Moving Up A Level In Spanish

In one of my other blog posts I wrote about starting an online Spanish class during the week, and about 2 weeks ago I had my first ‘real’ Spanish test!

This including a listening, writing, reading and a speaking part…. and although I passed, I definitely learned a few things from it!

First of all: read the questions!

Unfortunately I didn’t read the questions for 2 parts of it, so I ended up filling in one bit of it wrong and I lost quite a lot of marks for it. I was supposed to write the grammar (yo comí)- I ate, or (yo he comido)- I have eaten in the 10 sentences. But me being me didn’t read the question right and I put all comí, bebí. So marks were lost for that.

Also for another part I didn’t read it thoroughly enough and I lost marks for that! So although I passed, if I concentrated a bit more I would have done better. So I was a bit annoyed at myself as I felt that I deserved a better mark, especially as I had studied everyday before the exam and what not. But I remind myself that it was my first Spanish exam and that it was something to learn from.

The listening was also very hard and I know I only knew 1 answer, however by luck I got 4/6 right! I was surprised with that though because I really do spend a lot of time listening and watching things in Spanish. I thought my listening would be better than that but the audio was very difficult though which didn’t help. I started to spend more time listening to a Spanish radio station half an hour before I sleep to help me improve my listening. I use the website ‘Radio Garden’ and it’s great to listen to the radio from whatever country you want!

Finally I had my speaking test and the teacher said that I got the best score out of the class. She pretended that she was a tour agency and I was looking to book somewhere on holiday. I take italki classes (which I HIGHLY recommend) so although I felt nervous at the beginning, once I started it was a breeze then!

So that was the level A2 in the school, so now I’m in the B1 class, and I can see a difference in it already. Now I have never done the official DELE exam so I’m probably still on A2 with that, especially as I’ve never studied for that so I would have take the time to study the layout and the type of questions they ask.

But in the online class, I can see that there is a difference between the A2 and the B1 book. There are a lot larger reading sections in the B1 book and not many smaller exercises to do. I feel we are also speaking a lot more in the class about what we read together.

Another thing we are concentrating on is the Subjunctive. This is grammar which is quite difficult as in English we don’t have it. We only started a few days ago so my teacher said that for the whole course of B1 we will be going through this grammar!

I’ve actually learned loads of grammar the past few weeks. I noticed this recently because I decided to buy a book to start writing a daily diary in Spanish, and when I wrote in it a few days ago my husband was surprised to see that I didn’t have many mistakes. I wrote one while I was in Mexico and there were a lot more errors throughout, so I was happy with that.

Also when I’m reading or watching something I can pick out the grammar and know that that that type of conjugation means.

I’ll keep doing the course until the end of August (that’s the plan anyway) and then after that I’m not sure as I may decide to do another course in the college that I attended. I would love to keep studying my Spanish full time but unfortunately that probably won’t be possible after August. I’ll really miss having the classes every morning as I really do feel I improved and I would love to dedicate myself to it more. I’m afraid in case I forget everything that I learned and I would have to start from scratch all over again. That happened to me when I arrived back in Ireland, so it was a struggle remembering all those words that were full of dust in my head!

But I’ll try and enjoy the weeks that I have left and hopefully I’ll get a grip of this new grammar that we will be studying!

Aisling

Keeping Busy During The Pandemic

Like millions of others, it’s hard to keep busy during this Coronavirus Pandemic. My College is still sending me assignments to do, so I’ve been trying to keep up with those. Two weeks ago I was very relaxed about the whole assignment thing. I kept thinking ‘I’ve loads of time to get them done, I’ll do something small everyday and I’ll get it all done… there’s no rush at all’.

Then April came and I realised ‘My exams are starting the end of this month!’  The lack of structure to the days kind of messed me up and I just didn’t really notice the days going by.

Plus all day yesterday I thought it was Monday so I kept thinking I have a whole week to do loads of assignments. It wasn’t until I went to bed that night and checked my phone that I realised it was Tuesday! So that annoyed me because it’s now the middle of the week!

It was my birthday last week, and for my 30th birthday my husband got me the new Animal Crossing Switch Game!

I love it!

A few months ago he showed me a video of it and to be honest I wasn’t too fussed on it. I’ve never played any of the old ones so I didn’t really understand what it was all about. But then I started looking at more videos and I decided then that it did look good after all. So thankfully he got it for me and I’ve been playing it sporadically throughout the day. He has been helping me catch fish, insects and everything like that while I’ve been doing my assignments.

