Spanish phrase – ¿Qué te enmarca? = What frames/shapes you?
I have missed a few weeks now of updates! This past Wednesday was the last day of the summer course…but let’s take a few steps back. The week after midterms went quite well, my results from the midterms were encouraging and gave me confidence in my Spanish speaking. These last two weeks were full, mostly in preparation for several projects we presented last week. We spent a lot of time in class practicing with one another and two week ago I had a total of 4 different presentations. First up was a one-on-one with my professor in which I presented to her the information on the current event I had been following in Honduras. You go in with no notes and she asks a few follow-up questions. Next we each had to present to the entire class a monologue based on a story we wrote on an event/person/place that shaped/framed us. We were encouraged to be creative and dramatic with our presentation…as if giving a monologue wasn’t hard enough! Friday afternoon we had a last minute in class group presentation, thankfully nothing too serious. Each group presented on a local environmental organization. Finally Friday night all the Spanish students participated in a Cultural Night to showcase the language to the other language students, MIIS staff and the community. Each class had to give some sort of presentation and it was also open to individual/groups of students who wanted to do something. Our class presented a type of monologue production to showcase a) our stories of what framed us and b) our language learning progression. We all stood in a line and one by one held a frame in front of us and said a line from our story. We did this three times, each time with a new frame going from small to big. Each time we also increased the complexity of our sentence. For example, my lines were:
a) “Vamos a America!” – “We go to America!”
b) “Era una chica de Sudafrica mirando en al puente Golden Gate. Que sueno” – “I was a girl from South Africa looking at the Gold Gate bridge. What a dream”
c) “Mi primer dia en los Estados Unidos. No sabia cuantos anos mas viviria en este pais ni seria mi nuevo hogar” – “My first day in the United States. I did not know how many years I would live in this country nor that it would be my new home.”
We all had at least three or four lines to memorize, plus when the person next to you stepped out to say their line you were slightly behind them doing some sort of action to add to the interest of the piece. We really only spent 2-3 days working in class on this, and most of us don’t exactly love being on stage. But…we did it and we didn’t make any big errors and I don’t think it was too terrible! The two lower level classes had more fun pieces, one filmed and showed a short telenovela and the other filmed and showed a music video, a remix of the song Bailando but instead saying Recylando (Recyle). Both were really fun! The highest level course recited a beautiful and powerful poem on the issue of immigration and ended the night with “Este Tierra es mio, este tierra es tuyo” (This land is my land, this land is your land). There were also two students who sangs solo pieces. It was a great night but we were all ready for a break afterwards!
Every day last week each of the language programs did a cultural event, most of them were in the afternoon after class. The students had various tables with sample food, art, games and other interesting cultural connections with the language. It was really fun to interact with the other language classes and learn a bit about other cultures.
Besides learning Spanish I have taken plenty of opportunities to enjoy the location I’m living in! I still visit the beach as often as possible…sometimes for our lunch break during the week. I went to the largest Rodeo in California a few weekends ago in Salinas, hiked more at my favorite spot in Point Lobos and explored a new beach just past the town of Moss Landing. This past weekend was the Feast of Lanterns in the neighboring town of Pacific Grove which is a Chinese celebration of lights. They end the festivities with a firework show at the beach which I was planning to attend…but then I got an offer I could not refuse. A classmate who works on a whale watching boats invited a few of us for a private tour to watch the fireworks from the sea! It was my first time out on the bay by boat and it was wonderful!
Here are a few pictures…more info on the final weeks of the program to come!
Celebration after a long week