Here at the Maryknoll Institute classes operate on a two week rotation. Each new rotation brings a new schedule with a new classroom and new teachers. This Monday my classes moved from 11:30am - 3:30pm to 8:00am - 11:30am and I got 4 new teachers.
With my new teachers I learned this lesson: if it’s tough to talk about in English, it’s going to be tough to talk about in Spanish. I finished my basic grammar review and, while I’ll still continue learning more grammar, now I’m focusing on my conversation skills. To that end, my professors are trying to engage me in substantive discussions. A sample of discussion topics includes, “Racism,” “My thoughts on the war in Iraq,” “Art and the legacy of colonialism,” and, “The differences between women of the past and women today.” I’ll take this opportunity to reiterate that I’m the only person in the class, so I have to talk all the time (at this point, I’ll intercept the jokes from the peanut gallery about that not being particularly difficult for me).
It turns out that I am learning something, though. Last night I listened to a song by the Mexican band Maná. When I listened to the song in the U.S., I didn’t understand anything except the guitar and the drums. But when I heard it the other night, I understood the title (“Sábanas frias,” which means “cold sheets”) and almost all of the lyrics. Another step in the right direction….