean and I did a walk around the island to see some sights - the pirate ship and of course another Meulle (Mall). Not to exciting but a nice walk. Had another lunch at Fat Frank’s, and this time we ate some local food, including Ropa Vieja ("old clothes") contains beef, chicken or pork, or a combination of any of the three mixed with potatoes and garbanzo bean. It is similar to a stews. And I believe the meaning of old clothes, means leftovers of meat? It was quite delicious.
The weather was hot on Mon and Tues but clouds rolled in for the end of the week yet that didn’t keep us from the beach. Still fun to chill and play football. We did a bit more shopping at El Meulle for Advent Calendars and some Black Friday sales (not really any) but I did buy a cool AC/DC hoodie...full price of course. but totally worth it.
It’s interesting how you can get by with the basics here. We have no dryer, so we hang our clothes on this tiny rack to dry overnight. Makes for a load almost every day though as I only
have 2 pairs of workout shorts and I def need them washed every day. The washer and dishwashers both only have cycles that run for 2-3 hours? Go figure. Kids are learning to be smart about what to wear and when, gladly most of us packed lite - Wait till Julia gets here..LOL I only brought clothes for 4 days plus 1 bathing suit, 2 pairs of workout clothes, 2 pairs of shoes (flip flops and Metcons). I wish I had brought better walking shoes and more tank tops to work out in, as there are none to be found here as it is “winter” and they are actually selling coats and boots. Makes me laugh as the temperature is still around 75-79 degrees (more clouds lately) and I think it may get down to high 60”s at night!! December and January typically are around 70 degrees. And they find this cold? I guess they like to change up their wardrobe too and so I can get it. I just think it is funny when they have on coats and hats and we have on tank tops, shorts and flip flops!
Tonight we are making papas arrugadas (wrinkled potatoes).
Traditionally they are accompanied by mojo picon, a piquant sauce made from garlic, paprika, cumin, bread crumbs and wine vinegar. Sarah really liked these at the party, so I figure these would be easy to make. It is not as easy to make things I am use to at home as the ovens are small and they don't have everything I am use to. We are slowly making due and finding things we like and just repeating.
It is morning now, so I am off to try a new coworking space today as the apartment is a bit crowded with all of us working in it.
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