Beginner Planning Help.

Hey guys! I recently got into Spanish because I was traveling in Spain and I also made some friends from Latin America that I get along with really well, so after I came back home, I decided to start learning Spanish.

I decided that I'd start learning Latin-American Spanish with the help of the book 'Madrigal's Magic Key To Spanish' in combination with 'Lingvist' which I already have a subscription for.

Once I get a little acquainted with the language, I'll start talking with my Latin American friends in Spanish to get my confidence up.

Does this sound like a good enough plan?

Tldr: I'm using 'Madrigal's Magic Key To Spanish' in combination with 'Lingvist' app followed by talking to my Latin-American friends in Spanish.

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Online Classes and

I've been wanting to learn Spanish for quite some time. Now with the outbreak and staying in my apartment for the bulk of waking hours, have a lot of time on my hands. I was looking to dive in and really jump into learning the language, so wanted to put it out there to get recommendations for ways to do that. I'd considered Babbel, MOOCs, online paid classes, buying a textbook to work through on my own. Some of the apps seem interesting but I'm not sure they would be best if I were to really want to buckle down. They seem better as a complementary way to learn, along with audiobooks, TV shows, etc. But for the 'core' of learning it, what has worked for you all? I'd be open to paying (rather than free) if it is much better for learning.

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Mexico and International Women’s Day

Sunday March 8th was International Women’s Day. All over the world, there were marches, protests and a variety of events or¬†eventos to commemorate this day. In Mexico, women marched to protest the rising violence. On Monday March 9th, they staged what was perhaps one of the biggest protests in the history of the country: Un D√≠a Sin Mujeres.

Photo taken by victorfotomx found on Flickr.com with license CC BY-ND 2.0

Día Internacional de la Mujer

International Women’s Day has been celebrated since 1911. In 1975, the UN asked all its members to to officially declare March 8th the day of International Women’s Rights. This day is not meant to only celebrate women for being women; it is more a day to remember what¬†derechos or rights have been achieved throughout the feminist movements, and to create awareness of what still has to be done.

There are two common misconception about the¬†movimiento feminista or feminist movement that the video below clarifies. First, the movement is not uniform in goals and methods. Different group of feminist men and women fight for different things. Second, the movement is not meant to “take down” men and make them lesser, but rather to give women equal opportunities in all aspects of society. The video below explains the feminist movements throughout history.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hL1VUOOGWFw?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

Situación Actual en México

During the last years, Mexico has seen a significant growth in feminicidios or femicides. In 2019, there were over a thousand feminicidios; in January of 2020, there were 73 women killed. The worst part is that these numbers are based on actual reports; there are countless of families who do not go to the police. To read more about these numbers, you can check this article.

Unfortunately, feminicidios are not the only concern. General violence towards women is on the rise including sexual violence, domestic violence and aggravated assault. In the past few months, there have been a couple of high profile cases where the male attacker went free despite the evidence. Women in Mexico, demanding that the government do something, planned what became one of the biggest marches in the country on Sunday March 8th. Estimates of the march have the numbers at close to 100,000 men and women, children and adults demanding equality, freedom and safety.

On March 9th, Mexican women¬†staged a day without them to show not only their economical and political power, but also to simulate what each individual killing would represent. Women in Mexico didn’t show up to work, did not go shopping, did not eat at restaurants, did not go to school, did not use social media. Those who were forced to go to work or school, wore purple to show their solidarity. The video below summarises what women were asking for in this day without them.

Quiero que no me insulten en la calle por lo que traigo puesto.

Quiero caminar sola sin sentir miedo.

Quiero que nos dejen de echar la culpa.

Queremos sentirnos seguras.

Queremos estar presentes.

Queremos no tener miedo cuando viajamos en transporte publico solas por la noche.

Queremos que nos crean.

Queremos estar vivas, libres y sin miedo.

Queremos que el d√≠a de hoy no sea la realidad de ma√Īana.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ypH3LDCXslM?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]

For those of you looking to learn more about the history of women in Latin America, I found this very interesting video that tells more. How is International Women’s Day where you live?

Mi experiencia en el Carnaval de Barranquilla

While Rio may have the most famous Carnaval, there’s also a huge celebration in the Colombian city of Barranquilla. In this post I’ll share more about mi experiencia en el Carnaval de Barranquilla (my experience in the Carnival of Barranquilla) along with a fun video I edited from the festivities.

Esta fue mi tercera vez celebrando el Carnaval en América Latina (This was my third time celebrating Carnival in Latin America). Previously, we traveled to Mazatlán in Mexico as well as a trio of Brazilian cities (Recife, Olinda, and Rio) for Carnaval celebrations.

The parade in Barranquilla.

Tengo un amigo de la costa de Colombia, y él me dijo que el Carnaval de Barranquilla es el mejor del mundo (I have a friend from the coast of Colombia, and he told me the Carnaval of Barranquilla is the best in the world). After experiencing Carnaval there this year, I just might agree with him!

The official saying of the Caranval de Barranquilla says a lot about what the experience is like. It is “¬°Qui√©n lo vive es qui√©n lo goza!,” which basically means “he who lives it enjoys it.” Essentially, you just have to be there to really soak up the spirit of Carnaval!

Para m√≠, realmente disfrut√© el esp√≠ritu y la pasi√≥n de los Barranquilleros (For me, I really enjoyed the spirit and passion of the Barranquilleros). As soon as we arrived, the decorations, costumes, and music of Carnaval were everywhere. They even start the festivities several weeks before the actual Carnaval. That’s how much people love this incredibly fun time of the year here.

Mucha gente en la calle!

¬°Los desfiles fueron incre√≠bles! (The parades were incredible!). It really was amazing watching two of the big parades in person. At the Batella de Flores (Battle of Flowers), we arrived a bit late and didn’t bother trying to get tickets for the stands as they were all packed. While we couldn’t see the floats very clearly, it was still tons of fun celebrating with all the people in the street. Colombians sure know how to have a good time!

On Sunday, we made it back for la Gran Parada de Tradici√≥n y Folclor (the Grand Parade of Tradition and Folklore). Compramos boletos por solo 30,000 pesos cada uno (We bought tickets for just 30,000 pesos each). That’s less than $10 each, which is pretty amazing considering 3-day parade tickets sell for over $100 online in advance!

Amazing costumes in the parade.

Los disfraces y bailes fueron muy impresionantes (The costumes and dances were very impressive). There is so much diversity in the culture of Colombia, and it was present in this amazing parade. I especially enjoyed the marimonda costume and mask, and even bought one as a souvenir.

Por supuesto, comimos mucha comida colombiana deliciosa (Of course, we ate a lot of delicious Colombian food). We had arepas, empanadas, ceviche, and some mouth-watering mote de queso – a hearty cheese soup that’s common on the coast. Be sure to check out my post about Colombian food if you’re interested to learn more about it.

This ceviche was incredible!

Las fiestas en la calle tambi√©n fueron muy divertidas (The parties in the street were a lot of fun as well). Over the few nights we were there, we partied outside of a liquor store, a pharmacy, a stadium, and someone’s garage. There’s a party around every corner here!

They say el tiempo vuela cuando te estas divirtiendo (time flies when you’re having fun), and that was certainly true for me celebrating Carnaval in Barranquilla! It was a blast and I would definitely go back and do it again.

See what Carnaval in Barranquilla is like in this fun highlight video I put together. It shows the street parties, the parades, some of the food, and a whole bunch of shenanigans. Enjoy!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nX3N5nwPIOg?feature=oembed&w=500&h=281]