We finally arrived in Cuenca to live. Our first priority became securing permanent housing. We bought a house, a bed and some appliances and moved in to await the arrival of our container. It, of course, got delayed. Did we use that down time to brush up on our Spanish? Nah, we just procrastinated again! Once the container arrived, we got busy building our new lifestyle and settling in as residents. We were the only gringos in our neighborhood. We began to pick a little vocabulary here and there just from immersion into the neighborhood and osmosis as we traveled around the city. It is a fact that Cuenca's openness to the gringo community and the significant number of locals who know some English make it easy to "get by" with a few basic phrases. Ecuadorians are also very patient and gracious if you attempt to use the language and are very willing to help you learn. We started picking up more vocabulary "poco a poco" (little by little) but, oh boy, what terrible grammar we had (and still do)!
Despite being strong advocates of learning the language (we advise every one of the newcomers who seek us out for advice "Learn Spanish!"), here we are a year and a half later, still picking up our Spanish in bits and pieces. However, we are now up to stopping on the street and chatting with friends and neighbors in THEIR language for sometimes as long as 3 to 4 minutes! We are making some progress, albeit, very slow and agonizing progress. We have since started some computer language learning programs. That is helping and we plan to hire a home tutor in the near future. Vocabulary is one thing, but we really need to improve our grammar and pronunciation.
Ecuadorians who have been in the US tell us the hardest thing about learning English was its heavy usage of idiomatic phrases with meanings different than the literal translation. Actually, that can occur in Spanish, as well, and learning some of those subtleties can make a difference.
|Roger during a recent stay in an Ecuadorian hospital.|
Oh my gosh, she was asking if I had had a bowel movement today! (It was my turn to laugh!)
"Si, Senora, yo hecho un grande depositivo...un grande boom-boom!" This time, we both giggled!
And so it goes.....until the tutor arrives, we will probably continue to pick up some more Spanish, poco a poco, as we continue our journey juntos en el camino de la vida.