Fourteen Plus One = A Good Time


Yesterday, Dario invited me to attend one of his evening Universad Latina English classes to provide a conversation exercise for his students. My last visit with one of Dario’s classes had only two students. This class had 13 students. When you take Dario plus his thirteen students and toss in an aging extranjero, it makes for an interesting evening. At least for the aging extranjero.

This was the first evening class I have gone to and the parking lot was completely full. I got the last spot.

Apparently, Dario had told the students that they wouldn’t have a test, if they could keep asking questions for the entire hour. They succeeded. We covered the gambit from US politics, to David restaurants (I got a couple new places to go). It was a very good group and, as always, I had a great time.

Most questions don’t surprise me. Why did you move to Panama? Why Panama and not another Latin American country? Why don’t you live in Boquete? What is your favorite Panamanian food? What type of work do you do? What are your hobbies? …

The question I always get, that for some reason always surprises me, is, “How old are you?”

It make me wonder if they are surprised that a person my age is still walking and talking. Maybe they are just checking to see, if I have had personal experience in World War II. Maybe they have an aging grandmother who is in need of some companionship. Whatever the reason, that question always gets asked. Last night, my response was “Would you believe 35?”

From the reaction, I don’t think they bought it.

The photo above was taken by Dario. See if you can find the 35 year old extranjero. The photos below will give you a better view of the students. Dario is in the tan shirt in the first photo.

If you are as lucky as I have been and get the opportunity to participate with groups such as these, who are learning English, take advantage of it. You will enjoy your time in Panama much more for having done it.

7 thoughts on “Fourteen Plus One = A Good Time

  1. An interesting post. You sure get around Don. I wonder if there would be any interest in the English-English among us to start a course for North Americans and Canadians to learn to speak “Proper English”?
    We could also offer a crash course in “Cockney” (or Rhyming Slang) for those who can afford to make a trip to London. I pride myself as an expert in Rhyming Slang as I was a Bobby in London way, way back.
    For instance:
    Apples and pears = Stairs
    Whistle and flute = Suit
    Jam jar = Car
    Frog and toad = Road
    Trouble and strife = Wife
    I could go on indefinitely but would not to bore the pants off you.

  2. Hi Mike. I thought one of reasons for the American Revolution was that a lot of English-English speaking people wanted a place where they could have the freedom to create a proper English. 🙂

    I enjoyed your Rhyming Slang, especially “Trouble and strife”.

  3. I’m sorry Don. I was under the impression that English-English started with “Olde English” back in the 4th to 12th century. That would be around 400 – 1200 AD. As my American history is somewhat limited to the questions on the citizenship test, I don’t know how it was changed in so many ways by the early settlers.
    However, here is a web site you and/or your readers may find interesting.
    http://www.cockneyrhymingslang.co.uk/cockney_rhyming_slang

  4. Don,

    They want to know how old you are because the girls are looking to score a rich Gringo with one foot in the grave.

    Well, at least that’s why I’m attracted to you… 😉

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