When we decided to embark on this adventure, we started to learn Spanish – after all its just rude to live in a country and not speak the language. We’re using various apps like Duo Lingo, which I have to say is very good and it’s free. Michel Thomas is another good method, and Rog watched a few lessons on You Tube – we would like to buy the cd’s but we don’t have electricity to run a CD player at the moment – maybe in the future.
Just over a year in and we do still get stuck (thank heavens for translation apps!) but for general day to day stuff we’re pretty fluent now, and when the phone rings I don’t panic as much! Talking on the phone is definitely the hardest as body language, facial expressions and hand gestures really do help you to understand!
I think the key is to speak it at every opportunity – when I go to the post office to collect our mail or parcels, I always have a chat to the lady in there – she knows our Spanish can be a bit iffy so let’s me practise – asks what we’ve been ordering etc. Managed to have a conversation today about using eco products. Even when the other person speaks English I keep going in Spanish!
The hardest thing is that the apps teach you stuff like ‘I like that green skirt’ when actually we need to discuss irrigation, fertilisers, insecticides etc but we take the ‘grammar lesson’ and apply the different words we need – and it seems to be working for both of us. I even suddenly found myself in the position yesterday where I knew the Spanish word for something and actually had to stop and think what the English word was! You know it’s all coming together when you think in Spanish – but it does take time and a poco a poco every day!
If you’re thinking of living inland, learning Spanish is a must – on the coast you’ll find English speakers, but the Spanish will love you for giving Spanish a go …