Two weeks in Panama.
Starting on the 25th (next Monday) I leave for two weeks in Panama. I am going to speak Spanish to everyone, everywhere. I will let them know things like 'the grey elephant eats rice' and 'I don't like your black cat', and "I don't want a red shirt, I want a blue skirt! ( yo soy un hombre), oh yes, and also "I am a man and you are a woman" everywhere it is appropriate (and likely many places it is not).
This will make my 21st trip to Panama during the last 6 years, so I will be working with a lot of the same people again. I should already be fluent (you no doubt think to yourself, as I do). My problem has been that the guys I work with at our partner office speak no English so communication has always been a challenge. And when we would hire a translator - he is getting paid, so he is interested in self preservation not helping others learn (I'm sure that is not the case with ALL translators, just so happened with the ones we had sometimes). Anyway, I did pick up some Spanish along the way which has helped me thru the years and on each trip I get a little more. But I think the last 10 days of really pushing myself on duolingo (along with the next 5 days) will be a huge help. I had a full on conversation with our bi-lingual assistant via skype in which she, and I quote was "about to pee herself -OMG STOP YOU'RE KILLING ME" (she didn't know I had been practicing extra hard and wasn't ready for all the colors and animals and rice with chicken I was throwing her way, jajaja (as they say in Spanish)).
Anyway, I am loving this site - and it is really helping me learn the language. I have no intention to stop learning Spanish - I intend to be fluent and also learn other languages and will most likely start German next.
Un abrazo, Joel
I wanted to give an update...in case anyone was interested.
By the end of the first week the local business partner (the dealer/distributor for my employer) in Panama had showed his true colors. He didn't like it that I was communicating quite effectively with the customers. By Friday night he had a full melt down and declared that for the second week there would be no meetings to be had, and that I was "free". Well, that obviously would not do since I was there to do work. So the entire weekend I spent setting up my own meetings with all of the customers, and the following week I spent having all the meetings without the local dealer (this was his choice, as I mentioned). I was able to get around (taxis), have the needed meetings and get a full run down of the situation. They have all been getting horrible service and support from the local guy and this is why he didn't want me meeting with them - now that I was able to understand so much more, he knew that I would be able to communicate with the customers and that I would not like what I was hearing. So change is coming...
Back to the subject of language - it was amazing to have full conversations, often times after asking them to slow down, or sometimes use smaller words. No doubt I did not say everything perfectly - I know I didn't, and I would apologize accordingly. But I WAS able to get points clearly across. And the customers really appreciated the extra efforts.
Restaurants, lounges, the hotel, taxis, airports - it is all so much more fun when you can speak the language. Oh...and it is really nice when you can help out someone who doesn't understand a word that is being said...remembering that there was a time in which that was you!
¡Me encanto! He visitado Ecuador hace cuatro años. Aprendí muchísimo español, fui allí sin hablar español, pero cuando regresé, yo estaba hablando frases y sentencias en español. Antes de que, el español era muy difícil para mí. Ahora, yo soy haciendo mucho mejor con el lenguaje. Me gusta tu determinación a aprender lenguas extranjeras. Personalmente, Me siento que nunca voy a terminar aprendiendo español. Sin embargo, cuando me siento que he dominado español, aprendé portugués algún día. ¡Espero te gusta tus vacaciones en panamá!
muchas gracias amigo. si - the learning will never stop, there is always more to learn.
Haha...nice...you are much better than you thought if you became a threat to your coworker/employer...good job. I am planning to visit Panama for the first time with plans lay down some roots. I find Memrise is a useful adjunct to learning Spanish...they just do it differently and its interesting to see how the different locals they use pronounce the same words/phrases. I find the different learning methods complement each other. Good luck with the rest of your trip (not sure when you originally posted...maybe you are back...are you based in the U.S.?). Cheers.