¡Hola! ¿Cómo Te … Erm … What? – Our First Spanish Lesson at Las LiLas School

You didn’t think I was joking when I said Cynthia is going to learn Spanish after Fernando Torres scored the goal that won Spain the UEFA Cup 2008, did you?  So I join her, under one condition.  Stay tuned and you may hear about it in September this year.

To learn Spanish is one of Cynthia’s childhood dreams.  I honestly have no special love for the language, the music, or the food but I do love to fulfill the dreams of others if I can.  Learning a language is absolutely not my strength and it is utterly one of the 10 things I fear most.  I am not exaggerating.

Exactly what I am going to do with this new skill, I have no clue.  However I am a strong believer that whatever you learn today opens up options you may have in the future.  Besides, I have this impression that Spanish is widely spoken in the Americas and I just learned from a Filipino friend of mine that his country was under the Spaniards for 400 years!  If this new experience hasn’t opened up new options for me yet, it has certainly opened up new conversation topics.  Did you know that Spanish is the world’s second most-spoken language by native speakers after Mandarin Chinese?

I told my boss that I have a Wednesday class in town so that any travel plan in the near future can hopefully be scheduled according to my constraint; I told my team that I am learning Spanish so that they know I have a life and won’t expect me to OT on work that never ends.  My boss sounded supportive and he told me that learning a new language is good to give our brain cells a good workout.  Great!  I think my first lesson was more than a workout.  I was exhaustively euphoric.

Anna is an interpreter by day, Spanish teacher by night and she is a fun person full of laughter.  Las LiLas School specializes in teaching Spanish language at various levels and the learning environment is OK.  I wish the classroom could be more colorful.  Having some refreshments inside the room would have been nice.  Next time I shall bring along my bottle of water and some snacks as well.

I guess all good language lessons begin with hi-how-are-you, what’s-your-name, and I’m-so-and-so.  Spanish language seems to have three extra alphabets ll, ch, and ñ, which is pretty funky.  Cynthia’s mother tongue is Bahasa Indonesia – a language with a certain level of Dutch influence – and she didn’t find the i-pronounced-as-e and e-pronounced-as-a confusing.  That alone confuses the heck out of me.  Fortunately, I am trained in pronouncing the tongue rolling ‘R’ sound of the Indonesian and the throat vibrating ‘R’ sound of the French, I am doing OK with the Spanish ‘G’, ‘J’, and ‘R’ that utilize both techniques.  ‘Y’ in Spanish is pronounced as ‘Y Griega’ (literally means letter Y from the Greek).  Some of these alphabets sound almost like a word to me.  When I was asked to spell out my name, I flipped.  The alphabet ‘W’ is pronounced as ‘Uve Doble’.  Although I seem to be able to get the rest of the tough alphabets right, ‘Uve Doble’ is one tough nut for me.  You know the Spanish dance genre Paso Doble?  It is the same ‘Doble’.  Why English calls ‘W’ double-U?  I don’t know.  Spanish calls it double-V.

Ah … all these confusions.  Thanks to the Tower of Babel.

Oops, exceeded 500 word count for this entry.  Stay tuned for more stories on How I Flunk My Spanish Test.

38 thoughts on “¡Hola! ¿Cómo Te … Erm … What? – Our First Spanish Lesson at Las LiLas School”

  1. i know some spanish…

    te llamas la cucaracha!

    find out the meaning after you’re proficient enough..

    (my friend learned spanish and taught me some things)

  2. Wow! Great that you are learning Spanish! Haha… I am staying tuned till Sep on the reason why you joined Cyn for Spanish lesson. Btw, the only spanish I know is gambas, chorizo etc. Haha.

  3. Wanted to officially thank you for accompanying me in realising one of my dreams in life. And don’t worry, none of us will flunk.

    I promise to fulfill my end of the bargain in September or whenever it is. Hopefully with as much zest and enthusiasm as you have shown.

    Thank you.

  4. Tigerfish – I don’t know about you but I think I still have lots to work on for my English language … ha ha ha.

    And I have forgotten how to write Chinese! How sad right?

  5. JT – You are way better than me! I don’t think I know any Spanish words at all prior to the lesson. Zero.

    It’s a brave new world out there!

  6. Cynthia – Eh … don’t need to thank me. Just make sure you continue to take down notes during the lesson. I spend each day taking down notes and happy that I can sit down and day dream instead 🙂

  7. ECL – Spanish sexy meh? The class is on Wednesday. You haven’t missed much. Still can join us. I am sure Cynthia can give you a private lesson to get you started. Ha ha ha.

  8. Wow! It sure sounds interesting!
    It’s so coincidental that people in my life are all taking my new languages just as I thought about learning either Japanese or French!
    But I am really bad so…….

    I liked your parting shot – I am sure you won’t fail! Staying tuned!

  9. G – Really? There must be a learn-a-new-language virus flying around. Same as the recent everybody-getting-married virus.

    I don’t know … learning a new language is really … hard!

  10. Spanish! Hell yeah it’s sexy! But I find learning a new language pretty tough. I can’t even hold a proper conversation in Bahasa Indonesia and I have been living here for months! Sheesh…

  11. Darkspore – Oh man, tell me about it. Things that we do for our partners …

    Take a Bahasa Indonesia class while you are there. I took one back then and it benefits me till today whenever I visit Indonesia / Malaysia.

