I take Spanish lessons each week here in Chicago with a fantastic tutor from Barcelona. I have only a handful of close friends here in Chicago who speak Spanish as their first language, and they are generally too polite to correct me when I make mistakes. They tell me my Spanish is good. Hombre, it’s not perfect, but at the very least it’s good enough. Rarely someone doesn’t understand what I mean to say.
I mean if I wrotes in the English like those you still goes to understand me, right?
Enter José, a private tutor who was recommended by a mutual friend from Madrid. (How I met that friend is a story for another day.) Lately José has been working with me to get me to improve my use of pretérito imperfecto when I speak. He’s a good tutor. It’s maddeningly frustrating when I think I’ve got it only to find I don’t have it quite yet, but we’re getting there.
I’ve also fallen head over heels for my first-ever soap opera: Amar en tiempos revueltos (Love in Turbulent Times.)
Amar takes place during the post- Civil War years in Spain and, naturally, explores the love lives of young people in a neighborhood from different social classes and ideological backgrounds. I started DVRing it and I’ve found that the serial nature of the storytelling is actually helping me come to terms with the use of imperfect, especially as used to set a scene or give past description.
I’ve never been able to get into English-language soap operas. The constant repetition, the crawling story pace, and frankly, something about soap opera lighting have always horrified me, but since Amar is in my second language, my brain seems willing to look past all manner of production sins. The repetition is actually helpful!
We get TVE here through AT&T Spanish-language package, but I just discovered that TVE is streaming past episodes online (for free!) and we can even access them from here in the United States!
So each day I’ve been hanging with Mario and Andrea and Rodrigo and Consuelo y muchas personas más. It isn’t subtitled on AT&T, but I just saw that TVE has posted transcripts and subtitles that accompany each episode. Who knows? Maybe it’s the ticket to taking your listening comprehension to the next level!
I’m still not ready to tell José about my new TV friends.