It’s fantastic for helping pass the time, and I love all the villagers in it too. So I’ve been enjoying the game for the past week, while trying to do some college work too.

With regards to exams, I’m pretty sure they will all be online. I don’t understand how they will manage it though, because I know they have to change the format of some of them. So I’ll have to wait and see what our teachers email.

But, I’m still bored though. I’m bored but I know I shouldn’t be because I’ve plenty of work to be doing. I feel bad for being bored!

Aisling

We Bought Ourselves A Car

We finally bought ourselves a car! We always intended on buying one when we arrived in Ireland, so we both felt that it was needed; it wasn’t fair on Dad dropping us everywhere and we just wanted more independence.

We visited a few car dealerships and I thought ‘well we’ll find a few and then we can choose which one we like the best. There are plenty of car dealerships here so it won’t be a problem’.

Wrong. We only saw one car which suited us! We wanted a car that wasn’t too big, wasn’t too old, was second hand and had a 1.0-litre engine. (Better for insurance)

The first place we visited was the only place we saw one that was suitable for us! So we didn’t have much to choose from. But thankfully it is perfect!

It is a 2012 Toyota Yaris and it is lovely to drive! It’s not too big, it has a camera at the back so when you reverse you can see on the dashboard where you are going, it’s a 1.0-litre, and its very clean and spacious!

Below is a picture of the car type we got. This is not our car!

Image result for toyota yaris 2012

Source; google.com

My Dad had a 2002 Nissan Micra years ago and that was what I used to drive, and I have to say there is a big difference!! It was so hard to get going from 1st gear as the clutch and accelerator had to be perfectly balanced so that it moved (I can’t really explain it well). If you didn’t get it just right it wouldn’t move or it could stall. I thought that every car was like that and you just have to practice, but now that I am driving our new one I now know that that is not the case!

Image result for nissan micra 2002 silver ireland

Source; google.com

 

It’s just so easy to move off in our new car, and I haven’t stalled once. With the other one I was constantly stalling because it was hard to get the clutch and accelerator at the correct point to move. So that’s definitely good!

I’m still quite nervous driving as I haven’t driven in years, so my Dad suggested I put ‘N’ plates (Novice) on the car to show other drivers that I’m still practising. In 2014 Ireland introduced a law that every driver who passed their driving test has to have N plates on their car for 2 years after they pass. I passed mine in 2011 so I didn’t have to have them at the time, but I think it’s a great idea. People are more aware that the drivers who have N plates are still not experienced yet, so they are a bit more lenient. I feel safer with them because I do feel I need a lot more practice!

Image result for irish n plates

Source; google.com

But there are things which I don’t enjoy:

I hate passing cyclists, walkers or slow moving vehicles! I cry when I see a cyclist or anything that I have to pass. I really need to get more confident in doing it. I’ve only had to pass one and thankfully there was no oncoming traffic. ( I was literally on the other side of the road and I’m sure the other drivers were thinking ‘God they are bit dramatic’, but I managed it)

When I was practising with my Dad, there was a slow moving vehicle in front. I kept well away from it so that the other cars behind me could overtake me. Then they overtook the slow vehicle.

Hill Starts. I actually haven’t done a hill start in our new car but I remember in the Nissan Micra I didn’t enjoy it. I felt that the hand-brake wasn’t strong and that I would start going backwards. But I trust our new car so I think this will be fine.

Crossing at a T-Juntion. I hate crossing to the other side of the road when there’s a lot of traffic. I just feel like I will never get across and the other drivers behind will start beeping. At least with the N plates they kind of know that I may take longer than others, which is a bit of a relief!

But I do really like the car. It’s spacious and it even has a radio! The radio in the Micra didn’t work so they were very quiet car journeys!

So my plan is to try and practice everyday so I get more and more confident.

I just really really wish there were no cyclists or walkers or tractors or diggers or any slow vehicle that I have to overtake!

Aisling

So how did my iTalki lesson go?

So I’ve had my first iTalki lesson on Friday evening and it went well! It was my first time so I wasn’t sure how the whole thing worked. I scheduled it at 5pm and a minute before she contacted me and said she was ready.

So we spoke about my life and just things in general like Ireland and what I do. She asked me if I wanted to talk about something specific but I didn’t plan on anything because it was just a 30 minute trial lesson.

