Vocabulary Pockets

Now that I have been living in Peru for almost one full year, I can say from personal experience that living somewhere is the best way to learn a language. It's not simply because you are surrounded by the sounds and forced to speak, but because you learn practical vocabulary you most likely wouldn't learn in a classroom.

Since I began teaching, I have learned an array of classroom vocabulary that I would never have learned if I wasn't surrounded by six year olds all day.

"Miss, can you sharpen my pencil?"
"Well, what happened is that he pushed me and threw a toy at me."
"Miss, my stomach hurts. My head hurts. My throat hurts. My leg is bleeding. My arm itches."

I have been going to yoga classes for several months and finally feel like I have mastered all of the vocabulary. Now I can be in class and focus on yoga without focusing so much on understanding the teacher. Through yoga I learned less obvious body parts: hips, jaw, shoulders, elbow, wrists. Things I learned years ago in school but had no practical use for, so I forgot them. I have also learned movements such as: bend and flex.

The most recent vocabulary circle I am exploring is anything related to renting an apartment. As I begin to search for a new place I am learning the following words: hardwood floors, carpeted floors, remodeled, balcony, guarantees and location.

Apartment hunting is hard enough, now I am apartment hunting in my second language. Alvaro's sweet mom has taken on the role of helping me and she makes decisions in a flash. She knows whether or not she likes the apartment before we walk into the building. When we leave an apartment, she asks my opinion with a strong sense of urgency. Take my improving-but-not-quite-yet-fluent Spanish skills, mix them with my extreme indecisiveness and you have a very panicked Meghan. This panic helps though, when I'm panicked my Spanish flows from some subconscious part of me and as the words tumble from my lips I realize, "Oh, hey, I'm actually learning."

Conquering one vocabulary pocket at a time.