Learning Spanish in Mexico

by : Wain Roy

I had originally figured the act of immersing myself in Mexico would teach me Spanish through the process of osmosis; an involuntary movement of information from people who know something in the direction of those who don't.

I figured the step would be relatively easy considering I'd be surrounded by Mexicans and the Latin way of life, which I envisioned symbolized by a nice array of chilies and sombreros; the type you might see in the lobby of a Mexican restaurant.

But upon arriving in Tulum and checking in a Tulum hotel, Mexico and being rendered speechless for approximately six weeks, my fantasies were proven just that, unrealistic.

I'd been told that Mexicans speak slowly compared to a number of other Spanish-speaking demographics of the world, but roughly six million times a day I could vouch personally that the velocity at which they deliver their cryptic language was near the speed of light.

Slowly, I started to pick up hispanic nuances that not even my high school Spanish teacher had cared to share, and my lingual prowess came to resemble that of a baby; speaking in short, syncopated words, and using erratic hand gestures as backup.

Mexicans tended to look at me the way you might a talking cod, as if they couldn't believe the words that were seeping so effortlessly out of my mouth.

Spanish in Tulum is not impossible to conquer, but expecting it to be a piece of cheese cake as I did can get you off on the wrong foot, and honestly, I know many other foreigners who picked up the language far faster than I did; a feat that, in hindsight, could not have been all that difficult.