"This (learning Spanish) is more than a matter of respect for Nicaraguan Culture and appreciation for where you are. It is a practical necessity. English speaking Nicaraguans are few and far between ... your Spanish skills are all that stand between you, adventure and disaster." Living Abroad in Nicaragua
The above quote is not something that gladdens the heart of someone as linguistically challenged as me. I leave Vietnam knowing how to argue over prices, say "hi" and "how are you" and ask directions. I also know a dozen different words and phrases all essentially meaning "you are crazy".
But learning even that small amount, was not fun.
Spanish, however, will be different. It has to be different.
Firstly, as everyone keeps telling me, Spanish is a whole lot easier than Vietnamese. None of those pesky tones to deal with. Well not to the same extent anyway.
So, in order to make a start, I've subscribed to Coffee Break Spanish which has been uploading itself to my Ipod faster than I can listen and learn. I don't drink enough lattes I guess.
On the downside I do appear to be learning Spanish Spanish, as opposed to Central American Spanish, and to make matters worse, the teachers are bizarrely Scottish. They also have an irritating habit of banging on about how many listeners they have when all you really want is for the lesson to start.
For this reason, amongst many others, the male and female team have already earned four-lettered nicknames with which we address them as we parrot back our holas.
Other plans for fluency inside a targeted six months, include ongoing Spanish lessons, possibly of the immersion variety and definitely a trip here. I've also signed up to Word of the Day. Although yesterday's word was the rather useless "levadura". That's "yeast" in English.
I am, however, slightly worried that travel guru Ralf reckons:
"Avoid traveling with partners who do not share your interest in learning to speak another language..." article here.
That appears a little strong. But I am now left hoping that my more linguistically enthusiastic girlfriend won't dump me over this.
I'll keep you informed of our progress, plus any subsequent break up.