Sunday, May 26, 2013

Now What?

The exam is over and the scores don't come until August.  No more classes every day and no more regular homework.  But what now?

Well that is the thousand dollar question.

  • Although we have taken the exam, we still have a long way to go to where we can speak Spanish half as well as we speak English, so we will continue to learn - read, study verbs, meet with intercambios, etc.  And of course, since we won't know if we pass or not for awhile, we have to keep in the back of our mind that it is possible we will have to retake it in November.
  • TESL Certificate - we will be using English as a ministry and although I have taught for years and have two college degrees related to teaching, I feel a need to have a piece of paper that says I am qualified to teach English.  I have started an online certification course that I hope to finish in June.  It's supposedly 150 hours, but I am hoping that my education background might make it go a little faster.
  • In July we have an 11 day city wide campaign.  So, needless to say lots of details to finish during the month of June and then after the 11 days, lots of work afterwards.  After the campaign we also have a couple from Moody Bible College with us for a week as they do part of their internship.
  • At the end of July we are hosting another Moody Bible College student who is finishing his TESL college degree and will be helping us teach English twice a day for two weeks.  Great chance to meet lots of new people!
These should keep us busy as we pray for specific direction for what comes next!  Never a dull moment in Spain!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


For the past 18+ months I have been mentioning the need to pass the DELE.  Some of you are still saying "DELE...huh?"  So thought that since, I am now only 2 days away from the exam, I might tell you a little about what is ahead of us.

DELE stands for Diploma de EspaƱol como Lengua Extranjero (in other words - Diploma of Spanish as a Foreign Language).  There are 3 major levels - Beginner (A), Intermediate (B), and Advanced (C).  Each of those levels has 2 subcategories - 1 and 2.  We are taking the exam for B2 - Intermediate 2 - advanced intermediate.

What does it evaluate?  Everything, including writing, reading, listening, speaking, and grammar.

When it comes to scoring we will get 3 scores.  Each score must be at least 70%.  No averaging - 70% in each category or no pass.

Category 1:  Reading (4 passages with 3 comprehension questions for each) and Writing (choose 2 prompts from a group of 4 - one will be a letter and one will be telling a story).  We will have 2 hours for this part.

Category 2:  Grammar/Vocabulary - First part is a passage with 20 blanks - requiring knowledge of grammar, colloquialisms, and vocabulary. Second part is 40 questions specifically related to higher grammar concepts.  1 hour.

Category 3:  Listening comprehension (4 short audio passages - radio interviews, lectures on a factual topic, conversation between two people, announcement) that you hear twice followed by four questions for each one) and Oral Expression.  There are three parts to the Oral Expression - describe 4 vignettes and then create a dialogue from the point of view of one the people in the pictures.  Afterwards will be given a topic and asked to elaborate on my opinion of the topic.  1 hour for both parts.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Commerce...A New Way (edited)

(Learned today that when I originally posted this article part of it had disappeared.  So here is the whole story.)

A while back I wrote a post about the things that remind me we are not in NC any longer.  Often those things seem negative or catch me off guard in a bad kind of way.  This past week I was once again reminded we were not in NC anymore, but in a very positive, I can't believe this is happening, kind of way.

Circus Sweet at El Bulevar
Centro Commercial
in Getafe.  I will
definitely go back!
On Thursday Hannah and I went to the indoor market for groceries.  We were asking for our fruits and veggies when the thought hit me "I sure hope I have enough cash to pay for this."  (no credit cards at the market)  When I said that out loud, Pilar, my favorite fruit/veggie sales lady, says "get what you need.  If you don't have enough, you can pay me later."  She has said that repeatedly, but I have never actually done it.  But I needed to do finish shopping so I took her up on it.  I was €10 short.  I promised to come back the next day and she says "don't worry about it, just whenever you are here next time."  Hannah went back on Saturday to buy more veggies and paid her.  Never in my wildest dreams would the grocery store or even the Farmer's Market let me get away with only paying for part of my produce with the promise of "next time I'll pay."

But don't think this just happens with little produce stands.  On Saturday I was doing errands and was hungry.  I love Spain's frozen yogurt, although my family isn't particularly fond of it.  It comes only in one flavor - kind of citrusy - and always with toppings.  Before ordering I checked the price (€2.50), ordered a medium bowl with white chocolate and caramel pieces.  Took a bite, opened my wallet, and wanted to fall through the floor with embarrassment.  I always have coins in my purse (and remember in Euros coins go up to €2) so I never thought to check before ordering.  As soon as I opened my wallet I remembered giving Alex the last of my money the night before.  Uh oh.

But don't worry.  The man said "just give me what you have."  50 cents?  I immediately asked if there was an ATM machine nearby and he says "yes, but don't worry about it."  "no, no.  I'll go get money and pay you."  He asks me if I like it and when I tell him yes, he tells me don't worry - you'll be back and you can pay that time.

I promised to return after doing my shopping to pay.  Another cultural difference is that in Spain you cannot get cash back from stores.  Only place to get cash is in the bank or in a machine.  So I bought my groceries, pushed my grocery cart through the mall (yes, this is normal here), found an ATM machine, and returned to pay.  His response was "thanks, but it would have been ok if you waited until next time."

Oh, there are things that drive me crazy about the culture here in Spain - but then, I get smacked up against the head with a reminder that there are some phenomenal aspects of the culture that outweigh all the frustrating ones (just ask me about the gas bill we keep getting for someone else)!