As I crossed from Argentina to Brazil, I think I am probably leaving the last Spanish-speaking country on my 100goals journey, as Brazil is mainly Portuguese-speaking.
I am really pleased with how my Spanish has improved. I am nowhere near fluent, and struggle a lot more than I do in French, but I can still get by in many exchanges without having to resort to English.
I was given a great computer-based Spanish course by Fipps in San Diego, and I have been working my way through lessons on the computer as often as I can. I also had some great one-on-one tuition from Andres while on Easter Island, and felt that I improved quite quickly there. But sometimes the best education is simply getting out and about in Spanish speaking places and trying to make yourself understood.
I have managed to make all sorts of food and drink purchases, arranged several taxi journeys, including haggling over the fare, got a vaccination for Yellow Fever, checked-in for several flights, including choosing a window seat, and arranged to have my laundry done, all in Spanish, without having to use the bail-out phrase, “Habla Ingles?” (Do you speak English?)
I also managed a fairly spirited discussion in Spanish with the policeman blocking our route to Machu Picchu, including offering a cash bribe, but didn’t manage to produce the desired result though!
As I wrote about my French-speaking goal, it is very hard to quantify when a goal such as this is complete, as there is always room for improvement! After all, I’m still working on improving my English at the age of 46.
But I certainly feel that I have fulfilled what I hoped to achieve with Spanish, and am able to get by in many situations, without relying on non-native English-speakers having to use my main language.
I do hope to continue to improve my Spanish over the coming years, but imagine this would be a lot easier to do if I chose to live in a Spanish country.
For now though, I am happy to class the goal as complete, and clear the decks for the last few remaining goals.
Gracias a todos por su ayuda con Desafío Número Setenta y siete.