Before our current trip to Mexico the last time I was in Mexico was in January of 2007. I wasn't posting pictures to my blog back then but if you would like to read about the trip the posts start here. On that trip I spoke zero Spanish. I relied on Duke. He is a fluent Spanish speaker. The trip was so much fun that I resolved to start learning Spanish. I started to work on learning in fits and starts. I've made quite a bit of progress in my Spanish learning and I am excited about the opportunity this trip provides for me to actually use and improve my Spanish.
I plan to use my blog posts to chronicle my progress and my experience trying to use the Spanish I have learned. Duke and I crossed the border yesterday and today was the first day I have been out of the car and able to try speaking Spanish. I've spoken to a few waiters and made small take with people in elevators. I'm understanding quite a bit and surprisingly people understand me when I say things like hace calor (it's hot) :-) In any case I am having fun
If you are interested here are some of the resources I have used to learn some Spanish on my own, (or I should say with help from Duke.)
Coffee Break Spanish and Showtime Spanish from the radio Lingua Network. I have found these podcasts to be fantastically useful. Coffee Break Spanish consists of 80 lessons of 15-20 minutes each starting at the very beginning.
Showtime Spanish is for improving listening skills. I can definitely tell that I am improving when I compare how much I understood a few years ago and how much I understand now. I've even managed to learn two jokes that I can tell in Spanish.
There is premium content available for these podcasts but so far I have not purchased it.
Fluid in Three Months is a blog written by Benny Lewis which I find really inspiring and interesting. Benny made me realize that I have to actually speak Spanish in order to learn to speak Spanish. I purchased his language hacking guide and like it. He also made realize there is no point in worrying about sounding foolish. So I am just diving in.
Lang-8 is a web site where you can write in your target language and have native speakers of the language correct your writing. I think you have to be a member to see my Spanish journal but if you sign up my user name is MarionV.
Flashcards Deluxe is a great flashcard program that I use on my iPod Touch but of course you can use it on a smart phone too. I set it to repeat the words that I am having problems with. I created some of my own decks and I also downloaded some public decks that are available.
When I have grammar questions I usually find the answers in The Ultimate Spanish Review and Practice .
When I first started learning I worked my way through the exercises in Madrigal's magic Key to Spanish. I liked it a lot. The only down side was that it doesn't teach the familiar forms of the verbs but it does make learning easy.
Duke and I joined the Reno Newcomers Club Spanish group which has been very helpful.
We are in Vera Cruz tonight and will be here tomorrow night too. I'll write a post more about our travels and what we are seeing tomorrow. This is the view from our hotel room overlooking the main square.