Gone Away / Tags
Contact Followers

Language

Embracing the suck

Embracing the suck

— For the past four weeks, every Monday at 10 am, I’ve started a new level of Spanish classes here in Mexico City. Monday has typically been, for me, the hardest lesson of the week as my brain struggles to adjust. This Monday was the first week of lessons at the intermediate level, which was an even bigger jump than previous weeks. There were eight students in my class. Instead of starting the day with a grammar lesson, we dug right into a reading comprehension and discussion exercise.
Cheap beer in Roma, Mexico City

Cheap beer in Roma, Mexico City

— Yesterday I decided to go out around 4 pm for my daily beer time. I walked down a nearby street and noticed a number of places had happy hour beer specials on Tuesdays and Wednesday, and some of them were dirt cheap. In particular, I ended up in a supposedly “Irish” pub where they were offering one-liter drafts of Dos Equis for 49 pesos. How can one go wrong? The thing about a ridiculously cheap beer is that it lowers the barrier to ordering another one.
First day of Spanish classes in Mexico City

First day of Spanish classes in Mexico City

— I looked at the exam questions with a blank stare for several minutes before realizing I was never going to write down anything if I kept trying to think of answers in English and then write them down in Spanish. Instead, I thought of anything I could in Spanish, and if it vaguely answered the question, I wrote it down. The director asked me a few questions in Spanish and then decided to place me in a beginner class that started last week.
If you’ve ever struggled with the gender of French nouns, take heart!

If you’ve ever struggled with the gender of French nouns, take heart!

— Last Saturday around midday, Kathryn and I were at the zoo here in Montpellier, and we found ourselves looking at the giraffes next to a French couple and their young children. I overheard the father saying to his children, “Les girafes sont beaux!” As soon as the words finished leaving his mouth, the mother corrected him, “Belles.” “Hein?” he grunted. “C’est une girafe,” she insisted. “Eh, ouais,” he said, now recognizing his grammatical error.
Earlier this week, I became a 47-year-old altar boy

Earlier this week, I became a 47-year-old altar boy

— Back around Christmastime, the priests at our parish started running announcements in the weekly bulletin, asking all males of any age to prayerfully consider becoming altar servers. Altar servers were in short supply, particularly for the weekday Masses. From time to time, I attend the 6:30 am Mass before heading to work, and I’d witnessed the altar server shortage on a number of occasions. In fact, not too long ago, there was no altar server available twice in the same week.
Foreign sources, redux

Foreign sources, redux

— A couple years ago, I wrote a lengthy blog post challenging my family, friends, and followers to seek out reputable foreign news sources in languages other than English. After yesterday’s circus in Washington, I think it’s more important than ever to repeat my challenge, especially since I haven’t seen any English-language coverage of the spectacle that’s even close to impartial. If you’d like a starting point, try this article in French from Le Figaro, a Parisian daily: <http: 01003-20180927artfig00325-le-juge-kavanaugh-confronte-a-son-accusatrice.
How to order coffee at McDonald’s in Phoenix

How to order coffee at McDonald’s in Phoenix

— I like drinking coffee. I enjoy eating fast food. I live in Phoenix. You might be inclined to think I’d be a master at ordering a cup of coffee in a local McDonald’s. You’d be mistaken. Years ago, it wasn’t such a challenge. I’d visit a McDonald’s and ask for a small coffee. I’d get a Styrofoam cup with brewed coffee. I’d then turn around and find the condiment station, which would have the creamers and sweeteners and those cool plastic stirrers with the arches on the handles.