Tuesday, October 25, 2011

School and an apology to 'the kid'

25 years ago we put ‘the kid’ into ‘French Immersion’...all French instruction for the first 3 years and into karate with Japanese instruction as well. (It was the thing to do in the 80’s.)

Repeatedly we asked him over the years...”So what did you learn in French today?” The response was always the same....’nothing.’

Well, I’m happy to say he did get through 13 years of French, then college and in karate became a brown belt, so it’s safe to say the old line is true... 'learning a new language or skill will keep the mind alert, sharp and young.'
Then we moved to Mexico. After selling everything in Canada and buying a house here, it only made sense that we were going to have to take the plunge and learn the local language. I mean, if ‘the kid’ could learn 2 other languages, why not us? After all, we were college graduates... worked with the public for over 30 years and raised a family...we could do this too!

Today we’d like to apologize to ‘the kid.’

It started with the search for a Spanish teacher. We discovered a local gentleman and made arrangements for our first class. Hub immediately went out and bought a stack of pens, pencils and seven lined notebooks (one can never be over prepared so I’m told.)

Senor ‘A’, being well versed in Spanish and English, arrived at our home to do the impossible...break Hub of his broken Spanish and sign language and get me to try to speak another language. After introductions we were asked...

“You’ve taken Spanish before?”


“Not in school in America?”

‘We’re Canadian.’

“Ahhhh, so you speak French!”

‘No, just high school French and badly.’

“Really? Well, no matter. You will excel at Spanish!”

(Okay Senor ‘A’ is an optimist.)

“Turn to page 1, lesson 1...”

I didn’t know what Hub was thinking but suddenly ancient French classes flew before my eyes with words like bonjour, chien and crayon!

Shaking my head, trying to get back to the right language, I see written Spanish as well as English titles like...verbs, adverbs, nouns, infinitives...I immediately thought we should be sitting in a classroom with undersized desks!

Senor ‘A’ continues....

“h is always silent, most times...j is h...ll is ya...there’s no such thing as a long ‘a’ in Spanish...the word ‘we’ has 8 letters and there are male and female words, like the word ‘the’ is Los or Las depending on the gender!!!” OMG we are back in French class!!!

Senor ‘A’ is a patient man, gently explaining and correcting our pronunciation. Class ends! Both Hub and I are sweating like stuffed pigs...of course the humidity could be the culprit but Senor ‘A’ is as cool as a cucumber...never the less we are sweating but the class is over!!!

Hub bangs his head on the table and moans... "my brain hurts!"

“You’re both doing great! In no time at all you will be speaking fluent Spanish.”

I forgot to say Senor 'A' is VERYoptimist and it’s at this point we now know for sure...
teachers, everywhere, do not get paid enough to do their job!

We spend at least an hour each day reviewing and memorizing our homework.
Friends are now asking us... “Soooo what did you learn in class?”

We both look at each other and say...
"We are soooooo sorry" to ‘the kid’.

Just a few thoughts from 2 Canadians living and loving it in Mazatlan!
Linda and Hub.