April 16, 2011

Waltham, MA. November, 2008

With the New Year of 2008, I resolved to finally study Spanish seriously and, this time, learn it. I’d taken classes on a few earlier occasions at Cambridge Center for Adult Education and through Newton’s continuing education program, but I always found myself hampered by the “least common denominator” syndrome -- the class’s progress slowed down by students whose ability and/or interest seemed minimal. On January 1, I began in earnest: Rosetta Stone programs on my computer, Pimsleur CDs in my car during afternoon commutes. And I also answered a posting on Craig’s List placed by a native Spanish speaker who offered inexpensive private tutoring. Diego, mi profesor de español, was an MIT student from Chile, and we met each Tuesday evening in an unoccupied Harvard classroom for an hour and a half of conversation. I’d bring him questions from my home studies; he’d bring Xeroxed lessons and we’d basically just talk, which was great. Food was often our topic, and one night we drove to the Tara Restaurant in nearby Waltham for some Chilean food: empanadas and chacareros (a flat round sandwich roll filled with steak or chicken or pork or all three, avocado, mayonnaise, tomatoes, cheese, hot sauce and steamed green beans.) It was terrific, especially when the fast-talking Chilean owners noted our ages and couldn’t quite grasp the fact that Diego was the teacher and I was the student. I miss him.

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