17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Próspero Año Nuevo

I don't know about the rest of you, but we have had one heck of a crazy, busy, lovely, beautiful, fun and inspiring holiday season. We were able to spend time with all of our favorite people (even though we had to travel in the car a total of 32 hours over the span of 10 days - made possible by the car dvd player). There were family parties, ski lessons, karaoke, nativity reenactments, a Jazz game, food, freezing cold temperatures, family sledding, late night debates about hunting, health insurance and politics, more family parties, more food (but this time with "points" charts attached to remind everyone that the new year was just around the corner), pregnant lady double dutch, a talent show, then warmer weather (bye bye too-small puffa coat), Disneyland, fun with old friends, and the Rose Parade. With all this going on (and all the pregnant lady naps I had to take to keep up with all the activities) there was little time for blogging (not to mention that I never really had access to the internet during the whole trip - which was hard at first but really nice in the end).

But now here I sit, with bags still left to unpack in the bedroom, Christmas decorations to box up and lights to take down off the house. Dh is back at work, bills are due, and people are asking me what my New Year resolutions are. The holidays are officially over people. Boo.

Now about those resolutions. It was Kage, the queen of goal-setting, that asked me about them the other night as we sat at my kitchen table and pretended we did not actually live on opposite coasts.
Her: So, what are your New Year's resolutions.
Me: I don't have any. I don't set goals.
Her: Yes you do.
Me: Okay, maybe I do, but I don't write them down and I never check back in on them during the year.

So I don't really think I can call what I do goal setting. But it's not like I don't accomplish anything. Goal setting just inherently sounds so rigid, and corporate to me. I like my life to feel more fluid and organic (or some good excuse like that). I mean, come on, I ran the numbers for my new business last night in cerulean Crayola crayon. Would the Franklin Covey Corp. approve? Maybe "goal setting" just needs a different publicist or stylist or something.

But despite my aversion to goal setting, there is actually one thing I would really like to accomplish this next year. I want to learn Spanish. There. I said it. I think I just set a goal.

I have often wished I went a little farther than the "Como estas" I learned from one semester of high school spanish class I so could converse a little better with my extended family. But, my little Spanish wish has grown bigger now that we have chosen to send Princess to our local public elementary school which is over 70% Hispanic. The language barrier between the teachers and many of the parents is a huge hurdle the school works hard to overcome. The language barrier between us parents is also painfully apparent. Because I believe a strong and united parent group can work wonders at a struggling school, I really want to learn Spanish.

Anyone have any great ideas of how I might go about doing this? Dh thinks enrolling in a class would be the most effective way to learn, but I just don't see it happening, especially with a new baby waiting in the wings. I keep seeing those tv ads for Rosetta Stone. Anyone had any experience with that method?

P.S. I wrote the title of this post in Spanish thanks to freetranslation.com. I have no idea if it actually means Happy New Year.


  • Happy New Year too~(yay Tales is back!)

    I am like you with goal setting. It totally seems uncomfortable to me to have to WRITE, or TYPE (or whatever) my New Year's goals. I mean, I just don't think I can take that kind of pressure. I put enough pressure on myself every day all day long just in my head to do stuff. I imagine I'd just freeze up if I had some long list looming over my head all year. Really not effective for me at all.
    As for the Spanish learning, whatever you take, be it a class or tutor, I'd get something heavy on the one on one speaking, because I think that is the most important thing. Learn how to actually converse with people.I several years of Spanish, but never learned to SPEAK it. Pointless. Unless maybe if you are editing spanish books.
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 1/03/2008 10:14:00 AM  

  • I TOOK several years of spanish. hah.
    posted by Blogger Rachel H at 1/03/2008 10:15:00 AM  

  • My father has done the Rosetta Stone method to brush up on Hebrew and to learn Chinese (so he can speak with his new daughter-in-law). It has worked well for him, although speaking/studying with an actual person is always a better choice. Good luck!
    posted by Blogger Liz at 1/03/2008 12:07:00 PM  

