McCanns in Honduras

Let the nations be glad & sing for joy!

Graduacion

Above: Ellie, Sean, Lindsey, and Lucy in front of the Honduran flag.

This morning we had our graduation from language school. There were about 40 graduates heading to 12 or more countries. We processed in with our flag, heard a whole service in Spanish (and understood most of it!), and then spent the rest of the morning saying goodbye to friends and teachers we’ve meet in our time here.

It is a little strange to have an official “degree” or title that says we can speak Spanish, when all that really matters is if we can have a conversation with the guy on the street. The school here has been really good at teaching us some of the basics and structure of the language, and although we have been speaking it for almost a year now, we can’t wait to get to Honduras and continue learning.

Thank you all so much for your support during this time in school, it means the world to know that people care about us and what we are doing here in Central America.

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December 12, 2008 Posted by | Ellie, Language School, Lucy | 3 Comments

Quite a Mouthful

Lucy and her bud Will hanging out on some teeth.

Above: Lucy and her bud Will hanging out on some teeth.

Last week, during our vacation from school, we took a trip with some school friends to the Children’s Muesem in San Jose. Lucy and Will, her best friend in Costa Rica, had a blast exploring all sorts of toys and exhibits. One room that was quite a hit was this one, the mouth room. As you can tell they liked sitting on the teeth, though the giant toothbrush with a smiley face kind of put Lucy on edge.

In other news, we’ve just completed our first week of our second (and final!) trimester at Spanish school. This trimester promises to be more challenging than the last with tougher classes, longer assignments, and grammar lessons that seem to get harder by the hour! We both really like our teachers and classmates, and we’re excited about how much Spanish we’ll be able to speak (theoretically) in 4 months.

September 7, 2008 Posted by | Language School, Lucy, Our Blog, Our Costa Rica Life, San Jose, Spanish Language | 3 Comments

Summer’s Over

Above: Lucy enjoying some homemade, chocolate pancakes, one of our many family fun activities on our “summer” break.

Well as of tomorrow morning, our summer break from school is officially over. Calling it a summer break is a bit generous, but our 2 weeks off from school was a relaxing break and a needed time of for our family to spend together.

Some of the highlights of our break include:
– Traveling with Lindsey’s family.
– Translating and speaking lots of Spanish on our travel.
– Sleeping in lots!
– Spending nights reviewing Spanish grammar.
– Lots of relaxing time with family and friends.
– Relaxing (or trying to) while reading a Spanish novel (or trying to).
– Beating the rain by going to the park almost every morning.
– Killing time while it rains reviewing irregular verb tenses.
– Homemade, chocolate pancakes.

We had a great break of relaxing with our family and trying to keep studying Spanish (the whole reason we’re here). We really enjoyed this time with just the three of us and can wait for the months to come as we study Spanish, attempt to learn the subjunctive tense, welcome our little girl to the family, and move to Honduras!

We’re hoping this restful break will last through the new year and beyond!

September 1, 2008 Posted by | Family, Language School, Lucy, Our Costa Rica Life | Leave a comment

Language School Update

Above: Lucy enjoying some TCBY at the July 4th party.

(The picture has nothing to do with the post, just a fun picture.)

Amazingly, we have already passed the halfway point of our first full trimester here at the Spanish Language Institute. Though at times it feels like we still don’t know a word of Spanish, when we look at where we were when we started, we see how far we’ve come.

Here is a glimpse at some of the things we’ve studied.

Language Class: Vocabulary of jobs, clothes, animals, weather, seasons, food, transportation, outdoor recreation, the classroom, the house, numbers, the family, and the body parts.

Phonetics Class: Alphabet, inflections, unions, vowels, consonants, combinations, accents, diphthongs, lines, and syllables (all to help our horrible gringo accents).

Grammar Class: Nouns, articles, adjectives, present indicative tense, different “to be” verbs, paraphrases, direct and indirect objects, reflexive verbs, intransitive verbs, preterite perfect (one past tense), preterite imperfect (the other past tense), and the different uses between the two past tenses.

It is amazing that though that list is as long as it is, we still speak Spanish like young children. Learning a language is both humbling and encouraging, and we need both of those things!

July 10, 2008 Posted by | Language School, Lucy | Leave a comment

Walk With Us

Above: A picture of our route to school every day. The blue house on the left is our home, and the green school on the right side is the Instituto de Lengua Espanola. The purple trail is our walk to school, and the purple camera icons are the places were we took some pictures.

