It’s Friday night after our second long week of language school. We’ve got a lot to be thankful for. When we investigated language schools over a year ago, Casa de Avila was hands-down the best option in town. That, however, was far from a guarantee of excellence. One of the things I have anticipated most during the last years is language and culture training. There is something so rewarding about the look on a Peruvian’s face when you can make a word play in Spanish, order a traditional plate at a local dive, or haggle in the market without missing a beat. We have been blessed that Casa de Avila’s language program is well rounded and effective. In other words, two weeks in, and we’re moving right along. Classes involve not only language study but insightful cultural reflection by Peruvian teachers, field trips to engage in everyday activities, and vital advice on apartment shopping, daycares, safety, and the list goes on. Some of our teachers have gone out of their way to help us, but so has the facility manager, Erika. She has made dozens of phone calls on our behalf to prospective rental properties, inquiring, asking directions, haggling, and declining. What a Godsend!
Let me give you an idea of the last two weeks’ schedule. We arrived on a Monday afternoon, and by that evening we were individually taking oral placement exams so that we could start classes the following morning. This is what we call immersion! The first week Megan and Kyle had class from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. while Larissa and I watched our girls, and then we had class from 3 to 7 p.m. We weren’t getting much done except for meals and homework in our spare time, so we asked to modify our schedule for a week (9 to 12 and 4 to 7), giving us more time (12-4) to search for housing or buy groceries (community fridge means shopping one day at a time). This week’s ten extra hours made all the difference, and we are soon to settle into apartments and shift all four classes to the morning slot while the girls are in Jardin (means “garden”; think pre-school). Maybe with our afternoons open and our Spanish improving, we can get some other things done!