  • Maybe look into your local park & rec for conversational Spanish classes. I took Spanish at the local community college & they really push being able to read & write it, I think you probably are looking for something that is more useful for everyday interaction than being able to write papers, etc. I've heard good things about the Spanish software you can buy that includes cd's you listen to, programs you do on the computer, & workbooks. They sell one(http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11210782&search=spanish&Mo=7&cm_re=1_en-_-Top_Left_Nav-_-Top_search&lang=en-US&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&Sp=S&N=5000043&whse=BC&Dx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntk=Text_Search&Dr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne=4000000&D=spanish&Ntt=spanish&No=6&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Nty=1&topnav=&s=1) at Costco that is about 1/2 the cost of the Rosetta Stone version. They also sell Hooked On Spanish for kids (http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?Prodid=11165007&search=spanish&Mo=7&cm_re=1_en-_-Top_Left_Nav-_-Top_search&lang=en-US&Nr=P_CatalogName:BC&Sp=S&N=5000043&whse=BC&Dx=mode+matchallpartial&Ntk=Text_Search&Dr=P_CatalogName:BC&Ne=4000000&D=spanish&Ntt=spanish&No=5&Ntx=mode+matchallpartial&Nty=1&topnav=&s=1), if you are interested in working with your kids on it too, that one sells for about $60 new at Costco. Good luck!
    posted by Anonymous MKC at 1/03/2008 12:09:00 PM  

  • Aunt Carrie, we have the same goal! You seem more dedicated that I am. I guess I'm just hoping that a mission and/or the six credits of a second language I have to take in college will help me with my life goal (I'm not limiting it to just this year).

    Now, I know you might not be able to pull this off any time soon but it is just a suggestion. I say go to Mexico! I hear that the best way to learn a second language is to immerse yourself into it. Heck, we have family there! When I went I was suprised at how much I picked up. I actually roamed Mexico City by myself for a day and it forced me to talk and to listen instead of just waiting for someone to translate.

    The best experience I had was when I went to an amusement park by myself. This group of young kids befriended me and let me tag a long with them. Their Spanish was a lot easier for me to understand because they were young and used simple words. Oh, and they were really animated when they spoke which helped me to figure things out. The Devlyns were also really good about teaching me instead of just translating. They made me speak to the maids in Spanish and made the maids speak to me in English...haha.

    I wish I had gone to Mexico with more motivation to learn Spanish. Maybe next time. Best of luck! Oh, and did you know that several of the Devlyns are tri-lingual? We suck.
    posted by Anonymous Maria Tortilla at 1/03/2008 12:10:00 PM  

  • The cerulean crayon is my favorite now that indian red has been discontinued....
    posted by Blogger Kage at 1/03/2008 01:52:00 PM  

  • I checked out pimsleur's method for German (my in-laws speak it at home) from the public library and put it on my i-pod. It goes slower, but I remember everything, so it's worthwhile.

    Plus I can listen and practice while I do the dishes. Definite plus.
    posted by Blogger Emily C at 1/03/2008 02:13:00 PM  

  • Carrie: This idea might be a happy medium for now between foreign language cds and traveling to Mexico: I noticed my local library has a program for native spanish speakers and english speakers to meet and converse. I think the idea is that you help them with some English and they help you start learning spanish. There HAS to be some similar library programs in SoCal! It seemed really informal, but well-organized and they even have some tables set aside and I see people meeting all the time when I am in the library.

    When I first noticed the program, I thought I should do it....until I remembered that DH's first language is Spanish (Shows how lazy we are about speaking spanish in the house these days...since I almost forgot this fact). Then I thought of you and meant to email you with the idea, and then promptly forgot, so I'm glad you posted about it.

    As someone who wishes her spoken spanish was better, I agree with others who said don't waste your time learning to read and write until you can converse. The first time I ever wrote my in-laws a thank you note (I can read and write spanish at a high school level and speak at probably a 2nd or 3rd grade level or so), my inlaws were SHOCKED...and I knew they were wondering how I could write so well and speak so poorly!

    Also, spending some time in "the barrio" I know how intimidated native speakers can be by english speakers, so I think you are doing a really great thing. Good luck!
    posted by Blogger Jen at 1/03/2008 03:19:00 PM  

  • last paragraph: meant to say native spanish speakers....I don't think people with brown skin are "natives"
    posted by Blogger Jen at 1/03/2008 04:17:00 PM  

  • I've toyed with the idea of learning spanish better too.