Photo 1: One minute into the walk we pass our favorite neighborhood park, Parque Los Sauces. You can see all the grass and trees of the park on the other side of the road.

Photo 2: Two minutes later we come to the longest straightaway of our journey. This road has two little tiendas, a local bus stop, and a menacing street guard we’ve become friendly with.

Photo 3: At the end of the street in the previous photo is this park, La Copa. La Copa has a basketball court we’ve played in some, a few run-down swings for Lucy, and a couple soccer fields. Once we reach La Copa, we’re over half-way there!

Photo 4: 8-10 minutes after we leave home, we’ve arrived here, the back gate of the language school. The big blue building is the gym at the school, and the gate is right in front of it.

Thanks for walking with us, hope you enjoyed seeing a little more of our daily life.

May 13, 2008 Posted by | Language School, Our Costa Rica Life | 1 Comment

First Week of Class

Above: All the books it takes for one beginner Spanish student.

Well we’ve finally started our first full trimester at the Spanish Language Institute in San Jose, Costa Rica. We’ve been here for a while studying Spanish, but that was all child’s play compared to the next four months. Lindsey and I have taken our placement test and been placed in good classes, we both have people on our level or a little higher who will push us to learn even faster. Here is a glimpse of our day at ILE (Instituto de Lengua Espanola):

First Hour: Conversation/Language. In this class we simple talk Spanish, a lot! We talk about ourselves, our family, our life, and anything else the teacher wants to ask us. We even pray in Spanish! Talk, talk, talk, and at 7:30 in the morning no less.

Second Hour: Phonetics. Here is where we take the words we’ve learned and try to say them so that actual Spanish-speakers can understand us. It is amazing the difference between knowing the words you want to say and actually saying them correctly.

Third Hour: Grammar. Nouns. Adjectives. Verbs. Remember those English classes you had as a kid? Like that, but in Spanish.

Fourth Hour: Grammar. More nouns, adjectives, and verbs.

By the end of the day, we are beat. But it is amazing to see what we can learn in just one day, and then to multiply that by 4 months truly is encouraging. We may actually learn Spanish after all!

May 8, 2008 Posted by | Language School, Our Costa Rica Life | Leave a comment

Trimesters

Above: Lins ready for school.

This picture encapsulates the transitions we’re going through in life right now (look closely and you just may see a pooch). Just last week, Lindsey and Baby Tico (our baby) transitioned from the first trimester to the second. Our first trimester coincided with our first few months here, and it was not easy. New foods and smells did not mix well with Lindsey’s pregnant stomach, but we’re hoping things get better in the second trimester.

Also in the picture is Lindsey’s book bag, the one she will be taking to our first day of school tomorrow. We’ve finished up our intensive courses and tutoring, and now we are starting a four month trimester. We will be in class 4 hours a day, 5 days a week, all in Spanish. We’ll be studying language, pronunciation, and grammar.

We’re excited to see what the Lord has in store for us this next trimester.

May 6, 2008 Posted by | Baby Tico, Language School | 1 Comment

Instituto de Lengua Espanola

Above: This is the white board in Lindsey’s grammar class after a particularly mind-boggling day of studying direct and indirect objects.

We’re half way through our intensive language course and we can already see it paying off in our daily interaction. The first day of class we were tested to see how much Spanish we knew. Lindsey was placed in the 3rd class (out of 5), while Sean ended up in the 1st class (that would be the lowest).

We go to school around 1 pm every day, drop Lucy off in nursery, and begin class at 1:30. We each are in a class with 4 other students on the same level, or at least close to our level. From 1:30 to 2:45 we study grammar (ie: verb congregation, pronouns, direct/indirect objects, etc.) Then after a 10-minute break, we go to our conversation class until 4:10, we were learn new vocabulary and put everything that we have learned into action.

In Lindsey’s conversation class she has had to give oral presentations on the city of Charlotte, a summary of a newspaper article, and a retelling of the parable of the sower. Sean has presented in class what he is wearing, his different body parts, and his family tree.

All in all we have enjoyed our learning experience has it has challenged us, but at the same time truly helped us as we interact with the culture.

March 4, 2008 Posted by | Language School, Spanish Language | Leave a comment