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The Newcomer

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...or sail a deadly sea

I have embarked upon a voyage over rough seas that sails perilously close to treacherous cliffs, bottomless troughs and lands in which live mysterious and monstrous dangers.

In short, I am learning a new language!

It is an intensive course that runs for five days with four hours of instruction each day. And those hours come at the end of my work day. Not the most mentally productive hours in my day!

It is a challenge.

I crashed after the first hour during the first session, but a break with a snack of fresh fruit with cream, a tostado with frijoles and pico de gallo and a lovely, purple drink made from dried hibiscus blossoms gave me a kick-start and I completed that first class in high spirits.

I learn best by doing, not just listening, so, while the first had dragged a bit for me, the last hours flew by because we made booklets in which we told our likes and dislikes and a little about ourselves and families...all written in our newly learned vocabulary.

Under my likes I wrote: Mi gustan salado, grososas y dulce.

I was trying to write: "I like salt, fat and sugar," which is true. But I redeemed myself by writing "Ensalada es bueno", illustrated with a picture of a fresh salad. (I'm pretty sure just a picture is not going to take inches off my frame, though.)

A second session with our maestra at school led me to believe what I had actually written was: "I like salty, greasy and sweet".

On the other hand, a scan through our office Spanish dictionary didn't even turn up two of the words I'd used!

While confused, I am still enthused about this class even though I am apprehensive about-ok, more like terrified of-trying to memorize all these new words. Especially when there seems to be a dozen variations for one word!

On the first night, we received a hand-out of two double-sided pages of vocabulary words. I got home from the class at 9 p.m., walked the dog and went to bed. No time there to study, even if I had been motivated to do so after four hours of it. Up next morning at 6 a.m., fed and walked the dog and to work...no time there to look them over.

I could see the handwriting on the wall-and it was bilingual!

Obviously, I was going to have to add at least one hour to my day.

Impossible to do?

Hey, after wading through a ton of verbs, nouns and an alphabet that contains a "che" and a "zet", putting an extra hour into my day may be the easiest thing I do this week!

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