Challenge yourself

We asked ourselves, “Why settle for staying in the same place, taking the same walk every day, living a routine life?” Yes, we could have done that until we drew our last breaths…But… It’s not over till it’s over. We saw so many opportunities ahead of us. Our decision was made: why not see the world? Why not challenge ourselves? We could meet new people, continue learning, and go places we never dreamed were possible for us to visit.

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A week in the Galapagos Islands with experienced guides was high on our list of things to do for many years. We can hardly believe it happened!

Planning complex travel to foreign places these last four years has been a huge – but rewarding – challenge. The funny thing is that it pales in comparison to our latest challenge, learning a foreign language in our senior years.

We studied languages in school (so many years ago, that too few words are remembered). We realized that if we planned to stay in South America for 7+ months, we really should try to learn some Spanish. We thought, maybe learn a few words and phrases. Later we realized that we could take classes once we got to our first Spanish-speaking country, Ecuador.

We talked about our expectations. Joe wanted to have conversations with people. Beth hoped to use anything she learned to “get by” – ordering in a restaurant, shopping in a market, catching a train.

We started Duolingo a year ago and have faithfully studied online every day – day-in and day-out. Now that we are in Cuenca, Ecuador, we started classes at the highly recommended Yanapuma Spanish School, a nonprofit organization.

One of our excellent teachers, Sol, at the Yanapuma Spanish School, eased us into a lengthy conversation (for us!) on day 1.

One of our excellent teachers, Sol, at the Yanapuma Spanish School, eased us into a lengthy conversation (for us!) on day 1.

Our vocabulary is still pre-school level. We struggle with speaking. OK, you’re now asking yourself, “Why are they bothering?” Because… It’s not over till it’s over. Slow as it is and, sometimes, painful as it is, we have improved and learned a lot in a year. Why not keep going?

At Yamapuma Spanish School, we’re learning with a fun session on getting to know names and tastes of fruits in the market.

At Yamapuma Spanish School, we’re learning with a fun session on getting to know names and tastes of fruits in the market.

Excellence will only come with a commitment to improvement. It’s something to think about no matter what your age.

 

May 2016

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Ecuador, South America - 2016 and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Challenge yourself

  1. I’m a strong believer that age is just a number, and even if we’re slower learners or have more difficulties getting around, I think we should be adventurous and try new things as long as we can possibly do so! Good luck learning Spanish and continuing to push yourselves. 🙂

  2. What a wonderful experience. Do you find you have less of an urgency in learning the language? It’s not for a job interview, an employment test, a degree requirement? PS – one last photo with the old hats – a very nice one! PSS – changing my blog to onesmallwalk, so my sign-off will read differently, but it’s still Susan.

  3. My sister and I studied French at private lessons for four years. I find I can read quite well but speaking is quite difficult. I just can’t pull the words I need out of my head fast enough. And I go completely blank if someone speaks to me in French. It’s been fun learning though. Well done to you both for your persistence.

  4. Cliff Mail says:

    usted tiene más paciencia que yo

  5. mftangent says:

    Thank you for sharing! It’s not over ’til it’s over..enjoy every minute!

  6. Tina Sumner says:

    Learning a language is difficult when you are older. We spent over eight months in Spanish speaking countries learning Spanish as we went. We never learned enough to hold an in depth conversation but could get by on the day to day very well. We had not realized how well we were speaking Spanish until we got to Indonesia and once again did not speak the language.

  7. eurekabits says:

    I love and subscribe to your philosophy, you have a new follower 🙂

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