  12. If I knew I will end up staying for so many months I would have taken a crash course at the start, but not now. It’s been fun though, sending nonsense IMs to my Indonesian colleagues in bahasa Indonesia. I think they get a kick out of pointing out my mistakes.

  13. hello hi, i have just finished my spanish lessons at Las Lilas as well. Its quite cool but unfortunately this doesnt mean that I could be so proficient enough to even blog an entire entry in spanish.

  14. Si Ying – You did finish the lessons?! Cool thing. I seriously not sure if I can last the 10 sessions. I spent 2 hours last night trying to practice and do the exercises. It’s tough! And I was working on lesson 1.

    I don’t think I have the expectation of being able to blog an entry in Spanish. That would be very hard ya?

  15. Yap I did finish all the lessons. It was easier for me maybe come 3rd, 4th lessons. Then it became so complicated when it comes to verbs.

    But it seems quite fun, makes me feel as if i am an alien understanding an alien’s language- I was in frankfurt airport for transit and they were making an announcement in spanish. I was trying to understand the message haha.

    Ya I dont think I can do it though I tried haha!

  16. Si Ying – OK, onto the 2nd lesson and most of us in the class think that it is pretty tough. Looks like it will only get worse … ha ha ha.

    But, you are right. It is a fun activity. Maybe you shall continue with the lessons and who knows? One day you may be able to blog in Spanish.

    I am pretty sure it is not that hard right?! Let’s see …

    … OK, it is hard … ha ha ha.

  17. Haha I am thinking of continuing the lessons yet on the other hand there seems to be other things that I am interested also (like tailoring, oil painting) or other things that seem more practical (haha) such as continuing my CFA. Also it seems more fun that you have companion in class- I dont. But you did catch the Summer Rain movie? I couldnt because I had work and I only realised of the movie through a rather late email from this spanish yahoo group that I signed up to. I hope I can find the show somewhere online though. You know of any websites/sources that I can get to know about more spanish movies/shows?

  18. Si Ying – You like to do oil painting too. Time for me to pick that up again.

    There is one Spanish film called “Under the Same Moon” now showing in GV Singapore. You may wish to check out if it is showing in your location? I usually visit the websites of the local cinemas in a regular basis.

  19. haha i would love to but i have never done it actually. whenever i go home from work i will walk pass this art gallery at raffles city shopping mall and see those wonderful paintings and think that if i am not out there working i would have choosen to be a painter (but whether i can get by being one is another matter haha).

    oh woo maybe i should do it but after watching batman yday i realised that i might have claustrophobia & lygophobia- a little i supposed). i dont really feel at east/comfortable in a cinema and have always been watching shows online (haha!) but thanks for the recommendations!

  20. Si Ying – To tell you the truth, I have the similar sentiment whenever I see those great artwork. During the time when I was crazy over oil painting, I used to “see” color. As in, paying attention to how colors are defused onto one another and how each object may have different shade of colors along the surface.

    Oh, if you are not entirely comfortable watching a film inside a theatre, I am pretty sure the DVD of these foreign films will be out in no time. Some can be borrowed from our libraries too!

  21. Haha I can relate to how “you used to see colours”- I would arrange the clothing I have by colours and I love seeing a whole box of colour pencils. And I always imagine/wish I could be overseas sitting by a river or lake painting all day.

    Yap heard that Esplanada library has a wide collections of foreign films. I should stop being lazy and tired haha

  22. Si Ying – Ah, I thought I was the odd one out. It is interesting that how painters are conditioned to see so much more details when it comes to colors.

    Me too wish that I could paint by a backdrop of nature. The closiest I can get is to paint the sky and the view of the reservoir from my living room.

  23. I guess perhaps people like us who love such stuff are more sensitive to colours.

    Sometimes I look at scenery and imagined how it would appear in a oil painting. Why not paint another picture of the same view and see if there is any difference with the 07 painting you have done? Ever since I left school I hardly play with paints. The most I do would be making cards for occasions with colour pencils (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jusmesy/sets/72157601308360591/)

    Before I get too carried away with all the “things I wish I am doing”, I have a presentation later this afternoon haha.

  24. Si Ying – Wow, you certainly love to make cards. Your family and friends must be very lucky to have so many handmade cards from you for every single occasions!

    Actually you have certainly inspired to paint the same view differently. How come I haven’t thought about it. Maybe next time when the sky pours and the cloud comes down, I shall attempt to oil paint an emotional piece.

    Thanks for the chat though and … good luck with your presentation!

  25. Ya I like to play with different materials and colours and there seems no better way to do so by indulging in these small projects. But definitely finding harder and harder to be able to be creative and explore with different ideas when workload increases.

    Yap I would love to see you drawing another piece of the view from your house.

    =) Actually I remembered reading your blog quite some time ago and now I am back again. Enjoy your writing too. Thanks! Will let you know how the presentation goes 🙂

  26. Si Ying – Ah, welcome back. I enjoy reading yours too 🙂 Stay in touch.

    PS. I’ll try to pick up oil painting again … my supposedly new bottle of turp is drying up again!

  27. Am glad to be back reading again. Yes, its easy these days to stay in touch by reading each other’s updates via the blog. The presentation went fine, jus that I was on the process of convincing myself to move on.

    Thats great! Share with us your paintings =)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.