I was a bit nervous at the beginning because I hadn’t really spoken to anyone other than my husband in Spanish for a while, and because I forgot a lot of words it wasn’t as easy to speak as before. But I slowly started to calm down and spoke a bit better.

She wrote some words and phrases that I forgot and it came up on the screen so I could see them which was cool.

I was reading that it is best to go through a few teachers and pick ones that you feel most comfortable with, so for my next lessons I will try a few more people and see who I feel the best with. I also read that some people might not go and have a lesson with a certain teacher for a while so that when they start a lesson with them again then they will have a lot to talk about.

I think with this kind of thing it’s very daunting because first you are talking to someone that you never met before in a language that you aren’t comfortable speaking in, then then fact that something could go wrong with the connection and maybe you might not hear them or see them! In my lesson I couldn’t hear her at the beginning and I was starting to panic! But then it was ok!

I remember seeing iTalki months ago when I was in Mexico and I was thinking ‘But sure I’m in a Spanish speaking country already, that would be a waste of money to pay when I’m already in Mexico’. Then I read a review about the website and about one person who was already in China and they still have online lessons with Chinese speakers so that they can still practice at home. So then I realised that it actually is a good idea.

And now that I am in Ireland I felt the only way to be able to improve my Spanish would be to take classes.. which I then found out were way too expensive. So then I thought that online learning would be the next best thing.

So I will have a scroll down through the huge list of available teachers to see which one I would like to try out next. I think it is a fantastic website and I regret not using it before now…. but as always….

better late than never.

Here is the link for the website: italki language learning

Aisling

I signed up with iTalki!

So after coming back from Austria, me and my husband have started to speak more Spanish to one another. It’s hard though because the environment we are in is only English, and I don’t feel comfortable speaking Spanish in front of my family, so we have really just been speaking it when we are alone.

I remember months ago reading about the website iTalki and how you can chat to people all over the world, so I decided to go and have another look at it. I wanted to get back into speaking Spanish so I looked at private language places where I am now and they were just too expensive. So that went out the window!

I signed up to iTalki and it seems quite good. I put around €30 on my account, and then I chose a person who I wanted to have a class with. You can have a 30 minute class with them for half the price of a normal class as a tester class. The lady I chose is from Mexico and she charges around €8 for a class, with prices varying for the duration of the class. I was able to choose the day, time and how long it would be for. Then I organised the way we could have our chat and I picked Skype.

The cool thing about it is that you can choose the price of the class. Some can be over €20 whereas others could charge €5.00, so it’s good that you can decide how much you are willing to spend.

As much as I like talking to my husband in Spanish, there really is only so much you can talk about. When we did try and have practice conversations it was difficult to find a topic to discuss when we know pretty much everything about each other! That’s one of the main reasons why I want to try out iTalki!

I know my Spanish has weakened since I started going to college again, but at least if I do this maybe once or twice a week I will feel like I’m putting the effort into it once more. Even now after coming back from Austria I’m slowly starting to remember words again. At one stage I forgot what the word for ‘dog’ was in Spanish, which I was shocked about!!

So I’m looking forward to the class and hopefully my Skype will work fine. I always worry because electronics aren’t always reliable and I’m afraid that it wont work, but I rang my husband on it as a tester and it seemed fine, so fingers crossed!

Aisling

Finished Until Next Year

business college composition desk

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

The past few days I had three exams; one was about Cabin Crew and it was a mock one until the real one in May, then another was Cabin Crew Operations which had similar questions to the one I did the previous day, and then yesterday I had Tourism Principles and Practices, so all about theory. We were given 1 hour to do each one and I was rushing to finish both of them.

On Tuesday after the Cabin Crew one, one of my classmates asked me after it “Which questions did you do?” I was like “What? Sure we had to do them all!”.

“No! We could choose two to do!”

Now I know why I was rushing while everyone else was leaving early! I was scribbling and scribbling and I was wondering why everyone was finished before me! I was thinking maybe I’m just a very slow writer or something. I just about got all the questions done but that’s what I get for not reading the top of the page. The teacher never mentioned being able to choose which ones to do so I just presumed to do them all. I didn’t read anything on top of the page because I was just mad to get going! God knows if she’ll be able to read the answers towards the end of the booklet because I really was just scribbling!

