Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Full steam ahead on Spanish at the Carolina Bookstore

One of the activities that has taken up much of our time these 3 months is heading to the Carolina Bookstore to talk with friends and to attend Spanish classes (Harold, 5 times a week for an hour each; Julie, twice a week for one and a half hours). No, we are not fluent, but we can get along and read a newspaper (dictionary in hand).

Carolina Bookstore on Hermano Miguel and Calle Larga
First, a bit about the Carolina Bookstore, owned by Carol and Lee, a couple who hail from North Carolina. Lee was a college English professor, who left the profession to head to Cuenca with his wife Carol. When asked why they named it “The Carolina Bookstore,” their response was that it sounded better than “Tarheel Bookstore.” The Bookstore is a hangout for gringos, especially new ones, because Carol and Lee know most everything about the area. People go to them for help on finding apartments, houses, where to eat, etc.
The bookstore is also a hangout for people learning Spanish. Before and after classes, gringo language learners will sit around the table downstairs, have coffee (offered free), chat, hook up to computers, read the Miami Herald or the El Mercurio, and talk about Spanish and events in Cuenca and the surrounding area.
Harold checking out local events in the local paper, El Mercurio before his Spanish class starts
Harold and Bill, his classmate, chatting before class
 Spanish lessons are offered in the classrooms upstairs, with Lee himself teaching several classes, and with Sonia, a young Ecuadorian woman teaching others. Sonia was our teacher, and she is fabulous.
our classroom

Harold and Sonia, his wonderful teacher

Harold, Bill and Sonia ready to work 

Julie and Sonia before their last class

Deborah and Gil with Sonia, right before their class starts, along with Julie, who is in the corner taking the picture!  The four of them had great fun together in class, and Deborah and Gil have become good friends.  

We have also vowed to become fluent by next year – wherever we go
(and we expect it will be to a Spanish-speaking location).

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