Back in 2000 I was invited to visit a friend near Madrid in Spain and to stay with a local family. I had a great time, the people were warm and friendly, but I felt a bit left out when people gathered together, smiling as if I knew what they were saying. Some of the younger people spoke English and although it was a relief to be able to talk I did have a feeling that as I was in their country I should have been speaking Spanish.
But at the time I didn’t do anything about it and told myself that I was busy enough without learning a new language. But I was in for a surprise!
In 2004 whilst on holiday in Canada I met a lovely Mexican woman. Little did I know then that we would get married and start a family. Fortunately she spoke great English and I tried to pick up the odd Spanish phrase here and there, and although she encouraged me to learn Spanish I felt a bit embarrassed by my efforts.
Two years later, however, we were going off to live in Mexico. Gulp!
I hardly knew anything and here I was going to live (and work) in Mexico City. When I arrived at the airport my girlfriend had been delayed so I sat around the arrivals area, only able to get some food by pointing at things and nodding my head. The waiter asked me something and I had no clue what he said, so I shrugged my shoulders in an apologetic way. Here I was in the country less than half-an-hour and already I was stressed! I knew I would have to learn Spanish (and quickly!).
I really was looking for an easy way to learn Spanish; but as well as a good system I wanted something that would teach me what I needed to know for everyday situations. So after some research I came across a Spanish language course. It gave me confidence and all of a sudden I was able to speak to people. Not a huge amount in the very beginning, but enough to get what I wanted when I went to a shop or cafe. It was wonderful!
I could even begin to understand some of what my wife’s family were saying when we visited them. And I could speak to them, letting them get to know me. I loved being in Mexico, and now it was even better thanks to being able to communicate with confidence.
It would have been nice to find a Spanish language program before I went to Mexico, as I would have arrived with a good grasp of the language, but I was just so happy to have found it. It was well-structured and made sense, and it was fun learning and seeing how impressed others were by my Spanish speaking. (If you want to learn then I would recommend buying a Spanish language program or attending a school.)
In fact upon my return to Europe I was able to go back to Spain (this time for a golfing holiday) and chat with the local people. Perhaps it was just my perception, but I seemed to get a little bit more special service. Everyone I met was pleasantly surprised that I could speak Spanish, and although it wasn’t always perfect, I could tell that they really appreciated the effort I was making.
The reason I made this site, Spanish Made Easy, is to encourage you to learn to speak Spanish. With the right guidance it can be fun and empowering and it can open up doors in your life. And it’s never too late to start.