I just finished my first week at the Livit Immersion Center where I’m beginning to learn Spanish. So far, I’m pretty proud of myself for finding this place. There are so many schools in this big country and I did a ton of research. I settled on Livit due to the location, the value, and how the proprietor kindly responded to all my silly initial questions.
The schedule here is unique, too. We’re not in the classroom all day. That’s just in the morning. Monday through Wednesday, everybody goes out to lunch together (always someplace different to highlight a particular Poblano or Mexican dish: tacos arabes, cemitas, pozole, etc.), and then we return to the school to meet our guides. Each of us is paired with a local university student and we get to practice Spanish with them and explore the town.
This week, I met Carlos. He’s working on his thesis in literature here in Puebla. On Monday, we went to a museum. On Tuesday, he helped me find a wine shop. On Wednesday, we went to los fuertes, or the forts. A famous battle was fought here against French occupying forces on May 5, 1862. Yes, that would be Cinco de Mayo.
On Thursdays, we take excursions to locations around Puebla. This week, we went to Tlaxcala, a small city surrounded by mountains and full of beautiful colonial buildings and churches. On Fridays, we eat lunch together at the school (one of the teacher’s mothers cooked a stew for us today), and then we have free time.
There were only four other students at the school this week and I hit it off with two of them immediately: Patrick from New Jersey and Melody from Canada who now lives in Merida. Melody is the only other person in my level at the moment so we get a lot of attention from our teacher.
All the years I studied French are both helping and hurting me. The similarities make it easier for me to comprehend a lot of words and conjugate certain verbs but at times, I revert to French without thinking. I keep pronouncing en like “on.” For one homework assignment, I repeatedly spelled “estudiante” without the “s.” I’ll get used to the new ways sooner than later, I hope.
I’m living with a family in Puebla and they’re very nice. I eat breakfast and dinner here and my only real complaint is that the house is far from the centro, the school, and my friends from the school. This neighborhood is mostly residential and there isn’t much to do in the immediate area. In a way, it’s nice to be away from the touristy part of Puebla and live how most of the people do here. I’m feeling like a pro when I wave down my bus to get home. Still, I’d prefer to walk everywhere and have cafés nearby. I spend most of my nights in my little room. But I have my own room! I can watch YouTube and listen to music without headphones. I can buy wine and borrow the family’s sacacorchos!
I’m signed up for two more weeks at Livit but I’m already thinking I’ll extend, especially if I can change location and move closer to the centro. I really want to learn Spanish and while I may not leave Mexico fluent, I will at least have the skills to hold up basic conversations. Enough to keep learning well on my own.
General travel update: I’ve been on the road for more than four months. I’ve been in Mexico for a month. It feels different than, for example, the month I spent in Vietnam. There, I bounced around so much to see as much as I could in the time my visa allowed. Here, I spent two whole weeks in San Miguel de Allende and am settling in Puebla for a bit. Also, my status on Hostelworld.com was recently upgraded from Novice Nomad to Avid Traveller. I’m pretty legit now.