A Temporary Home in Peru While I Try to Learn Spanish

cuzco peru churches plaza de armas 500

It’s cold and rainy in Cuzco, the city in the mountains of Peru I’ve been calling home off and on now for the better part of a month.  This is officially the longest amount of time I’ve spent in any city on my 5 months of travels and while it’s nice to be able to unpack a bit I must admit I have the itch to move on.

I originally landed in Cuzco as a jumping off point to hike the Inca Trail.  I allotted myself 5 days to acclimate to the altitude before starting the trek and I must say I need every bit of the 5 days.  Since I returned from Machu Picchu, I am finally taking the time to work on my Spanish.  Yes, I may come from Texas (most recently anyway) but to the surprise of everyone who asks me I don’t speak Spanish. 

I actually have no excuse for not being multilingual by now.  I do live in a part of the US where Spanish is very common.  On top of that I grew up with a bilingual mother, French, and took many years of French in school but it just never stuck.  So when I started my journey I knew that come hell or high water I would finally realize a goal to speak more than just English.

So how’s it going?  Not as well as I would have hoped.  I’ve been in Spanish speaking countries for 5 months now and the best I’ve achieved if survival Spanish.  I can generally get around, order at restaurants, haggle a bit in markets, and find lodging but I still haven’t reached the point where I can have a meaningful conversation with locals. 

So for the last couple of weeks I’ve moved into Cuzco, Peru and started daily Spanish classes to try to kick start my Spanish skills.  I am even paying up for accommodations these days, rather than staying in a typical hostel right now, both to get away from English speakers and to also have some private space to study.  I’m also enjoying having a TV right now which I think is actually helping me comprehend more Spanish.  There’s nothing better than watching American Pickers (Cazatesoros – or Treasure Hunters), Pawn Stars (El Precio de la Historia – or The Price of History), or Ancient Aliens (Alienigenas – or Aliens) all in Spanish and actually being able to understand some of it.

cuzco peru hostel amaru courtyard 700

While my two weeks of Spanish classes are about to come to an end and I’m going to start moving towards Bolivia, I am very aware that I’m going to need to take quite a few more weeks to get to where I want to be.  Perhaps I’ll stop again in Argentina or maybe Chile.  I’m not sure yet but I’m not giving up on finally learning Spanish. 

Any tips you can share for learning a language?  Anything to make the process easier or more straight forward?  I’d appreciate any recommendations! 

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