New Internet & No TV!
I live in a Spanish-speaking country where it is the official language and it is needed for almost all services, public and commercial. When I lived in the States I heard many people say about immigrants, “If they want to live here, they can learn English!” And I basically agree, though I now know from experience that it is easier said than done!
“Spoiled Americans” here who refuse to learn Spanish or even learn very slow like me, have created a need for English speakers in many of the commercial customer services here, like the competitive cable services who are learning that Customer Service in English can mean more money from the thousands of Americans living here.
My first cable service here was pretty good service for a long time and by waiting I could often get English-speaking customer service if needed, but recently everything was going wrong. No TV service (which helped me decide to drop it) and frequent failure of internet and more frequently the WiFi connections. I tried repeatedly to get technical service and to change my contract to faster internet and no TV, both with my bad Spanish and then asking for an English speaker. At least 5 efforts failed with either disconnected calls or the promise of a call-back that never happened.
Thus I decided to switch from CableTica to TeleCable and when I called the new company they instantly recognized I was weak in Spanish and within 30 seconds switched me to a very good English-speaker. We set up a time for the técnicos to come out and rewire my house at their expense. I waited until they were here in the house to call the other company to cancel my services with them. (I needed the internet even if intermittent!) I called and canceled in Spanish, briefly explaining why. Within 2 minutes I received a phone call back from a very fluent English speaker (probably a supervisor) at that company, apologizing profusely for their lack of service and English-speakers, almost begging me to give them another chance, even offering 2 months free! I told him I was sorry but he was too late with my new service being installed as we spoke. Then he took my credit card number to pay him for one of their trucks to come out and pick up their TV Box and Internet Router which was cheaper ($22) than me having to return it in the city by taxi!
I now have 100 MB TeleCable Internet Service and no TV! A happy camper! 🙂 And if you are worried about my lack of entertainment, I do have Costa Rica Netflix for which I attach my computer to the TV to see those great nature documentaries and rarely a movie! 🙂 Plus I’m always reading on my Kindle a book and the Washington Post for news and Comics! What else does a guy need? 🙂
+ Spanish Immersion Coming!
Thus cable service became “the straw that broke the camel’s back” on my slow fluency in Spanish and I signed up for one week of Spanish Language Immersion to see if an old man can handle it and then if so I will add more. This will simply make my 2 hours a week with tutor Arturo here in Atenas more effective and hopefully greatly advance my verbal & listening abilities.
I could have used the school that meets closer at Jaco Beach with 4 hours of Spanish a day combined with 4 hours of surfing lessons a day, but decided that was probably not best for me! 🙂 So instead, I chose a school in Heredia, just beyond Alajuela, where I will spend one week as my February travel experience at about half the price of most birding trips. I will live with a Tico family within walking distance of the school where I will have 4 hours of intensive Spanish Language Classes every day along with a few local field trips using the language (I’m going for InBio and Toucan Rescue Ranch), plus the Tico family speaks only Spanish in their house, which may be where I learn the most! 🙂 The name of this school is Tico Lingo and it is just one of many all over Costa Rica – but not one in Atenas.
These schools are packed with high school & college students in the U.S. Summer when school is out! Six weeks is common for them with some doing two months straight through. I am not sure my senior adult brain could handle that much immersion, so I am trying one week and then if it goes well will more likely do more single weeks scattered over the year and not straight through. MY NEXT ADVENTURE! Last week of February! And hopefully it will motivate me to do more in my Spanish Blog, Aprendo español en Atenas and not switch to Spanish on this blog! 🙂