¡Hola, Mauricio! ¡Hola, Amy!
That’s how it all starts in Lesson 1.1 of Rocket Spanish (affiliate link) — a few brief, polite greetings, and then an explanation of how the rest of the course will go. Starting with the second lesson, I learned that Amy and Mauricio were introduced by a mutual friend, and the conversation that spans several lessons begins with an encantado (enchanted) and a friendly kiss on the cheek. (All during the course of an introduction. I knew I liked Latin culture for a reason!)
In the first several lessons, Amy and Mauricio begin walking us through the common, conversational Spanish one might use when visiting a Latin country for the first time. (Chiefly Amy, since Mauricio speaks only Español.) In all honesty, some of the conversation confuses me, and I’ll explain why, and perhaps ask Lupita for some clarity, in a later post.
The second lesson, as I mentioned, saw Amy and Mauricio greeting each other as strangers, being introduced by a mutual friend, presumably at a party or other social function. (“Te presento a mi amigo, Mauricio.”) I learned that, while Mauricio is a native Spanish-speaker, Amy is still learning. They exchanged a few pleasantries beyond “hola” and “cómo estás”, after which Mauricio complimented Amy on her Español.
Oh, and we also learned that Amy was de los Estados Unidos (from the United States) and that Mauricio hailed from Chile. Oddly, they didn’t come back to this conversation until a few lessons later, taking a deviation to talk about coffee and photography first.
Café y Fotos
In lessons 1.3 and1.4, my new friends took this rather odd role-playing deviation from their aforementioned conversation, wherein they discussed ordering coffee and tea, and then Mauricio begged Amy to let him take a picture of her: “¿Puedo sacar su foto? Por favor ¡Por favor!” (I’m not sure, but something tells me Amy must be a beauty!)
The course definitely ventured into the tourist-Spanish area in those two lessons. Had I not taken a peek ahead and learned that it gets a lot more in-depth, I would have gotten discouraged. I’m in this to become fluent, after all, not to learn enough to visit Cancun, order a Piña Colada, and get caught in the rain, as pleasant as that all may be.
Don’t get me wrong, though. There was plenty of education in those 2 lessons beyond the proper terms for coffee, milk, and Polaroid. There were various expressions of “excuse me” (e.g., disculpe vs. perdón). Other common pleasantries that might be used in either spoken or written Spanish were also discussed. The titles señor, señora, and señorita were introduced. The very-important phrase (in any language) for asking for help was taught, too: Necesito ayuda.
Lessons 1.5 and 1.6 brought me back to the conversation we left. In fact, the entirety of the encantado exchange a few lessons back was repeated as a lead-in to the extension of the conversation. Amy and Mauricio began talking about why she was visiting the area. It was never stated where they were. I presumed Chile, but only because Amy’s traveling, and Chile is Mauricio’s home. Perhaps, though, they were both visiting somewhere new to them.
Mauricio got a little more personal in these lessons, starting with asking Amy whether she was de vacaciones (on vacation), and ending with asking for her phone number. Covered in between were details about profession, age, family details, and marital status. When Amy informs him that she’s single, the response is an exuberant ¡qué suerte! (What luck!)
The last (conversational) lesson in this series took us away from this conversation again and found Amy and Mauricio talking about travel plans: making it to the airport on time, and what time to catch a train. The conversation, I have to admit, begins moving at a more rapid pace in the lesson I listened to last night. It was as though Amy instructed Mauricio to take the training wheels off, and I could tell! Pero, está bien. I’m up to the challenge. Or, at least, that’s what Lupita keeps telling me. I hope she’s right.