Ensenada Un Otra Vez!

Staying with a Mexican family for a week in Ensenada to study Spanish in an immersion environment. My first impression is that I´m getting a lot of walking done. I live like a mile from the school, and my host mother and sister have given me walking directions to all the places I´m asking about: post office (2.5 miles), tourist district to get post cards (.5 miles), getting exercise and a feel for how most citizens get around here every day (priceless).

Classes are 6 hours a day, four being conversation and grammar exploration, 2 being activities like games and guided discussion. As a language teacher myself, I´m being quite scrutinous of how we´re learning as well as what. But I also realize that being too picky will taint my experience too. So mostly I´m just going with the flow. Unlike Russian, French, Jamaican Creole, or Japanese, my Spanish learning experience has little immersion to cement chunked phrases into memory. I realize that I have to really think about all the conditions for using the preterite or imperfective, ser or estar, este or whatever before using it. The result has been increased shyness for speaking in public. Either that or its been a general trend in the past two years for me to be more reserved instead of wrecklessly talking to perfect strangers on the street.

I have the afternoons to explore and practice conversation. Today I went on an adventure to the post office, asking directions, changing large bills, and inquiring about tickets to San Felipe along the way. I stopped in McDonald`s for an ice cream and to write some postcards while I relaxed in the cool air conditioning. I`ve come 180 degrees from my 22-year-old position on patronizing establishments of American commercial imperialism. At first I was totally against it, thinking it would ruin my immersion experience and support the tainting of local culture. Now I just see it as a refuge of comfort from a tiresome day that I take every once in a while. I´m not going there because McD´s is the only food I want to eat, far from it. Its just a public place where I don´t have to spend much money to rest for a while on my journey between immersion experiences. Sort of like a ¨pause^in the game.

I´ll be here for the rest of the week, then come up to San Diego on Sunday for a teachers` conference. Hopefully I can post an entry about a trip to La Bufadora, the blow hole!

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