Spanish Word/Phrase of the Week: ¡Nos Vemos! – a way to say goodbye, loosely translates “we will see each other”
I have been in Monterey about three weeks now, though sometimes it feels like I have always been here. At the same time, I am still filled with the awe and joy every time I see the beautiful vistas and history of this town! I have completed one full week of language school and I feel excited for the remaining seven weeks. My first two weeks were filled with unpacking and getting situated in my apartment. I love my place! It’s only about a five-minute walk from the school and downtown Old Monterey, maybe ten minutes to Fisherman’s Wharf and the sea! From my kitchen window and deck, you can see the ocean peeking between the roofs. Many mornings I wake up to fog and for some reason, my habit has been to run over to my kitchen window to see if I can still see the sea…as if all is right with the world if it is there. So far only one day of the three weeks I was not able to see it, and even then you could sort of make it out. We have actually had really nice weather, if we have fog in the morning it burns off by lunch and we have sunny skies in the high 70s with a nice breeze. Apparently that is not normal for this time of year, usually, it’s foggy most days. I’m hoping for a “not normal” summer! Between unpacking and running errands I tried to explore the area as much as I could. I found the local library. I explored the history of Monterey at local museums. I discovered amazing views and creation outside Monterey on Big Sur highway, and I discovered local views from 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. I enjoyed an afternoon at the Monterey State Beach and biked/walked the neighborhood. There is so much more to see and do around here and I mostly walk around with a stupid grin while I do because it is just so beautiful and interesting here! It’s still a bit of a dream.
Between unpacking and running errands I tried to explore the area as much as I could. I found the local library. I explored the history of Monterey at local museums. I discovered amazing views and creation outside Monterey on Big Sur highway, and I discovered local views from 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. I enjoyed an afternoon at the Monterey State Beach and biked/walked the neighborhood. There is so much more to see and do around here and I mostly walk around with a stupid grin while I do because it is just so beautiful and interesting here! It’s still a bit of a dream.
Obviously, I love this type of scenery, beautiful golden sand beaches, gnarly rocks with moody ocean waves crashing on them. Green hills, forests, and seaside vegetation. Basically any day you can go see a seal, sea lion or otter in the bay. I also love the history. Monterey was the capital of Spanish-Mexico, the capital of independent Mexico and (I’m pretty sure) the capital of California when it first became a State. Monterey was vital in the Mexican-American war as an important harbor. So much history here and so many local historians only too happy to tell you all the interesting stories!
So that was my first two weeks.
Week one of language school has been good. We started on a Thursday/Friday for orientation so I got to meet some people in all the language programs (Arabic, Chinese, Russian, French and Spanish) and then there were also break-out sessions for your specific language. We did the typical orientation photo-scavenger hunt around Monterey and I found out that Monterey has a tree that has been to the moon! Well, the seed went anyway. Friday afternoon we had our first actual class which was mostly introductions and expectations. I am in the Intermediate-I Spanish class with 11 other students. Our normal schedule is 3 hours of Spanish in the morning with one teacher, a lunch break and then 1.5 hours of Spanish in the afternoon with a second teacher. Halfway through the 8 weeks our afternoon teacher will change. In total, we will learn Spanish from three different teachers all with different backgrounds which is very helpful to understanding different Spanish accents as well as learning styles. Both the teachers we have now are amazing! The students are great too, everyone is excited and motivated to be here and encouraging to one another. During orientation one of the staff members told us that we will most certainly have days we want to give up language learning…because it is HARD! In those times we need to reach out to our teachers and classmates for encouragement. I feel like I can do that. Our teachers do a great job of encouraging and challenging us.
The program has a mix of students. Some are here just for the summer to learn a language and others will be here in the Fall (like me) to continue at MIIS (Middlebury Institute of International Studies) in a master’s program. If you are interested in learning a language I would encourage you to check this program out, anyone can apply at all levels, there are very beginners to high intermediate. http://www.miis.edu/academics/language/programs
Here are a few pics from the last few weeks.