Category Archives: General

¡Noticias!

Well this is just to update you all a bit.  I will write more tomorrow on other matters, but I wanted to let you know that we´ve started a Community site where people who are blog readers or video watchers or podcast listeners or class attenders or just happening by, can stop in and connect with others that have the same passion for the Latino Culture and Spanish Language. 

We have so much to share with one another and the Community site seems a good place to meet and greet.  There is nothing more fun for Luis and I than to connect with people around the the cities, the states and the world who have stories to tell about their favorite country to visit, or what happened to them when.., or what most impacted them…, or to hear their new favorite band or song, or the best place to get ceviche or the greatest museum or well, the topics are thankfully endless. 

We suspect that if we like this kind of thing, many of you do to.  You like to hear of the adventures and you love telling your own as well.  It´s perfect!  Let´s meet up in the Rojas Spanish Community and trade experiences!    ¡Nos vemos allá!   -Joan

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We’re back!

Yes, we were away for a bit but we are back and will be catching up with all of the pieces left hanging.  Thanks to the hundreds of loyal readers that have not abandoned us during our hiatus.

Here’s what is happening……Luis has completely re-done our website so that it is much easier to navigate.  We hope that you all find it so and if not, let us know where you found yourself lost so that we can tweak the details. 

We have re-designed the Video product as well, for the same reason.  We will always be improving things as we go, but I think with our current site, we will sit for a bit and gather your comments. 

We have also put up a new Demo for our video product.  This Demo includes the majority of two episodes of the product so that you can see it specifically and play with it some.  Please do!  And let us know what you think.  Let’s say for instance you absolutely are NOT interested in this product, we would really love to know why.  Let’s say you are interested, but have reasons for not accessing it at this time, please share them.  It is important to us that we are offering what you all are looking for and wanting.  If there are ways we can alter or improve the product you can rest assured that we will be on our way to that end.

Aside from the re-design efforts that have occupied about 18 hours of each day…you think I am exaggerating, but I am not!…we have prepared 3 new Videos for our program, keeping our promise to add new episodes each month.  Well, we are close….we launched the very end of March and this is the end of May, so I think technically we are under the wire.  We took the time we felt we needed to take to improve the over all navigation of the product, so just know that we did not stop working for you for a single day!  We think this product is incredibly valuable and if you agree, spread the word!

The other thing that has kept ME busy, is that Luis’ mom is here with us from Peru.  She has been with us since the 2nd of May and will be here until the 13th of June.  The fascinating things I am learning from her will be shared with you all, but for the time being, what is most clear in my mind is that we need a bigger house.  YIKES!  We have a small 2 bedroom Condo, about 1600 square feet which we absolutely love, however, one bedroom is dedicated to being a bedroom (ours) and one bedroom is dedicated to Control Central for our classes and video program…so, between the Spanish classes that we hold in our Dining Room, Kitchen or Living Room and the fact that we have given the Sra. Aida our bedroom for 6 weeks…we are bien consciente que we are squished here.

Okay, in summary…look for our new web.  www.rojasspanish.com Luis hopes to get it live today, tomorrow at the latest.  Let us know what you think.  Look for the new Video program Demo….since we have decreased the “speed” of it’s transmission and we have offered it in two “speeds”, even some DialUp systems should be able to get access.  I know many of you have written to us to see if there was anything we could do to allow you access and I think we have for the most part accomplished what you have asked – so welcome aboard India, China, Morroco, Spain, the UK, Italy, France, Australia and the rest!  (we are counting inquiries and subscriptions from 67 countries now and we couldn’t be more excited to be connected with so much of this beautiful and diverse world of ours!)

Luis will also be catching us up with our book club selection Hija de la Fortuna por Isabele Allende as we are due to read the first 50 pages of a new book by June 9th.  This is one is La Fiesta de Chivo por Mario Vargas Llosa.  We have some movies to catch up with as well…..more later.  Phew, don’t you love to be busy?

Okay, I will write again over the weekend….until then, que les estudien bien.    -Joan
                                                  
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It takes a pueblo

Luis and I are altruists.  Maybe the majority of intercultural couples are made-up of altruists.  The intrigue, the novelty, the romance, the possibilities that lie just waiting to be tapped into within the unions of people from diverse cultures. 

Altruistically, Luis and I have as our dream, to create and nuture a virtual community of Spanish Language and Culture enthusiasts who come together and share their stories of discovery.  You see, we have this idea that the more we know about one another, the more we know about ourselves.  The more we know about one another, the richer we are.  The more we know about another, the more we understand that ‘other’, and in understanding, we challenge fear and prejudice. And what’s so great about that?  Well, once we drop our guard just a bit, we are more able to see what we all have in common.  That aside, we can with gusto celebrate and enjoy our uniquenesses.   That sounds like a most lovely adventure to me.

So we need you to make this work.  We need your ideas, your thoughts, your experiences in learning Spanish, in learning about the various Hispanic cultures and even more, about the other resources you have found helpful or inspirational on your journey to discover these wonders.  This is a place where we can enrich one another.

Luis and I are new to Blogging….obvious?  As we get more familiar with this medium we will make our presentation more personal, add pictures, video files etc.  In the meantime, we would like to include other websites or Blogs that you all have found and love and read regularly.  Let’s share the wealth, tell us about your favorites!

