February 13, 2013

Amauta Spanish School ~ No Jeem!

The Amauta Spanish School was a good experience. For Sherry, a writer, teacher and TESOL trained instructor, it was a great experience. And for me too, though my experiences were on a slightly different level.

Dirk from Hilversum in Holland

In my class there were two young lads from the Netherlands. Nice guys actually, though it will be a while until they start shaving, and they picked on me. As well, another older and more seasoned fellow, complete with hat, also from Holland, named Dirk (pronounced Deeerk). And there was a pleasant young woman from Switzerland, named Jennifer (pronounced Jennifer). Our teachers, Magali and Cesar, were both highly professional and generous.

The amazing Cesar. A wonderful teacher.

My classes began every morning with Cesar offering a greeting, and my reply always appropriate and welcomed. That was always a good start. However. Cesar would then offer a seemingly rambling  discourse, in Spanish of course, and turn to me, with an obvious, even to me, question ending in "...Jeem?"

This set into motion a response not always based on the actual question. Sometimes, it is wise to stick to talking points, an agenda, a script if you well. That might not be appropriate to language lessons. Of course if I could understand the question, my answer might have sounded just a bit more sensible, possibly even coherent. And Cesar's response to my answer would not have been, "No Jeem!" Followed of course by another mind-boggling bunch of Spanish.

There was the rather painful situation of being asked if I play sports. A simple enough question, to which I have a simple, one word answer, en espanol, "No." Alas, I thought we were talking about shopping of all things, so answered, quite well I thought at the time, and in my very best Spanish, "Oh yes, I buy groceries at Jumbo and at my local mercado, and I visit the farmacia for toothpaste and antihistamine." Cesar offered a slight pause and then, "No Jeem!" Followed by more confusing babble. In the end, and for reasons unclear to me now, I claimed to be the enforcer on a hockey team, which made the young lads from Holland treat me with a bit more respect.

Roberto and Sherry talk "tango"

And so, while Sherry was having conversations with tango instructors like Roberto, I was offering my very best "Si" response to nearly every question. Sometimes a "No" seemed to work too, though I will never know for sure. Either way, both responses always seemed to be met with, "No Jeem!"

I might have to repeat this class.

Photos by Jeem. Copyright 2013 by Jim Murray.

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