James29's Spanish and French Log

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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 12:50 pm

NoManches wrote:
James29 wrote:I did not have a chance to update my log yesterday as I typically do on Sundays. This past week I pretty much just bounced around with various movies and random shows on Netflix. There were some dubbed shows I wanted to watch and a few Mexican comedy movies that turned out to be really bad. Then, today, I started in on Duenos del Paraiso starring my friend Kate del Castillo. The good thing about Telemundo and Kate del Castillo is that their novelas are pretty much guaranteed to be watchable.

I rolled my eyes quite a bit in the first two episodes, however. I knew what I was getting into in terms of the narco plot, but it still annoys me. How many telenovelas can have the same plot? Wife/girlfriend of drug dealer takes over drug dealing business. Anyway, the Spanish is super easy to understand. I usually watch the first episode of any new telenovela with subtitles just to make sure I don't miss anything critical in the first episode. That was totally not necessary with this. It is too early to tell, but I'll probably be able to watch the whole show despite the cheesy violence scenes.

I really don't do much more in Spanish. I speak every now and then (probably once a week now) at work with a customer. I also go to the local meetup. I go to lunch at the local Mexican restaurant so often that they have started giving me extra stuff. I order the same thing every time and they have it ready for me as soon as I walk in the door. They all speak Spanish there which is cool. I've gotten to know everyone there including the owner and the cooks out back.

I was traveling last week and visited a different Mexican restaurant and my Spanish was impeccable. I mean I felt like a genuine native speaker. It was a great time... I just wish I liked Mexican food more.

I really do not feel like I am "learning" or "studying" Spanish at all. It is just part of my life and I don't even really think about it. When I went into the new Mexican restaurant last week I just launched into Spanish with the hostess and waitress because they obviously spoke Spanish. It just seems easier. It is not something I even think about anymore.

Well, that's it for this week.



I've mentioned before how I'm a big fan of Kate del Castillo too. I'll have to check out that show, it sounds like it will keep me busy until the next season of Ingobernable (which I still can't find a release date for).

I can't wait for the day when my Spanish is so good that I feel like a native speaker. I've had a few days really close to this level, but normally I make a few mistakes or say something that reminds me I need to keep working. It's always a good feeling when you make friends and acquaintances because of a foreign language. I used to be a "regular" at a Mexican restaurant before I moved, and it was always a great opportunity to speak Spanish. I need to seek out some new Spanish speaking friends.


I just wish I liked Mexican food more.


My love for tacos is probably the reason why I normally suck at running. I've cut back drastically and my running has improved. I think anything is good in moderation but my love for Mexican food was holding me back :D

And one more thing, what are your thoughts on the grammar books you have used? (Based on your log it seems like you have used Gramática de uso del Español. B1-B2 and the C1-C2 book).

It's only been a few years since I took a Spanish grammar course in college, but I feel myself getting really rusty. I think going through a grammar book at my own pace will be very beneficial for me. I'm not sure if I should go with the B1-B2 book or the C1-C2 book. My Spanish is still somewhere in the B2 range. I've covered all the verb tenses and advanced grammar on college but it's been a few years.

I've probably mentioned this before but your log is a huge inspiration for me. I feel like I can relate to many of the things you talk about (especially when I look at your older entries). I've only been learning Spanish for around 4 years during a 5 year span (after taking a year off due to work training). Im a few years behind you but I can look at your log and almost predict where I will be based on the things you have done and experienced in your Spanish journey. I'm sure I've mentioned this before but it's worth saying again.


Duenos del Paraiso is a pretty solid telenovela. The narco theme is not too bad. Obviously that is the premise of the whole story but the story is more about the characters and the development of the main characters is pretty good. Because it was on Telemundo the on screen violence is pretty tame. I'm on episode 20 now and will definitely continue all the way through. So far there have not been any ridiculous scenes like in so many novelas. And, the producers seemed to have taken the strategy to choose the most attractive women actresses possible. It takes place in the late 70s and there is definitely a disco-type feel. It feels like watching a 70s cop show like Starsky and Hutch or Hunter or something like that.

In terms of the grammar books, I cannot speak highly enough about them. I only did the B level book. I have the C level book but have not yet done it. It is really the only thing on my list that is "studying". The books are outstanding. The only thing I'd note to be careful of is that they are a bit easier than I thought they'd be. The B book seems to be for people who want to get to the B level, not for people who are already there. The same with the C level. The C level looks like it would be a pretty good/easy solid review for me so I'll do it.

I have not been updating my log lately because my home computer seems to be having problems connecting to the internet. I've been doing more of the same... working through Duenos del Paraiso (and liking it). I also read a bit every week from Atlas Shrugged. I also have been going to my local meetup.

This week at the meetup a guy came who has not been in about two years. He was stunned how much my Spanish has improved. This was really encouraging. My Spanish was pretty good two years ago and I feel like I have improved quite a bit and this was the proof. I'm just speaking much more effortlessly and fluidly.

