Here there be dragons...

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Spanish Boot Camp

So with all the excitement of the new job, I somehow neglected to acknowledge this year's Spanish Boot Camp!   lol but I did it, and it was way better than anticipated, so I feel like it deserves its own blog post.  In English, cause, well, the focus of boot camp was speaking not writing and zero people who read this (that I'm aware of) also speak Spanish.  

So yeah - the first week of March I had off of school.  I had really hoped to find another Spanish school to attend this year (like in Costa Rica 2 years ago) but alas, COVID.   So being completely implausible, I decided to find a way to do this at home.  Tricky given that this is an entirely English speaking area and still on lockdown.

So I scoured the internet for Spanish boot camp, and even reached out to the Spanish school I attended in Oakville last year to see if they had anything.  Alas they did not, and the Internet failed me completely *sigh*.  Lots of boot camp, all of it in person, none of it offered this year.  Fail.

I was considering maybe just booking a TON of lessons on Italki, but that was going to get very expensive very quickly.   And part of the point is to talk to *other* people, so I didn't just want a ton of lessons with the teacher I usually work with.  If nothing else, I know he doesn't correct accent, and I've been informed mine is atrocious, so I wanted help with that.

But then I stumbled upon BaseLang -- which offers unlimited Spanish lessons for a monthly subscription price.  AND the first month is a refundable trial.   hmmmm okay.   The price is higher than I currently pay for lessons, but if I were actually taking advantage of the unlimited - there are definite possibilities there.

So I signed up a little over a week before my boot camp was to begin.  And I did a couple lessons in that week to learn how it worked and understand the system.  Long story short, I was less than impressed and did cancel my subscription well before the month was up.  And there was no hassle about a refund so all good.  I'll give it a legit review in its own post in the next day or two.

BUT what it was actually great for was boot camp!!!   Lol.   In that week I spent more than 10h speaking with 11 different people in Spanish, more than half of whom had no English.  About half were from Venezuela (where the company is located), some in Colombia, one each from Argentina, Guatemala, and Ecuador.  Honestly though, my ear isn't good enough to tell the different accents.  All of them were super positive and friendly, although I would say of them all, only two of them actually taught.  The rest were more like conversation partners.  But for what I wanted it was great.   There was only one I really struggled to understand and I truly feel that was at least partially cause he mumbled the whole time.  But I was really pleased that I could carry on a number of conversations with a ton of different people - and while there were definitely awkward moments and a ton of errors, I could at least understand and be understood.  It was a HUGE confidence boost!   

Individually - two people stood out.  There was one woman who I just had a blast chatting with -- every lesson just flew by.  She seriously could've been my new almost-best friend.  lol she even likes dragons!  I met her fairly early on and got to chat with her most days and actually really miss it now.  But she works two jobs so I def don't want to take her outside-of-work time.   One of the other women was definitely the best Spanish teacher I've had to date.  Alas, she doesn't teach outside of Baselang and the way their system works (see my review post when I get around to writing it ;)) I wouldn't be able to get enough lessons with her to make it worthwhile.

But yeah - I had the small talk thing down, was able to explain my background and what I was trying to accomplish, and with some teachers had some amazingly random conversations that I completely loved.  Mixing and matching tenses to create real grown-up sentences, and sometimes using really creative descriptive vocabulary to get around the fact that I didn't know whatever really simple word I was looking for.  lol but it worked.   And was part of the reason I looked specifically for teachers who didn't speak English - so I couldn't cheat.

So it was amazing, my listening and conversation skills definitely improved, and I was super excited.  BUT - two weeks later back to my usual schedule, I feel like I've completely regressed *sigh*   Had a lesson today and I couldn't find any of the words I needed :(    So sad.  BUT that rate is also unsustainable.  2h/day for 5 days - by the end I was done.  Like really done.   Exhausted and just not into any more.  lol  I feel like there's a happy medium - like maybe 1/2h/day would be better - and after I'm done my MBA it's something I might consider trying again. But as long as that's a part of my life, there aren't enough hours to make good use of it.

So yeah - that was my boot camp adventure this year.  Not nearly as exciting as Costa Rica for sure, but arguably a LOT more conversation and faster advancement (although to be fair, I'm also two years farther along now so more capable).  As for Baselang, it has a lot of potential, but just too many things that really annoyed me for now.

Hopefully next year I can try actual immersion again.  We shall see...


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