When I did a firewalk with Tony Robbins about ten years ago, I walked across hot coals for fifteen feet without getting my feet burned. It was one of those defining moments that I will never forget.
Learning Spanish with two intensive courses for starters and starting to use the language every day was also a defining moment in my expat life here in Mexico. And after both classes my feet are doing just fine, as well as my mind and heart.
The Amazing Cortesía
I decided to change my life by moving to Mexico in December 2017. In all the past years that I had traveled in Mexico I never knew about the social protocols, and did not use them. Then I started studying Spanish at the Warren Hardy School in San Miguel de Allende. One of the first things that is in the Warren Hardy Spanish Level 1 course is the importance of the cortesía, or social protocols. When I started using the phrases and courtesy greetings that I learned it was and continues to be one of the most rewarding experiences of being here in Mexico in addition to speaking more Spanish.
This has also been a defining moment for me, as not am I learning Spanish, I am "living the language" by using certain greetings in Spanish with local Mexicans here in San Miguel de Allende. The way that most respond with a return greeting shows me that they appreciate how I showed my respect for their culture by using these social protocols. They may have even been surprised as they may not have been used to being greeted by foreigners in this way. This was the "surprise" for me in learning the cortesía expressions in Spanish, using them in real life encounters with the Mexican people, and experiencing the culture on a whole different level.
This cortesía is not only used in Mexico, it is a common courtesy in all Spanish speaking countries. So if you're traveling or moving to Costa Rica, or Peru, or Ecuador, or any Spanish speaking country, you will experience the culture on a deeper level by learning Spanish and practicing the cortesía..
For me the cortesía alone is worth the value of starting to study Spanish.The are just a few common phrases that you can use to connect with Mexicans and show respect for their language and culture.
Buenos dias - good morning
Buenos tardes - good afternoon"
Buenos noches - good evening
Buen provecho - enjoy your meal
Con permiso - when you want to get around someone or pass by....asking permission to be able to get through
Gracias - thank you
De nada - you're welcome
Learning Spanish is an ongoing study of practicing, review, and building vocabulary and verb usage. It doesn't happen overnight. Yet after a year of living in Mexico, I would say that I am an "advanced beginner" or "beginner intermediate"...I can carry some basic conversations, ask for things needed, use the cortesia, and even use humor that makes people smile or laugh. My own ongoing study has not been consistent, and I could be more vigilant and disciplined in my studies.
The reward for learning Spanish is as I mentioned earlier - living the language - communicating with Mexicans in their own language is one way of showing respect for the culture. Respect is very important in Mexico. Mexicans use the cortesia with each other all the time.
Disfruta aprendiendo español a tu propio ritmo y nivel de motivación.
Comience a usar la cortesia con una sonrisa de inmediato y vea qué sucede
con las respuestas.
(Enjoy learning Spanish at your own pace and level of motivation. Start using the cortesia with a smile right away and see what happens with responses. )
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