I also was traveling and visited a nice small little Cuban restaurant. That was really cool. I chatted with the owners and made some new "friends" that I'll probably see again next time I'm in town.
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NoManches
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby NoManches » Mon Jun 25, 2018 1:34 pm

I already made it to episode 4 of Dueños del Paraíso and I'm hooked. Thanks for the recommendation!

I'll consider buying the c level book after I do a review of another grammar book I recently purchased.

Also, glad to hear that somebody was able to measure your Spanish progress. It just goes to show how much one can improve if they are "in it for the long run". Being consistent over a long period of time is the key to true fluency in my opinion. Te felicito
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Mon Jun 25, 2018 9:02 pm

NoManches wrote:I already made it to episode 4 of Dueños del Paraíso and I'm hooked. Thanks for the recommendation!

I'll consider buying the c level book after I do a review of another grammar book I recently purchased.

Also, glad to hear that somebody was able to measure your Spanish progress. It just goes to show how much one can improve if they are "in it for the long run". Being consistent over a long period of time is the key to true fluency in my opinion. Te felicito


The McGraw-Hill Spanish Grammar books are identical and were much cheaper when I bought them. I think they are just the American version of the same thing. The physical quality of the book is cheaper than the Spanish version but if you want to save a few bucks you can get the exact same content with the McGraw-Hill version.

https://www.amazon.com/McGraw-Hill-Educ ... sh+grammar
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Tue Jul 10, 2018 12:01 pm

Well, I'm back on track now after a few different weeks. I had my short trip to Montreal since my last log update. It was a very nice trip. Montreal is a nice city and it is much more French than I was expecting. I was expecting it to be much more 50/50 bilingual. It really felt like a French city, but everyone seemed to also speak English. My French is a complete disaster but I managed to get by on the very basic things like ordering food and checking into my hotel. I really could not do much. My reading helped as I was able to read directions, pamphlets, city guides, etc. The trip was short and I was working much of the time so it was not really much of a language trip... but it was fun while it lasted.

I'm still watching Duenos del Paraiso with Kate del Castillo. I'm more than halfway through it now. I'm watching about 10 episodes in a regular week so I'll finish it pretty quickly. I don't think I've ever watched a show that I understand better. It really feels like I understand everything about as well as if it were in English. This is probably a combination of my Spanish improving and also the very easy accents of the actors. I do have a tad bit of a problem understanding Paula. She is a young Colombian woman and speaks with a strong paisa accent and, like the other Colombians in the show, uses a lot of slang. She also seems to be turning into the most "interesting" character.

I had an old college friend visit with his Colombian wife. We had a blast. I had not seen them for about 8 years. In fact, the last time I visited them was when I decided to learn Spanish. I had been thinking of learning Spanish and then I went and visited them. Talking with her was the final kick in the pants to get me on my journey. It was really cool seeing them and speaking in Spanish with her.

I had a couple nice long talks with a Spanish skype partner I have not talked with for a while. That was nice. It is interesting how that used to be a very big part of my Spanish practice and it has all but disappeared. I built some really great friendships.

Well, I hope to get back on my regular Sunday log update as that seems to motivate me to keep things consistent.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:25 pm

Well, I'm completely off my regular Sunday log update schedule. It has been HOT lately so I've been going running early on Sundays and then just get going with the day. I found my log was always a good way to keep me "honest" and report my progress in Spanish. I like it for that that reason.

In terms of what I've been doing lately with Spanish, it is more of what I've been doing for the past few months. I'm watching the Kate del Castillo telenovela, Duenos del Paraiso. I usually watch two episodes a day. I really like it. It is really holding my interest. The story line is good enough to keep me interested for the entire haul which is difficult for a 70+ episode telenovela. There has not been a scene or sub plot where I have rolled my eyes (no surprise evil twins yet). The acting is definitely pretty high quality.

I'm also continuing to slowly work toward the end of Atlas Shrugged. I should look back in my log and see when I started the book this time. It feels like I've been working on this book forever. I think I started it in about November. It is a LONG book. I'm almost done. I think I have about 70 pages left.

I still do the Spanish meetup groups and chat with some of my native speaking friends regularly. I've noticed that I'm so busy at work and going a mile a minute all the time that I am now avoiding speaking with Spanish speaking customers and seem to ask my assistant to do that. I thought about that today. I think it is because when I speak Spanish I feel like I am in slow motion and taking 30 minutes for a phone call that would be about 20 minutes in English just pains me too much at work. Unfortunately, I've been so busy at work (which is actually really good) that I still have not done anything with my Spanish speaking business. Maybe that will start happening soon.

I don't have any trips on my horizon. Maybe I need to start thinking about a trip for the winter.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Tue Aug 21, 2018 9:13 pm

Holy cow, it has been three weeks since I have updated my log. I am just too busy with life. But, the good news is that I maintain my great Spanish habit.

I finished Atlas Shrugged. Huge book. Felt good. I don't like the ending in terms of what happens to Eddie. I'm glad I read it, but I'm ready to start something else.

