One reason I chose to come to Honduras was to practice my Spanish. Sounds like there would be plenty of opportunities to do that here, but it’s still a challenge. As in many other places I’ve traveled, I am surrounded by English speakers. The couple who live upstairs from my room and own the property are American. The volunteers are from the US, UK, Finland, Germany, Austria, Israel, France, Italy, and Brazil. English is our common language. I do get to practice my Spanish in class, but I’m really here to help the students learn English, so the more Spanish I speak with them the less English they’ll learn. At restaurants, every server wants to practice their English. So, I have to challenge myself to speak with people I wouldn’t normally speak to. I’m not good at starting conversations with strangers in English, so it’s definitely a challenge to so in Spanish.
The other day, I ventured into the “city” alone by taking a yellow school bus there for the 30-minute ride. I did speak Spanish with several shopkeepers, but when I entered the tourist office everyone wanted to speak English with me. On the way back, the bus was packed and a tall Honduran kid squeezed into the seat next to me (I thought the short seats on my side were single seats, but they all filled up). I did chat with him off and on; he was polite, but not very talkative. The good news is that I am mostly understanding people. I just need to speak more. I did order a meal over the phone, and phone conversations in another language are always a challenge. And I’ve had one local person tell me that my Spanish is good.
One thing that will definitely help is the Study Buddies program of the Honduras Child Alliance. Once a week, I will meet with my tutor, Carlos. He is just finishing high school and attends our adult English class. The plan is that he will teach me Spanish for 45 minutes, and I will teach him English for 45 minutes. We’re off to a great start and I couldn’t ask for a friendlier tutor. I will write more about the adult classes in another post.
So, I’ll do my best to rise to the challenge. I’m counting on my commenters to remind me to step outside my comfort zone and start conversations with strangers.
Paula M Agins
July 7, 2016 at 06:07
I love waking up to your posts! I can’t imagine you not stepping out of your comfort zone! You are doing it as I write. Looking forward to more posts and pictures.
July 12, 2016 at 00:29
They’re coming! It’s been incredibly busy here but I have a lot of drafts of posts. Uploading photos takes forever; still working on a good system for that. Thanks for reading, Paula!
July 7, 2016 at 06:23
As always Tim an excellent post.. and as far as stepping out of your comfort zone I think you have always done that and you really make it look effortlessly
July 12, 2016 at 00:30
Thank you, Anne! I’m trying.
Lynne (jolly) pinto
July 7, 2016 at 07:08
I think you are amazing! You’ve stepped out of your comfort zone just by traveling out of the country.
July 12, 2016 at 00:31
I had great cousins as role models! Thanks for commenting, Lynn!
July 7, 2016 at 07:09
Good to read your post Tim. I agree you do make it seem easy to step out of your comfort zone, but it’s wonderful that you do. I still find it hard to step out of my comfort zone. What a wonderful opportunity. I’m glad you have a study buddy and you get to practice your Spanish. Just travelling on the yellow bus would be a feat. I love hearing about your day and seeing the pictures. Love Linda n Conrad
July 12, 2016 at 00:31
It’s always good to read your comments!
July 7, 2016 at 07:15
Oh Tim! You are the poster child for stepping out outside of one’s comfort zone! Love how you get to be a teacher and a student! Enjoy!
July 12, 2016 at 00:33
July 7, 2016 at 08:14
Hablas muy bien espanol. Sigue asi mi amigo.
July 12, 2016 at 00:34
Gracias, amiga. Debemos practicar el espanol en los pasillos del colegio.
July 7, 2016 at 09:34
You’re kind face and calming voice will transcend any language barrier. So enjoy hearing about your experience! Looking forward to the next post
July 12, 2016 at 00:36
Thank you, Gail. I’m working on many next posts – hopefully publishing more soon.
July 7, 2016 at 10:29
You are really challenging yourself to be a learner and to experience everything. How great is that-living like to the fullest every day! I hope I get a chance to do something like this someday! You are such a wonderful writer and I am thinking back to our adult “Teachers as Writers” classes years ago after school. I can hear your voice! Enjoy it all!
July 12, 2016 at 00:39
And I still remember the story about your brother (the funny title with his name spelled backward). Well, I almost remember it. I am sure you will do your own form of a year abroad someday soon!
July 7, 2016 at 20:24
Good luck in your quest to speak Spanish in Latin America Tim 🙂
July 12, 2016 at 00:39
July 11, 2016 at 11:30
I’m proud of you my friend! Just keep talking:)
July 12, 2016 at 00:44
July 12, 2016 at 10:16
I just caught up with you. Thank you for sharing your trip with us all!! This may be the only way I’ll travel to many of the places you are heading!
Sounds like you are off to a great start!!
Stay safe, my friend…..and ENJOY!!!
July 15, 2016 at 01:03
Thanks for reading, Jo-Ann. Someday I’ll get you to travel!
July 13, 2016 at 06:58
Glad I had a minute to see how you were doing! You will do just fine talking with anyone. You have a lot to offer from a kind smile and great listening ear to all your adventures along the way. Enjoy your time. I look forward to reading more from Croatia (when there is time and wifi).
July 15, 2016 at 01:05
Yes, time and wi-fi can be difficult to come by when traveling. I’ll be reading your blog about your travels.
July 13, 2016 at 09:10
It’s so great to hear that you are enjoying this experience. You’re meeting so many volunteers from all over the world and getting to learn about so many cultures, not just the one in Honduras. The heat must be exhausting! The children are benefiting so much by your love for what you do and as a caring person and teacher. Can’t wait ti hear more.
July 15, 2016 at 01:09
Thanks, Diane! I’ve moved on from complaining about the heat to complaining about the mosquitoes. I have many battle scars, but they are reminders of fun times and rewarding work.
July 22, 2016 at 08:17
How cool that you have “bartered” for tutoring time. You’ve always been good at utilizing your resources!!
Safe Travels, C
July 25, 2016 at 14:31
It’s a great program set up by the organization. The tutors earn some money and practice their English.