What Is Your Normal Day?

Dario’s English class. Click to enlarge.

I can’t think of anything that I get to do, that I enjoy more than visiting one of Dario Quiroz English classes. Thursday, I got a call asking if I would mind stopping into his evening class on Friday.

My calendar was free and I said I would be happy to. I arrived at 4:30 and his class and I had an hour and a half session of learning about each other. I always walk away from these sessions feeling good.

This class was especially fun. I am always interested in why they want to learn English. In the photo above, the lady immediately on my left works as a nurse at Obaldia Hospital.

I know from talking to nurses in the past that this is a very stressful job. She told me that there is so much work to do that she rushes through her lunch in 15 minutes. Couple that with a rotating 8 hour shift and toss in learning a foreign language and you have to appreciate her determination.

I asked her if she thought learning English would help her in her job and she said no. She said she just wanted to learn it.

Next to her were two students. The one on the left wants to become a cardiologist. She said she really didn’t like English, but felt it was necessary for her chosen profession. She said the second reason was that her father told her she had to learn it.

When I asked where she wanted to go to college, I was really caught off guard. The answer was Korea.

I asked the next student where she wanted to go to college. She said Korea too. I said asked if they were sisters? They said yes.

They were adamant about going to Korea and gave me many reasons from their researching the country. I told them when they get there to send me an email and tell me what they thought.

Of course they were familiar with the latest Korean Video that is receiving the most views on the Internet (Gangnam Style).

There may have been one in the class that didn’t know about the video. However, she said that she didn’t really spend much time on the Internet.

The next lady was from Nicaragua. Her English was pretty good and she was one of the least shy about participating in the class.

The lady next to her also spoke well, and participated well. I could tell that she had little trouble understanding anything I said.

The lady next to her wants to be a stewardess and was convinced English was necessary. She was one of the most timid at the beginning, but by the end of our session she was more comfortable. Her English was good, but, like many Panamanians, didn’t want to speak for fear of speaking poorly. She should not have that concern. She knew a lot and just needed to interact more.

The last lady has only been in Panama for two months and comes from Northern Spain. Her husband is here working on the hydroelectric project. This lady had the most difficulty when I spoke too fast. I always have to remember to slow down and say each word clearly.

They seemed to get a kick out of my impressions of Bostonian and an Alabamian accents. They thought it funny that I have been in places in the US, where I have had a hard time understanding English. Boston is one place. Of course some of my British friends think I don’t speak English at all.

The students always have a lot of questions. One today was, “What is your normal day?”

It was sort of fun to think about how to answer that. What would your answer be?

To answer the question, I explained the James Dean quote on the cards I had passed out. I told them my objective was to get the most out of each day and they had helped me accomplish that today.

Like I have said before, I always enjoy these sessions. I may enjoy it more than the students, but they always act appreciative for my coming.

Dario has me set up for three classes at Universidad Latina next week. One will be a day class and two will be night classes. More fun to come. It just doesn’t get better than this.

4 thoughts on “What Is Your Normal Day?

  1. Don, I would like to participate as you do in these classes when I get back. Nice post.
    Chris Smoot

  2. Hi Don,
    I can’t think of a normal day for you.
    Embassy warden, helping Tom with his medical shipments, hospital visits to those in need, English classes, trips to the interior to photograph candy production, restaurant reviews are all part of your “normal” day. That would be enough activities for most people, but then you allow us to follow along by blogging all the above and with photos! James Dean would be impressed.
    Thank you for a window to our Panama.
    jim and nena

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