I started the telenovela "Guerra de Idolos." It was originally on Telemundo so I assumed it would be good and it has no narco plot in it so that was my choice. I'm somewhere around episode 12 now. My BIG complaint about this show is that it just throws you right into a complicated plot. There is no building up. You have to figure out and remember who about 30 different people are right from the start. I found it very difficult to keep people straight. I still don't remember some of the relationships or who is who. That being said, it is a high quality novela and it is good enough. I'll stick with it.

I still do my regular meetup and occasionally talk at work.

I'll hopefully find a good book and hit the beach before the summer is over!
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Sun Sep 02, 2018 10:58 pm

Wow, it is pretty amazing how many logs there are on this site now. It is incredible how this website has grown! Certainly keeping this log has been a huge part of my Spanish learning success. I think this log has been going now for about 8 or 9 years now... going back to the prior website. I feel kind of silly now because my Spanish is now just for having fun.

Anyway, I am still watching the telenovela Guerra de Idolos. I'll keep going with it but is not the greatest. I've been having audio problems with my treadmill laptop. For a couple days I only was able to listen in one earbud. Another day it was just a horrible connection. Another day it just did not work. I was pleased with my comprehension under bad conditions. I think I have things back on track and hopefully the audio will work well this week.

I bought a 10 book bundle of Raul Garbantes books. The books were first recommended to me on this website by someone. Whoever that was who recommended them to me... thank you. The ten books cost about $8 so I said, "why not?" The first book is actually a book of three short stories about a detective. I finished the first short story today on the beach. My reading skills have suffered from such little reading. I think I'll get it back pretty fast. These books seem to be exactly what I am looking for. They are short-ish being about 180 or so pages each. That is about perfect for me. They are mysteries/suspense/detective stories which I really like. They seem to be pretty easy to read and follow. I need easy reading for a while. Tomorrow is going to be another beach day and I'll bring my kindle!

I don't do much else in Spanish other than the regular chatting with friends and co-workers in Spanish and the meetup.
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby NoManches » Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:43 pm

James29 wrote:
I bought a 10 book bundle of Raul Garbantes books. The books were first recommended to me on this website by someone. Whoever that was who recommended them to me... thank you. The ten books cost about $8 so I said, "why not?" The first book is actually a book of three short stories about a detective. I finished the first short story today on the beach. My reading skills have suffered from such little reading. I think I'll get it back pretty fast. These books seem to be exactly what I am looking for. They are short-ish being about 180 or so pages each. That is about perfect for me. They are mysteries/suspense/detective stories which I really like. They seem to be pretty easy to read and follow. I need easy reading for a while. Tomorrow is going to be another beach day and I'll bring my kindle!

I don't do much else in Spanish other than the regular chatting with friends and co-workers in Spanish and the meetup.



That person must have been me. I just finished Tiroteo and now I'm working on Fuego Cruzado All by that one author. I originally downloaded the bundle you mentioned it but returned it because didn't like the format. It just didn't work on my Paperwhite Kindle for some reason. I'm paying a little more now for each book but I don't mind paying the extra money...especiyif it means the author will keep writing books.
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James29
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby James29 » Tue Sep 04, 2018 11:39 am

NoManches wrote:
James29 wrote:
I bought a 10 book bundle of Raul Garbantes books. The books were first recommended to me on this website by someone. Whoever that was who recommended them to me... thank you. The ten books cost about $8 so I said, "why not?" The first book is actually a book of three short stories about a detective. I finished the first short story today on the beach. My reading skills have suffered from such little reading. I think I'll get it back pretty fast. These books seem to be exactly what I am looking for. They are short-ish being about 180 or so pages each. That is about perfect for me. They are mysteries/suspense/detective stories which I really like. They seem to be pretty easy to read and follow. I need easy reading for a while. Tomorrow is going to be another beach day and I'll bring my kindle!

I don't do much else in Spanish other than the regular chatting with friends and co-workers in Spanish and the meetup.



That person must have been me. I just finished Tiroteo and now I'm working on Fuego Cruzado All by that one author. I originally downloaded the bundle you mentioned it but returned it because didn't like the format. It just didn't work on my Paperwhite Kindle for some reason. I'm paying a little more now for each book but I don't mind paying the extra money...especiyif it means the author will keep writing books.


Well, thank you to you NoManches. I like the book so far. Just as an FYI, there are two Raul Garbantes bundles on Amazon. I think the one you got is the 8 book bundle that has been on there for a while. There is a 10 book bundle also that has not been available for too long. I got the 10 book bundle. For some reason the "time left in chapter" function does not work on the book, but, other than that, it seems to work well on my Kindle. Thanks again for the recommendation. I read the entire second short story yesterday on the beach. :)
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NoManches
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Re: James29's Spanish and French Log

Postby NoManches » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:13 pm

Also, looks like the second season of Ingobernable 2 will be available on September 14th...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqQOk1BWkdM
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