Hasta mañana…….  -Joan

!!!!!!Hey, and don’t forget to check out our videos and podcasts!!!!!!!

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I hate my voice…

This is what I heard Luis say dozens of times when he first began his Podcasts a year ago and this is what I find myself telling him now that I hear MY voice in the videos.  This time next week, we expect our on-line video program to be live and available and so as we spend the last feverish days prior to this important launch, fine tuning countless details, I find myself very self-critical. 

This morning I was telling Luis that I don´t think anyone wants to hear me speaking Spanish, they want to hear HIM speaking Spanish.  Well, that was enough to catapult my little Latino into a tirad “Luis style”….which is strong but incredibly tender, supportive and inspirational.  He told me that in his 25 plus years teaching Spanish as an independent contractor, first in his native Peru and for the last 4 years here in the States, he has had the opportunity to teach students from Canada, Australia and  from all over Europe as well as the United States.  He said that he will make his observation cautiously, knowing that generaliziations always miss the ‘outlyers’ but that he found some rather predictable differences between his students from the US and those from other areas of the world.

He said that students from the US “tend” in “his experience” (no doubt in his mind, being well illustrated by my concerns) to be incredibly self-critical when it comes to language learning.  They tend to want to know the ‘rules’ and ‘formulas’, be frustrated by the ‘exceptions’ to these and are hesitant to speak until they believe they have figured out the absolute correct way to say something.  “Self-conscious” learners, he calls them, which he says really gets in the way of the great fun and the progress they could have and make in the language. 

He said that non-US students tended to have a more adventurous and openly curious approach to language learning that allows them the room to just “jump” (one of Luis’ favorite words) and “go for it”.  The point after all is to give and receive information, to communicate.  If you’ve been able to do that, then the rest will correct itself over time and attention and while that is happening, you are having a great time building relationships with people whom which you couldn’t before and learning about things to which you could have no access other than through the language.  An adventure!  Fun!  Expanding!  Enlightening!  Why would one deny themselves these treasures, my hero wants to know.

He finished his lecture with,  “Of course you have a bit of an accent and of course you don’t say everything perfectly, but that is part of the journey.  Our students share this journey with you and it’s about time you looked at the beautiful scenery and really tasted the complexity of that wine and allowed your body to move to that new music in a way that it’s called to.  It’s magical, it’s fantastic, it’s NOT perfect,  (thank goodness, how boreing), so let’s have a great time!”

Well, once again he left me speechless.  I regularly deny myself the treasures that are now available to me as a result of learning Spanish in my attempt to be and sound perfect.  I can see the folly in this after each of these tantrums (aunque suave, tranquilo)  and vow to see and be different.  As you watch our videos you will see that we are a simple multi-cultural couple, crazy about each other and passionate about helping people relax and have fun learning Spanish.  We are not intimidating or self-celebrated experts, we are just like you, looking for ways to understand more so that we can enjoy and appreciate more the treasures that lie locked behind another’s language.  We are on an adventure that may not be “perfect” but does not lack in value or benefit or great, crazy fun!

Hasta la proxima…….  -Joan

!!!!!!Hey, and don’t forget to check out our videos and podcasts!!!!!!!

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Where to begin….

Luis and I will try to keep these entries short, frequent and specific enough so that they generate reflexion and comments from you all.  On this topic, let me just iterate that the purpose of this blog is to create dialog between you all with each other and you all with us about your journey in learning Spanish.  There will grammar to fine tune and expressions to learn, seemingly endlessly, but those are the mechanics of learning a language.  We are more interested in talking about the eurika moments.  That fluid conversation you had with that native speaker when you were feeling it.  When you were making a point and making it impressively and easily and you could see the impact your command of the language was having on the native speaker.  Yes, yes, we know these moments come and go, but that is the nature of assimilation.  Bit by bit, piece by piece the language finds it’s home in you and has it’s way with you at the same time.  Chipping, chipping away at who you used to be and how you used to see.  Ooooo, this is the good stuff.  You remain you, but transformed into a more fluid you.  Notice, I did not use the word ‘fluent’, rather, ‘fluid’.  You are able to almost metaphysically step through some cultural thing that previously had been the distinction between you and the other.  And the key that unlocked it all was that eurika moment in the language.  Language can indeed be a key. 

For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about yet, stick with it and you will.  I remember yearning for that eurika moment, and for another and another after that, once I had my first.  It felt like a really good yawn or stretch after being in the same position for an eternity.  It was so exhilerating and freeing and satisfying.   There are many of you who have experienced this and know what I am talking about.  And you know as well, that as mysteriously as it appeared, this dematerializing wall that a moment ago you so fluidly walked right on through,  as suddenly became a solid hunk of matter once again with no sign of it’s former yielding. 

So tell us about a time when you walked through that wall and tell us about another time when you thought you knew where that wall would give and it just stood there 4 feet thick with no entry in sight.  Let’s talk about this mysterious, magical thing called acculturation through language.

Hasta luego…….    -Joan

!!!!!!Hey, and don’t forget to check out our videos and podcasts!!!!!!!

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