La Vista De Un Volcan- Where My Spanish Life Began

…Arriving at Calle Candelaria “Onze Ah” at 1AM, merely 5 days ago, I awoke dear Margarita from her slumber uttering my practiced to a pulp Spanish speech “¡Muchas gracias senorita, estoy muy emocionado vivir aqui con usted!”  As the sun had set long before my arrival, I was not able to recognize the beauty of the land around me, while shadows and outlines of topography forecasted the grandiosity of the countryside, its hues and relationship to its community I waited ‘til morning to appreciate. 

A walk up to the terrace, the third floor of this simplistic Anitguan home, and oh! how the night deceived me.  Surrounding me, encapsulating me was the richness that defines Guatemala.  Hills jutted up around me as their seed planted the night before, rainfall growing wonders of geography for the people to love, to see the world from a higher view.  And then in front of me, how glorious a sight to see, all 12,000 feet of Volcan Agua.  It stared back at me as if to say, “Yes, this is what life is all about.”

 

The view that life is all about

What was once five days ago has since become two and a half years ago, but the lucidity and placidity of that first impression have never waned in the oft-ephemeral nature of experiential memory.  Quite the contrary in fact, which explains why I am now almost right where I was then, as close as I can be to the indescribable charm and vivifying spirit of the Guatemalan culture, y la fortuna de su idioma, a Spanish that tickles the ear drums in its light richness and soft vigor.  Like Bogart could never escape Bergman, so too it seems clear that the Latin American lifestyle will follow me wherever I may roam (we’ll always have Antigua). 

Me and my saxophone

My name is Adam Tutor, and as I embrace this newly realized fate of the Spanish language and myself, I thought it best to share it with you all (perhaps slowly starting to embrace this yourselves, but don’t bro-hug it or even give it a passionate high-five.  No, you gotta hold it tight and twirl it to the sensual sways of some salsa, vale?).  Working alongside Homeschool Spanish Academy (HSA), I’ll be acting as the official blogger, sharing my impressions as I experience the courses here firsthand, and connecting ya’ll (forgive my Texan, but it’s alright if I call ya’ll ya’ll, right?) with a personalized look at the multifarious futures available through the kaleidoscopic lens of la cultura Latina, inextricably connected with the Spanish tongue.

 

As you may have guessed, the relationship that has been more off than on for the past two and half years (I left Spanish for the tougher, less swarthy Ukrainian during my Peace Corps service there) began with my decision to travel to and work in Antigua, Guatemala, within the organizational core of The Scheel Center (at the time led by founder and CEO of HSA Ron Fortin).  In the months prior to my departure, I spent a few hours here and there with my girlfriend studying the still mind-boggling differences between ser and estar, less romantic moments with the voices through my Rosetta Stone, and even spent some time with native Spanish speakers at an ESL center in downtown San Antonio.  Yet of course, as any warrior shows his true colors in battle and not in monotonous drills, this could not have prepared me for what would happen next- mi vida en Antigua.

 

Ron and myself after jamming on our saxophones together in Antigua.

While I also had time to travel to many of Guatemala’s infamous volcanoes and geographic marvels, the greatest gift I received during my time in this country was the opportunity to grow amongst the people (especially the youth) of Guatemala.  Working as a volunteer, I was able to harness what little Spanish I possessed (and it was little, recall my lack of any formal training) and utilize it efficiently enough to collaborate with teachers and students of the Scheel Center in order to establish their first ever school newspaper, “Tiempos del Centro Scheel”.   Anywhere and everywhere I went I did my best to throw myself into the language, offering whatever fumbling phrase I could force out most fluidly.  The results were humbling to me, but exciting to friends around me who claimed “If you had my knowledge of Spanish and I had your confidence, we would knock this city dead!”

Words like this, uttered through my first experience in a non-English speaking country, instilled a confidence in me that has never faltered since in any of my travels across this vast globe, and I am so thankful for this.   Upon my return from the Peace Corps I realized that not only was I missing the ability to speak in another language with someone, but that I was missing out on something much greater.   With over 40% of the population of San Antonio currently speaking Spanish, and with a projected 70% of households speaking a language aside from English by 2020, it is quite clear to me that there is no sense trying to beat ‘em (why would I want to, they are so friendly) so I joined ‘em!

 

A proud photo with the students of our first newspaper,
“Tiempos del Centro Scheel”

 

Currently I am spending all my time in the book stores in the “Spanish for Dummies” section, have enrolled myself in some local Spanish courses (aside from those I will be embarking upon with HSA), and will in a month’s time be headed down to Chachapoyas, Peru to teach English as a Foreign Language and immerse myself in the Spanish language.  There is no denying this to be an investment that seems not only practical from a fiscal standpoint (research shows that bilingualism literally adds dollars to your paycheck), but from a cultural standpoint as well, demonstrating respect for the culture that has become a key ingredient in America’s melting pot.  So no need to try and stir it up any longer, I’m already in and the water’s warm!  ¡Viva la vida española!

 

One more reason to live the Spanish life!

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