The last exam was fine but again I was still rushing. I got a couple of minutes to read through everything again but I really feel she should give us more time to write everything down. I feel I did fine in all of them but I made the mistake of looking at the answers for the first exam and I started thinking ‘Oh…. I don’t think I wrote that down…. oh no I don’t think I wrote that one down either!’ So I decided to stop doing that because at that rate I would begin to imagine I didn’t write anything down!

I’m off now until January the 6th I think, but I’ve two essays to do and I have to prepare a Powerpoint Presentation, so it’s not all relaxing for me. I also have to get a few more Christmas presents so I’ll have to do that the next few days.

And the flu that I mentioned in my last post is 100% gone now, but I’ve a lingering cough which just won’t go away. I’ve been coughing up a lot of phlegm so I think my body is trying to get rid of that. It’s very annoying though because it’s constant. I do feel a bit of a difference this morning but I think It’ll take another couple of days for the cough to go.

Once I’m better for Christmas that’s the most important thing!

Aisling

Work Experience Week 1

man standing in front of front desk

Photo by Helena Lopes on Pexels.com

A posted here that I had to do 2 weeks of work experience related to customer service for my course, and I was worried that I wouldn’t get anywhere. Thankfully the hotel where my sister works accepted me to do the 2 weeks so I started there last Monday. And I have to say…. It was the LONGEST week of my entire life!

I don’t even know why!! It just dragged. I woke up on Wednesday and my heart dropped when I realised that it was only Wednesday, and that I had another 2 days to do. I work 9-5 Monday to Friday so during the week it’s quiet, so that is probably why it just seemed to drag. Then on Friday it was mad because a lot were checking in for the weekend. I work as a receptionist there.

The first day I really didn’t do much at all. The other receptionist did everything and I just kind of looked and listened to her, so that day was rather long!

Tuesday the front house manager was in and he got stuck into showing me things and getting me to practice how to use the hotel operating system. I never answered the phone but he was in the office talking to another person and to my HORROR the phone rang! I was looking at it thinking “Oh god I don’t want to answer it!” I ran into where he was and he was still talking and I thought “Oh I better answer it!” So I did and I was so nervous! I forget what the phone call was about and I probably didn’t have a clue what to say but I did it anyway. The front house manager came out to me and he said he was very surprised that I answered it on my second day. He trained other people and they didn’t answer it at all during their first week. He said that they just let it ring!

Now the only reason I answered it was because there was literally no one else to do it, so I felt I had to! I thought that if a person came over to the desk and there’s me standing next to a ringing phone then it wouldn’t look good. So for the past few days I was answering phones and usually passing it on to another receptionist or just asking them to call back. I successfully reserved a room for a lady though which I was so happy about. Usually I get flustered but I calmed down and took all her details and the room type and everything so when I put the phone down the manager came out and he said I did very well. Apparently he was listening in the office.

But if anyone who has worked with the Opera system in a hotel knows how difficult it is to use. This is the system that the hotel uses and it’s just so complicated. I can’t describe how hard it is, but I was shocked at the amount of things I have to learn. The special rates for rooms, special rates for different businesses, how to do multiple bookings in one persons name, printing out VAT receipts, loads of different billing payments for the different ways that people booked such as through booking.com, expedia.com, companies who pay their employees to stay at the hotel. The list is really endless! I thought it would be much simpler!

So for the past week I’ve been trying to get my head around the system but it’s very difficult. And the thing is If someone asks about something specific I can’t even try and guess because I’ll get it wrong. You either know it or you don’t, which made me feel very helpless.

Simple things I didn’t know, like what food is served in the restaurant, what time the gym closes at, but I’m slowly learning the basics of the job.

On Friday I learned how to book taxis and even that isn’t straightforward. I was trying to call a local taxi and it just wasn’t working. So I had to ask one of the receptionists and she said “Oh you have to put 9 at the beginning of the number”. Like how could I have known that!? Something simple like calling a number and I needed help.

I’ve another week to do and I really do wish that it was only for 1 week! It’s just so long and I actually miss going to school! I’ve learned a lot and met some lovely people but I’d rather go back to school now. I don’t get paid which doesn’t help!

I realise that I am good at talking to guests and I do have good people skills, but I’ve also realised how much I don’t know, that receptionists have to put up with a lot of sh*t from guests, and they really should be paid more than what they do. (I’ll talk about that in another post)

I hope next week goes faster and before I know it it will be 5 o clock on Friday!

Aisling