Previously I had made the challenge to all of you to find a native Spanish speaker to practice speaking your Spanish with. This is just one of the responses I received from Nicole in Oregon who took the challenge:
I just came in from doing exactly what you challenged us to do. I live in a predominately Spanish-Speaking apartment complex in Oregon. Today, I went outside and began to converse with some of my neighbors. They were very interested to speak with me (one even asked if he could wash my car) and were extremely helpful with words I did not understand. Most of them even knew a little bit of English. I hope others will have a similar experience.
Thank you very much for your reply Nicole!
Now, for this week’s topic…
As many of you have already heard, I had lived in Latin America for two years among Spanish speakers. During that time, I was able to live in the Dominican Republic for about three months. It is a large island in the Caribbean that is located between Cuba and Puerto Rico. All three of these large islands are just off of the Florida coast with Cuba being the closest to Florida. The Dominican Republic shares the island with the country of Haiti where they speak Haitian Creole.
Anyway, when I was living in “la República Dominicana” (the Dominican Republic) I lived for a time in a city named La Romana. Generally most of the people that we visited in La Romana lived in small homes made with cardboard walls that were supported with only a few pieces of wood. Metal roofs were also placed on top of the homes to keep off the heavy rains.
As I would meet people in La Romana, they would inevitably ask me where I was from since I often stood out with my blond hair. I would tell them that I was from Utah and they would ask, “Where is Utah?” I would then explain that it was located in the western part of the U.S. Then they would look at me as if a light had suddenly turned on in their heads and they would say, “So, what part of New York is that?” I would then try to clarify that Utah was another state just like New York and that it takes about 4 or 5 days driving time to get from New York to Utah. They would then look at me, with a somewhat puzzled expression, and ask “So then Utah is a suburb of New York?” I would then again try to explain that Utah and New York were both different states that exist within the United States. They would then look at me with a disbelieving look — as if I might be trying to trick them.
I do not think I was ever truly successful in helping anyone in La Romana or the Dominican Republic really grasp what or where Utah was located. Perhaps the closest I came is when I would tell them about the Utah Jazz basketball team. They would then exclaim “Oh yeah, I’ve heard of them!” (of course their response would be in Spanishe).
If you newsletter subscribers from New York maybe wonder why there are so many Dominicans there, now you know! — To many of them, New York IS the United States, and places like Utah are just small”suburbs” of New York.
To change topics for just a moment, I would like to take the chance to thank all of you newsletter subscribers who have purchased our Visual Link Spanish™ course! From the many, many positive responses we have received, I am sure you are enjoying the course and learning a lot. Remember to tell your friends and co-workers about it and about spanishprograms.com! If you currently do not have the Spanish course, you may order it in only a few clicks at: www.spanishprograms.com/store.htmLearn Spanish, Spanish Culture, Spanish Words