Do you want to learn Spanish? So do I. I'm half Latina, but Spanish was forbidden from being spoken in my house when I was young. By the time I got older, it felt more intimidating and harder to focus on learning a new language. But that part of me that yearns to connect, to understand, to communicate has only grown larger over time. THIS YEAR, I'M NOT LETTING EXCUSES GET IN THE WAY!
This post was supposed to be the first YouTube video in a series designed to bring you along on my Spanish journey! Technological difficulty means any YouTube recording has to wait till I get a new phone.
I've always had refurbished smart phones, and it took me way longer than average to even get to that point! Flip phones for life ;) Apple is rumored to release a new iPhone SE2 (or iPhone 9) this spring that will feature entry level/much lower prices and the internal processor of their new, higher end models. I don't know technology, so feel free to google and see what I'm referring to! Either way, I'm wildly excited and this will be the first new smart phone I plan on buying -- with the idea that it's decently future-proofed and can last a good long while. Here's hoping! Until I get that phone, my YouTube channel is on hold.
Like so much in life, smartphones are tools. And learning to recognize the right tool for the right job is always the first step in getting things done.
I have three books I'll be using on my journey:
-The Everything Spanish Grammar Book: All the rules you need to master Español by Julie Gutin
-Gramática Apasionada: Reminiscences of a Love Affair with the Spanish Language by James K. Gavin
-Spanish Vocabulary: Second Edition by Dorothy Richmond
In addition, I love watching Spanish-language TV shows. I also love Bad Bunny, Natti Natasha, etc but the music will wait for another blog post :)
Here is a roundup of my favorite Spanish-Language TV shows:
Show: Velvet (NETFLIX)
Gist: This show is set in a fashion house in Spain during the late the 1950s. Follow the hopes and dreams of a sweet, charming seamstress with always more going on than meets the eye.
Why I like it: I love it for the same reasons that I love Downton Abbey. The time-period costumes, the romantic subplots, the earnest like-ability of the two main characters. I do think that two of the supporting characters, Rita & Pablo, nearly manage to steal the whole show! There's everything to love and nothing to hate. Velvet does have a second/spin off show called Velvet Colleción I haven't been able to really get into. But Velvet? Forever a favorite!
Show: Cable Girls (NETFLIX)
Gist: 1920s Spain, and Madrid houses a successful telephone company. The main character gets a job as a telephone operator, passing herself off as just another cable girl, but is hiding a giant secret.
Why I like it: While Velvet is all feel-good sweetness, Cable Girls has a refined edge to it. There's murder, secrecy, queer folks -- and still all the fun period-costumes a history-loving heart could wish for. I'm currently watching this! Don't spoil it, please :D
Show: Grand Hotel / Gran Hotel (NETFLIX)
Gist: (this is from Wikipedia. Thanks Wiki!) "The series, filmed at the Palacio de la Magdalena in Santander, is set in an early 20th century aristocratic hotel during the reign of King Alfonso XIII and is centered on the mysteries that involve the owner's family and the hotel servants."
Why I like it: This is probably the closest to Downton Abbey of all the shows. I don't know why all my favorites are historical! I haven't totally finished watching this show, but adore the romance, costumes, class politics, and unfolding mystery.
Show: House of Flowers / Casa de Las Flores (NETFLIX)
Gist: Mexican comedy-drama. It depicts a dysfunctional upper-class Mexican family that owns a prestigious flower shop called 'La Casa de las Flores'." (thanks Wiki!). MODERN DAY!
Why I like it: I've had a hard time getting into season 2, but I LOVED season 1! It might all be the way that Paulina talks? If you watch, you'll start to understand what I mean. It's a fun, occasionally sad, show that gives a peak into wealthy worlds.
SPECIAL MENTION: One Date a Time (NETFLIX)
While One Day At a Time isn't a Spanish-language TV show, there is a fair amount of Spanish that gets spoken. I resonate SO deeply with this fun, light-hearted AND deep television show. While the side of my family I know best is Puerto Rican, and the family on this show are Cuban, it still hits so very close to home.
I see my mom and my grandma in the dynamics between main character Penelope and her mom Lydia (literally, I think my mom and grandma have had many of the exact same conversations before).
I see myself in Penelope (a hot-mess of a mom with PTSD, big dreams, and big curls), and I see myself in her teenage daughter Elena (queer, a bit of a dork, and unable to speak Spanish). The son Alex is charming and adorable, and neighbor/best-friend Schneider is a great reminder for all white folks to check their privilege and ridiculousness at the door. Every single person on the show is both love-able and interesting, with so much story to be told.
One Day At a Time has touched my heart and made me sob real tears, but usually just makes me laugh till my stomach hurts. It's high-quality writing and acting. The worst part is the laugh-track, but it only takes a few episodes till you don't even notice it anymore. Go binge the existing seasons, and wait with me on the release of the next!
That's all for now! Join me the third Sunday of every month to Learn Spanish With Me :) Are you learning Spanish? Do you speak Spanish? What are some of your favorite Spanish-language TV shows? Drop a comment, tell me (and everyone else) all about it!