    If I did it I would probably get some kind of online class or software like Rosetta Stone, in addition to watching a lot of spanish soap operas (with the subtitles since I'm a visual learner). I remember watching a lot of soap operas in spanish class.

    Actually, you (and the kids) could probably learn a lot just by watching the DVD's you already own by turning on the Spanish audio and/or subtitles.
    posted by Blogger tamrobot at 1/03/2008 05:21:00 PM  

  • Thanks for all the great ideas everyone.

    Rachel H - The emphasis on learning to speak to an actual person is really what I need. Hopefully all the Spanish speaking parents won't mind me practicing on them each morning.

    I've been looking at Rosetta stone on ebay and craigslist where I hopefully can get it cheaper, but MKC, that other program at the Costco price can't be beat. And I would love to learn with the kids.

    And maria, how I would love to take a trip to Mexico. Maybe I can have that as a reward of some sort for achieving partial language mastery.

    Kage - Cerulean is a nicely named color. Better than "mac and cheese"

    emily c - Great Idea. I am going to look into a program I can check out at the library next week. At least it's a start. And it's free. And like you said, I can do it whilst washing dishes.

    jen - that program sounds so intriguing. while I am at the library next week, I am going to look into it. It would be nice to find something similar around here.

    It also makes me think I could find someone in the ward who might spend some time speaking Spanish with me. Maybe a trade for some sewing lessons?
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 1/03/2008 08:46:00 PM  

  • Carrie - you should totally do a trade! DH once traded voice lessons to a student who really wanted to sing but couldn't afford it, but she was a massage therapist. It was awesome b/c I was pregnant with T and got an hour long massage a week. She found him from an ad on Craigslist that he had posted once.

    I also think immersion is the way to go. I studied spanish for nine years and can you believe never was fluent. Mostly because I was never really immersed in the language. I think the parents will LOVE to speak with you and help you practice. In my experience whenever a native spanish speaker knows I know a little spanish they are totally excited to speak, even if I have to say, "Repita por favor, mas despacio" a bunch of times. That is a very good resolution I think. Keep us posted.
    posted by Blogger beth at 1/03/2008 09:45:00 PM  

  • Just a thought here: My mother teaches ESL (English as a Second Language), and out of all of the computer programs she has worked with, she recommends Rosetta Stone (for adults). I don't know about kids. I applaud your efforts to reach out to Spanish speaking members of your community....I have done this myself. It's not easy, but worth it.
    posted by Anonymous amy at 1/03/2008 10:30:00 PM  

  • Kudos on the choice of public school!

    I think any exposure would be great. A few things that might work:
    --community college class to get you started
    --Rosetta Stone if it is in the budget
    --turn on the Spanish audio for movies and kiddie DVDS you watch and are already familiar with
    --check locally of LDS or non Spanish speaking park groups, playgroups, happy hours, etc
    --get some bilingual kiddie books
    --listen to Spanish language radio
    --shop at farmers markets with hispanic populations
    --read some super easy spanish language magazines
    --start a Spanish enrichment group. Do mini vocab lessons and then activities: ex. food lesson, then field trip to the market or lunch all in Spanish, etc. Everyone wants to learn Spanish and I bet you have some experts in your RS who would share their knowledge!

    Good luck! I bet your Spanish speaking friends will be glad to help!
    posted by Blogger a spectator at 1/04/2008 07:38:00 AM  

  • I'm so impressed. Go for it. Sam did an in-the-car Spanish CD last year and he loved it. He also makes a point to seek out Spanish speakers so that he can practice (not hard to do here in CA).
    posted by Blogger Chloe at 1/04/2008 04:15:00 PM  

  • Kage- Indian red still exists! They renamed it chestnut.
    posted by Blogger Kip at 1/06/2008 09:06:00 AM  

  • Anyone who has taken one semester of Spanish must watch this youtube video.

    Good luck.
    posted by OpenID mhuff at 1/06/2008 07:59:00 PM  

  • kip! I am SO relieved....
    posted by Blogger Kage at 1/07/2008 05:46:00 AM  

  • mhuff, that is HYSTERICAL. Forwarding to many many people...
    posted by Blogger marian at 1/07/2008 07:31:00 AM  

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