Continuous learning efforts

Andalucía, 6th of November

cloudy Spanish landscapeWe thought that the reason we felt the cold so much at the beginning of this year was because we were in the midst of house refurbishment. But no, it's every bit as cold now that we have las puertas nuevas, new doors, and el doble acristalamiento, double glazing. This is the one thing we obviously did not research properly. It can be nice and warm in the daytime but when the sun goes down Spanish houses are freezing cold and we have six months of this ahead of us! Yesterday we went off to research la calefacción, the heating, to stave off the cold. Given the technical nature of the questions we had to ask, this was a definite challenge for my Spanish language skills. An English-speaking salesman is coming to see us next week!

Continuous learning efforts

Fred on the terraceIn between visitors and sorting out the house and garden most of our time seems to be spent either going to las clases de español, Spanish lessons, doing nuestros deberes, our homework, or worrying about not doing it! We both vacillate between a real sense of achievement and despair at our lack of progress. I realise that I know much more than I did when we arrived in February but it often feels like very slow progress.

At the moment, I have just a one-hour private lesson each week whilst Fred is in a beginners' group, tres horas a la semana, three hours a week. Having learnt French at school I find the grammar fairly easy to grasp but applying it to real life is another thing altogether. The main problem is that we don't really know any Spanish people and so I only get to practise in shops and bars where it's possible to get away with a limited range of palabras y frases, words and phrases. I'm hoping to find a Spanish person who is learning English and who would like to get together for conversation so that we can help each other improve.

Expats of Britain, unite

restaurantIn spite of the fact that we don't have any Spanish friends we do feel very much at home here. We know lots of people of all nationalities just to say hello to in the street and we have also made a few good friends - all English I'm afraid but it's nice to have a social life. Things are starting to develop for Fred in the music business and he is in the process of trying to put a band together to play at local venues. There is a lively music scene around here and last week we went to see a really good band which attracted a mixed age and nationality audience in a tiny village near here.

Sent by: Sue

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