Tomorrow morning is the official start of our language training. We will be taking classes three days a week (3 hours each day). David and Stephanie will have their own instructor, Steve and Kelly Ezell will make up the second group, and Steve and I will make up the third group.
It is full immersion. The learning will take place in the morning hours (8-11am) to take full advantage of the weather (no heat, no rain). The classroom is not inside. It is outside in one of the several study “shelters” spread throughout the ranchero.
The property belongs to Mercedes Arias, the director of the Atenas Spanish Academy (ATESA). It has been in her family for years and is still a working farm. On the day we toured, we saw pineapples, corn, coffee, beans, and lemon and orange trees. We got to enjoy fresh oranges picked right from the trees in front of us. Wow!
The hardest part will be for me to stay focused during the lesson. There are so many beautiful birds and butterflies flying around nonstop. Sometime during the semester Steve and I will take part in some cultural activities to help us with the language learning. We will be invited into a local home and asked to follow simple instructions to help prepare a meal. There will also be a dancing lesson involving salsa, cumbia, and merengue.
Communicating in and around town has not been too difficult to date, but it will be nicer to actually have meaningful conversations with the people we come across, especially the families that we are seeing weekly at church.
Please pray we are good students and can acquire the language quickly, ministering along the way as we put it into practice.