Learn, Gale, Learn!!

By now I am 2/3 of the way done language school. (When I started writing this I was halfway done but then wordpress deleted the post while publishing it so frustration and procrastination got the best of me and it has now been over a week since that happened.)  Language school has been a wonderful experience so far.  I’ve met people from all over, made some new friends, gone on some cool excursions and learned a whole lot of Spanish.  I will be sad once it is over.  There is still so much more to learn!  But in just six short weeks I have come so far.  I can understand what people are saying way better then before and I can hold a conversation past just pleasantries.  I have been able to go into my bank and sign up for online banking, get internet set up in my apartment (with the help of my teammates) and ask for help from my neighbors and explain that I don’t have hot water and can’t get the butane heater to work.  All of which would have been impossible when I first arrived.  I knew that the only way I would ever learn a language is if I had to.  Well, now I have to and I’m actually doing it!  (slowly but still doing it) It is just like when I wanted to learn stick shift so I bought a manual car.  I knew that eventually I would learn because there was no other option. (not to say I was the most pleasant of students.  Sorry about that Mom!) Living with a Spanish family was great.  I got to know some other students were also staying there and eat a lot of traditional, Galego food.  My host mom, Marie Carmen was the sweetest lady and I hope I can continue to visit her while I live here in Santiago.  Every day I learn something new here and its exciting. 

Here are some other things I have learned thus far:

– That I can sweat just as much when its cold and rainy as when its hot and sunny (thanks coastal climate humidity!)

– That God has provided me with wonderful neighbors who don’t mind when I ask for help in broken Spanish and Mime (I’ve been told that is rare in Spain, not the miming, i see that every day from the street performers, but the helpful neighbors.  People are pretty private here)

– That Sherry stomachs are the bottomless pits I once believed them to be.  Thanks to Marie Carmen’s wonderfully delicious and rich lunches, where your portion could could feed three, I am shamed to say more often then not I could not clean my plate.  (I once thought the giant bowl of soup was my entire meal and the other plate she was making was for me and Gunther to share, until she gave us each our own giant plate of meat, potatoes and half a loaf of bread.  The soup was just the starter)

– That One tiny letter can make a BIG difference in the meaning of a word

– That I need to plan ahead.  Most everything shuts down here at 2pm for lunch and not everything reopens again.  Sundays and holidays/festivos also mean everything including grocery stores are closed.  It’s no fun to run out of TP the start of 2 consecutive days of Festivos.

– That telling time by the cathedral bells is cheaper then buying clocks.  Once you learn the system its great… unless you stop paying attention half way through or start counting too late.  Then you have to wait an hour to start again.

– The Spanish love to march, shout and sing.  Whether it be for a festival, protest, parade, or religious; I happened upon more here, on any given day, at any given time then anywhere I have ever been.  Its very entertaining and usually involves instruments, carrying a giant statue, shouting through a megaphone, traditional clothing or banners and flags.

A cultural dance performance in the plaza near my house

Me and My host mom, Marie Carmen


Out with some friends from school.

Marie, a fellow student and pilgrim. She walked 2,000 miles to Santiago. She filled 5 pilgrim passports with stamps!


my walk to school with my housemate Gunter or Gunty, as Marie Carmen called him 🙂

Apparently its ok to let your dog bath in the fountains


I love this stairwell. Its gorgeous


standing at the bottom of the three spiral staircases in the Galego Musuem









7 Responses to “Learn, Gale, Learn!!”
  1. Luke Sherry says:

    awesome post Gale. Nice work with the gale go/Galego pun.

    • litlfish18 says:

      Thanks Luke! I thought it was pretty clever 🙂 It can also be spelled Gallego but I choose to embrace the one L

  2. Peggy Joy (Nixon) Swope says:

    Hi Gale! It is so good to hear from you and to hear about your adventures in Santiago! It sounds as though you are quickly getting acclimated to “la vida gallega.” I would love to be able to come visit you while you’re there since Santiago is in one area of Spain that I have never visited! I am so proud of you – going to school to enhance your experience by learning conversational Spanish. Take advantage of every opportunity that is offered to you! Keep posting your photos! They make me want to pack my bags and return to Spain – it has been way too many years since my last visit! I am glad that you are finding helpful people to help you get settled. It sounds as though you have met some nice people of all ages! So Travis and Heather are back in the states? Where are they living? Is Travis going to be teaching this year? Well, enough questions! Keep enjoying life! Take care! Smiles, Senora Swope

    • litlfish18 says:

      Thanks Señora Swope!! You should definitely come to Santiago. I have a spare room so just let me know when 🙂 Travis is home now and its currently living with my parents while they look for jobs and such. I’m sure he would love to hear from you! Not sure if he’s going to be teaching or not. Right now he is writing for his travel blog where you can learn all about reward miles and traveling for cheap. extrapackofpeanuts.com

  3. amhughes01 says:

    Loved your post, Gale! Your “planning ahead” bullet made me laugh out loud because I experienced that a little when I was in France a few years ago. Except I had to starve. 🙂

  4. lil anton says:

    I LOVE helpful people! Isnt that awesome? The stories about your neighbors just warmed my heart. God is looking out for you! People are just great sometimes, yay for humanity! Good job God, haha. I think about you often Gale 🙂

  5. Hi, thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: