Reflecting upon the subjunctive mood & my eclectic Spanish class:
As a believer that teaching is about continuing to be a student yourself, I recently decided it was time for a spell of formal Spanish Instruction. Thankfully, Escuela Mexicana has taken me in…again. Two years ago, during my pioneer visit to Gto, I attended their classes for three weeks. I had a great experience with the instructors and felt really good about their pricing. If you or anyone you might know is interested in visiting Guanajuato, check out their website. It is great for individuals as well as for families.
This time around I have opted to take advantage of their private lessons. For the past three weeks, twice a week in the afternoon I have met with Vicente. Sometimes in the classroom and others in Bagel Cafetin, one of my favorite spots just down the callejon (alley).
Our lessons are conversations really, but guided by themes. At first he sort of sized me up and decided what “level” of Spanish I was operating at (At first I felt pretty darn good about myself because I was “intermediate to advanced/intermediate”….then he brought out a book for the Second Grade) so with ego in check, I am a solid second grader ready to proceed. Then told me the main areas we would need to work on immediately. Pronombres and….gulp, subjuntivo. Well, three weeks later and yes, I have learned a considerable amount about these necessary concepts, however, the class has taught me so much more…for example,
1. The deliciousness of the Pitaya fruit: A delicacy because, the pitaya cactus blooms only at night and only a few times each year. Pollination is done by nocturnal creatures such as moths and fruit bats rather than the more common pollinators of the day such as bees.
2. The Historical and Cultural Relevance of The Lucha Libre – SERIOUSLY INCREDIBLE! Spent two classes on this…I am blown away. (I might follow this up with a blog dedicated solely to this topic, it is that interesting…..)
3. The Arabic origin of the commonly used word (always to start a sentence including the subjunctive) “Ojalá”! Quite ironic that this translates roughly to the sentiment of “hopefully” but, more literally it translates to “God willing, or If God wishes it so”….After class I found a great list of Spanish words that also stem from the Kingdom of Castile and its Arabic Influence.
For all of you out there that have studied Spanish, you know the beast….Once you accept its exsistance and actually attempt to learn it, like kudzu, it sprawls and snakes itself at a rapid pace, throughout every conversation, and inner thought you wish that you could properly express. Seriously, I have been waiting, well, more like chomping at the bit to dive in. When you think about your average, daily conversations and evaluate how many ideas expressed are about your literal, tangible life and how many reside in the hypothetical realm, you might be surprised to find that we are all, more or less, living in a dream. A dream of what could have happened if…or what I might do when…or perhaps the most popular, If I were _____I would…
This dreamy dialogue expresses wishes for the future and regrets and excuses for the past, it offers gentle suggestions and advice and announces polite solicitations. Unlike English where a few words are used to express this “mood” in all tenses, Spanish is so full of uncertainty that it has multiple conjugations to cover all hypothetical speech in past, present and future. At any rate, this is a very necessary part of basic conversation and I have been aware of its absense so I am happy to be learning it (slowly) and practicing it as often as possible.
If I were you, I would look into taking classes at Escuela Mexicana. Seriously, as your friend, you should at least take a look at their website. I wish I could stop this non-sense, but I can’t…..