Today marked a milestone in our language learning. We left this morning (before language school) to wait in line at the immigration office to get our updated censo (the last step before getting our "cedula").
The cedula is an important document; it allows us all the rights and privileges of an Ecuadorian citizen with the exception of being able to vote and run for office (not one of our aspirations!).
When we first arrived at the immigration office -- three weeks ago -- we could hardly say the word "hola" without stuttering. But today we reached a milestone...we not only understood everything the officer said, we were able to answer all his questions to his satisfaction. We walked out of the office with our new censos in hand!
I wish I could say that it is always the case...fluent Spanish, but it is not. The other day, Mark went into Sukasa (think: Crate and Barrel in the States). He went up to one of the associates and said, "Quisiera una tostada por favor!" The clerk's smile turned into a grin as he led us to the toasters. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Spanish words that are similar in sound, but with totally different meanings. The Spanish word for "toaster" is "tostadora." If Mark had been at Taco Bell, he would have been correct!
At the end of the day, we count it a privilege to have made mistakes...it's the only way to really learn a language. Some of the biggest mistakes we made in Italy -- while learning Italian -- still keep us laughing. Mark has his own way of learning a language and I have mine. Although we learn differently, we always celebrate the milestones.
Today our Spanish professor was sick and we had a free day so we went to "el centro" and celebrated with "helado" (ice cream) and Mark bought me two dozen roses at the flower market. Later we walked to Parque Calderon and met up with friends.
Part of the journey of living in another country is celebrating the milestones along the way (and never taking yourself too seriously!).
Until next time...hasta luego!
Consuelo y Marco
living and retiring in ecuador, language learning, Cuenca, Ecuador