Question: Can you learn to speak Spanish later in life?
I am asked this quite often.
Here’s a typical question from my blog:
I am 65 years old and have wondered if it’s possible to become fluent in a new language at my age? – Lyn
Thanks for the question Lyn. When I started learning Spanish, I was pushing forty. And even at my ‘young’ age, it was a struggle to learn Spanish using the traditional methods.
That’s why I had to discover new methods of learning a language at any age…and these methods have not only worked for me, but they’ve also worked for thousands of my students.
I’m currently 52 and about to start my next language.
Now, I know, 52 is still very young, so let’s look at some other blog comments from my students your age and older.
I started learning Spanish at 65 years of age (now 68), and even my wife can’t believe how well I do when we go to Mexico…I make it an objective to speak only Spanish with the native speakers… – J Laurier
I have lived in Spain for 20 years & know a lot of words but only now since taking your course can I string sentences together. By the way, I am 82 years old. Thanks Marcus. Keep up the good work. – Mary
At the age of 74, I have tried other ways of learning but nothing has grabbed me like your teaching method. Spending two months in Spain to get away from the Northern European winter has become so much more enjoyable now that I can interact better with the native Spaniards. – Steve
You have helped me get a good start with your very carefully thought out methods which are as ‘clear’ as one can hope for. I’m almost 80 years old and I have no problem at all with your lessons. – John
I have taken many language courses in my youth and they were a real struggle! When you told me how easy yours was, I thought “Oh yeah” and at my age 76 I do not stand a chance, but what a surprise! It is easier and more exciting than I ever thought it would be, I cannot wait for the next lesson. – Ramon
At 65, you’re still a spring chicken when it comes to learning Spanish, when you do it the right way.
My oldest student so far was 96 and many of my students are in their 70s and 80s, just like the students who commented above.
Spanish Communication Coach
Dollar Mexican Peso Chart
“Hey, lookee this,” said Jim hearing the news on TV. “Remember, when we first came here a dollar was worth eleven and a half pesos?”
“Yeah,” I answered.
“Well we’re getting a bit richer now as one dollar is now worth over twenty pesos,” said Jim.
“Geez, Jim, we’re gettin’ about double the pesos for our social security checks than when we came here!” I answered.
“MaryAnn, Seems the peso dropped a lot after Mexico’s president, Enrique Peña Nieto, had his meeting canceled with Trump who said, ‘The U.S. has a 60 billion dollar trade deficit with Mexico. It has been a one-sided deal from the beginning of NAFTA with massive numbers of jobs and companies lost. If Mexico is unwilling to pay for the badly needed wall, then it would be better to cancel the upcoming meeting.'”
“Yeah, Jim that’s not just a super deal for us, but for all Americans living in Mexico.”
“And even for tourists,” answered Jim.
“Think Trump is gonna build the wall, Jim?”
“Shucks, what do I know about that—just happy to be gettin’ 21 pesos to the dollar, instead of 11, back when,” laughed Jim. Here, listen to this, “Peña Nieto said, “I regret and reject the decision of the US to build the wall.”
“Who knows,” I said, “Anyway wall or no wall we got our Sentri passes and can always make it to America in ten minutes.”
“You betcha,” answered Jim.
Shootout at U.S. Consulate Part of ISIS Terrorist Attack Plan for Inauguration
“Let me read you part of this here Judicial Watch report,” said Jim.
“Well OK,” I replied, not knowing what Jim was gonna read.
“Get this,” said Jim.
“Islamic terrorists are finding common ground with narcotics traffickers.
A deadly shootout at the construction site of the new American consulate occurred this week in a Mexican border town where Islamic terrorists and drug cartels plan to launch attacks against the U.S. during the period surrounding the presidential inauguration, accord ing to high-level government sources.
In the incident, a number of gunmen fired multiple rounds adjacent to the new U.S. consulate compound in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico,which lies directly across from Laredo, Texas.
At least three Mexican soldiers were either killed or critically wounded in the ambush.
