I want you to imagine that someone anonymously paid to send you on an exotic vacation to Latin America. You do not know where you were going … you simply have to be a willing participant.
After the airplane lands you are immediately whisked away in a limo for a 2 hour drive into the country, finally arriving at the hacienda. The Latino family welcomes you and shows you to your room, and the balcony of your bedroom overlooks vineyards that are ringed by mountains. Ahhhhh.
There is a quaint village nearby where there is a daily farmers market, and there are several Native American Indian and Latino artists selling their handmade wares. And oh, your anonymous donor also left $1,000 in your room to spend however you want … and the craftswomen and craftsmen in the village love to haggle over price! In fact, it would be culturally insensitive NOT to haggle with them over price.
Not only that, but the villagers enjoy it when you buy stuff with cash from one vendor, and then use those goods to barter with other vendors for their goods. In that way, the whole village gets to share in what everyone has brought to the market – goods, services, cash, produce, crafts, goodwill, etc.
No one at the hacienda or market, or even in the entire village, speaks English. Nadie. No one. Nary a soul.
Oh well, no worries (no te preocupes) … you’ve studied a little Spanish, and you do your best to buy, barter, and bargain, and you have the time of your life. And this little Latino village now has a new friend.
Sounds nice, eh?
I also want you to imagine that going to a Spanish conversation group is that little, faraway, village in Latin America. We gather not to exchange goods and services but to experience culture. And no one in our group speaks English. Nadie. No one. Nary a soul.
No te preocupes – just enjoy the experience while tuning your ear to hear Spanish, and speak a bit of Spanish as you are able.
La vida es buena.