“Estámos aqui en la lucha” – We are here in the fight/battle.

This is the phrase our Spanish professor taught us earlier this week…because language learning is a battle! This week certainly felt like a struggle. I think we all left last Friday feeling awesome and then we forget all our Spanish over the weekend and on Monday we felt deflated. Of course the weather took this moment to begin it’s change to full on clouds and coldness everyday, no afternoon sunshine. But I stuck through the week and by Friday felt a bit better, a bit more realistic about my language learning. It did help that last night was a Trivia and Pizza night for all us students. Free pizza? Yes please! This week in Spanish we covered grammar (of course) but we practiced through some interesting topics. Our assignment started the first week with writing an Ode to an object that represented ourselves, based on the Odes to common things by Pablo Neruda. I went with one of my many mugs, this one with a whimsical picture of Jefferey’s Bay and dolphins. This past week we had to do a black and white portrait of ourselves that reflected our object (which represents yourself). It’s a cool concept but a bit hard for me…I think I’m too literal for this type of assignment. But thanks to the help of my other two classmates/photographers I got a shot I liked. This next week we’ll put that with our Ode as well as an artist statement for a full project. Please note all the writing is in Spanish. We’ve been doing a lot of watching shorts and listening to songs and discussing and analyzing them. I want to say it has been fun…but it can be hard to have a discussion in English about your identity or the negative impact of tourism, so try doing it in Spanish! Our professor assures us that we have all grown in our language ability in these two weeks…but I think we all feel about the same.  The key is to not be too hard on yourself and to keep pushing yourself to talk a bit more in Spanish, watch a bit more of a show in Spanish and take the time to put Spanish in your everyday life. Maybe next week the blog will be in Spanish 🙂

On a lighter note! This week I got to tour the Cathedral of San Carlos Borromeo (aka the Royal Presidio Chapel). This is one of the oldest cathedrals in the US, built in 1794 by the Spanish when they came up the California coast and built a fort (aka Presidio) in Monterey. It was an interesting tour and history of the area.  The church was built three times, the first church was very make shift when the Spanish first arrived, the second church was built from adobe (mud and sticks) so it didn’t last very long either and the final (and current) church was built from cut stone. It was recently restored so inside the walls look very new and the patterns are fresh but based on the original. They have installed window type viewing areas in some spots along the wall were you can seen the original wall. It was very interesting. The tour was conducted in Spanish and English for the Spanish language students.

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Cathedral of San Carlos

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Spanish group outside the cathedral with one of the original priests…he is to scale! (photo courtesy of SILP)

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Whale vertebrae used as stone for sidewalks!

This week we also went as a group to the Monterey Farmer’s Market. This is a really nice market every Tuesday just a few blocks down from the campus. Tons of fresh and local fruit and vegetables and wonderful food. A few street musicians add to the fun. Of course our assignment was to speak in Spanish with some of the food vendors who knew we were coming and students of Spanish.  I splurged and bought a Churro and some cilantro.

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Montery Farmer’s Market! (photo courtesy of SILP)

 

Well, that’s all for now.  I’ve got homework to do!

¡Hasta la próxima semana!

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