Posts Tagged ‘Learning Spanish’

When You Spend Time in the Streets

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

We’ve been in Mindo for 9 days now and we are starting to grow accustomed to the pace of life. We’ve been sleeping through the night and are moving into a routine. Brady and I have each had a chance to take an afternoon nap, as has this dog.

 

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We have started official Spanish lessons. We hired Fernando from the school called Vida Verde, located in Quito. He’s doing a great job; he’s full of energy and actually has Brennan interested in learning Spanish. I’m surprised at how bad my Spanish is, and I continue to struggle to understand the children! However we always seem to have a few extra kids around. One girl in particular has picked up some English phrases from the public school here and the restaurant where she works, and she seems interested in learning. She followed me home last night after I chatted with her a bit on the street in front of her family’s restaurant.

 

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Brennan learning Spanish at our kitchen table

 

Jai and Rubi are settling into school. We’ve arranged for the them to leave after the first recess, which gives them about 3 hours of school every day. It’s really plenty for them. I enjoy walking up the hill toward their school every morning, alongside droves of children.

 

Rubi and Jai and their friend Hillary Patiño at the entrance of school

Rubi and Jai and their friend Hillary Patiño at the entrance of school

 

Brennan enjoys riding the rented bike around the streets of Mindo and true to his adventurous spirit he is looking for a path to “mountain bike”. There is a great little coffee and chocolate shop here where I bought a real Americano (the locals drink instant coffee) and a very delicious chocolate bar, and paid American prices. Maybe when my mom and nephew get here, we can do the chocolate tour!

 

The view down into Mindo from El Quetzal

The view down into Mindo from El Quetzal

 

Rubi is doing a great job of making friends. Her Spanish may be the best out of the family and the girls in the neighborhood are very interested in being friends with her. I have found that I am making some acquaintances as well. A woman down the street at Hostal Charrito allowed me to use her WiFi and the family at the Hostal Bosque de Mindo allowed the kids to swim in her pool.

 

Rubi playing with the girls across the street, who live at this hostel

Rubi playing with the girls across the street, who live at this hostel

 

As we anticipate the installation of WiFi, our challenge will be to continue reaching out to the community and avoid being too insular. It’s the people of Mindo that make this place feel like home, and the beautiful natural environment that makes Mindo feel like a place that we can thrive. The people are often out in the streets and on their front porches.

 

I love how this woman and her dog are both carrying their goods in plastic bags. 

 

Even as I sit here on this sidewalk cafe, writing this blog and using the WiFi here, I am stopped by a mom from Jai and Rubi’s school. We just paid $20 a child for a surprise gift during the Christmas program. The woman chatted with me for a while and scolded me (lightly) for hiring a Spanish teacher and instructed me to just speak Spanish with the people in the street. She says it’s free. I think she’s on to something.