My Spanish Teachers

how to learn spanish as a second language

Levi, me and Maria in the Arkansas State University library.

After a several-month period of battling with Rosetta Stone and my own lack of self-discipline during a time when every moment’s precious, I went on the search for a Spanish tutor.

And this is who I found – Levi and Maria.

Levi and Maria are students, and work at my alma mater,  Arkansas State University.

Levi has an undergraduate degree in Spanish and a graduate degree in

how to learn a second language

A lovely young couple, Levi and Maria have a bright future ahead in higher education.

geography. He works in the Center for International Studies, and will soon pursue a terminal geography degree in Texas or New Mexico.

Maria completed her undergraduate degree at the university in her home of LaPaz, Bolivia, and she is soon to complete an MBA at ASU.

They are a delightful young couple willing to help an old gringo, provided he has $25 in his pocket for every hour! And it’s worth every penny.

Levi instructs me in basics and fundamentals: proper conjugation, tenses, especially on permanent and temporary tenses, which I find quite difficult. Many times we use flash cards, and that’s helpful for a visual learner.

With her background in business education, and parents from the corporate world in Latin America, Maria instructs me in proper business protocol, ethics, how a friendly relationship almost always comes before business, and how to “unlearn” most of what I’ve learned in the U.S. business world. Because things (everything) moves much slower in Latin America, I have to back off my tendency to be so aggressive in business.

If you’re looking to learn a second language, Rosetta Stone and many other programs are good, but there’s no substitute for the interaction that comes with a tutor and practice by speaking.

Gracias y mucho gusto en conocerlo Levi y Maria!


Expat Prep: Our Checklist

Making a list, and checking it twice…

Las Palmas Ecuador

expat preparation for ecuador

When you do something you’ve never done before, sometimes, you just have to “feel” your way through it.

And it’s one thing to buy a new house, or a car, or change jobs where you are, but when you’re preparing to do all those things in a country 6,000 miles away, the concept takes on a whole new meaning.

Today, Dana and I find ourselves 42 days out from a move that includes all those things and much more.

For the last five months, we’ve worked long-distance with Gary and April Scarborough at  to buy property and build a home from the ground up in Puerto Cayo. It’s a matter of days now, before the home is complete, and for the most part, it’s been easier than building a house where we were on site.

Funny thing is, the house building was the easy part. Now, with 42 days and counting…

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