Law enforcement and intelligence sources say the barrage outside what’s soon to be the new U.S. consulate is connected to a broad operation between Islamic terrorists and Mexican drug cartels to send President-elect Donald Trump a message by engaging in attacks at border ports.
“Cartels usually don’t work with jihadists for fear of having the border shut down, but Trump is causing so much disruption in Mexico that they are partnering to send a message as to who is in control. This is as outrageous as a small group of guys crashing planes into U.S. buildings,” according to an official source. Another source said “Trump is causing a huge amount of fear in Mexico throughout all sectors; private, government, business, criminal, police….”
“Well that’s new,” I said. Jim continued.
“Nuevo Laredo is among the border towns that the terrorists and narcotraffickers plan to launch attacks in the U.S. and Mexico. Others include Matamoros, Reynosa and Ciudad Juárez. In 2015 Judicial Watch reported that ISIS is operating a camp just west of Ciudad Juárez, around eight miles from El Paso. Sources that include a Mexican Army field grade officer and Mexican Federal Police inspector revealed that, during a joint operation, they discovered documents in Arabic and Urdu, as well as “plans” for Fort Bliss – the sprawling military installation in El Paso that houses the US Army’s 1st Armored Division. Muslim prayer rugs were recovered with the documents during the operation.
Just last week Judicial Watch reported that a Jihadi-cartel alliance in the Mexican state of Nuevo León is collaborating to carry out attacks in American cities and ports of entry along the southern border. Confidential U.S. and Mexican law enforcement sources said that, as part of the plan, militant Islamists have arrived recently at the Monterrey International Airport situated in Apodaca, Nuevo León, about 130 miles south of the Texas border. An internal Mexican law enforcement report obtained by Judicial Watch confirms that Islamic terrorists have “people along the border, principally in Tijuana, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.” Cartel informants tell law enforcement contacts that “they are only waiting for the order and the times to carry out a simultaneous attack in the different ports of entry or cities of the United States of America.”
The area where this week’s shootout originated is a 5.6-acre parcel just south of downtown Nuevo Laredo on Paseo Colon. The State Department predicts that by September the new U.S. consulate compound, which broke ground in mid-2015 and will cost $155 million, should be completed. It will have multiple buildings, including an office structure, U.S. Marine Security Guard residence, support annex and other facilities for the consulate community. The primary function of consulates is helping and protecting Americans abroad.”
“Well that ain’t here in Mexicali, at least,” I answered.
“Yeah,” said Jim, “but them there liberals, like MSNBC and CNN are busy broadcasting fake news, the press ain’t interested in Mexico and most Americans ain’t aware of the threat.” Jim continued,
“Mexican drug cartels have burrowed dozens of tunnels in the last decade, outfitted them with rail and cart systems to whisk drugs under the U.S. border and, after being discovered by authorities, abandoned them.
But some of the illicit passageways live on.
At least six previously discovered border tunnels have been reactivated by Mexican trafficking groups in recent years, exposing a recurring large-scale smuggling threat, according to U.S. and Mexican law enforcement officials.
Now an estimated 20 large tunnels, constructed before and after 2007, remain largely intact on the Mexican side, according to U.S. and Mexican officials.When border fencing went up, traffickers moved underground. Since 2006 there have been 148 tunnels built, according to the DHS, most of them in Arizona and California.
The biggest underground threats now come from what border officials refer to as “super tunnels,” which cost millions of dollars to dig and feature sophisticated touches like lighting and ventilation systems that extend for hundreds of yards down wood-beamed passageways.
Most have been constructed in San Diego’s Otay Mesa region, 20 miles south of downtown San Diego.
In April 2014, U.S. and Mexican authorities were back in the same area. Traffickers had dug 700 yards from a window repair shop in Tijuana to another warehouse in San Diego.When U.S. agents toured the tunnel they noticed that one segment was lined with older-looking electrical wiring and wooden support beams. It also had two sets of ventilation and cart tracks.
The election day tunnel, they determined, had been reactivated — about 1,025 feet of it.
Two more tunnels have seen resumed activity under the Mexicali-Calexico border, 100 miles east of San Diego, according to Homeland Security Investigations.
“Hey, gimmie that there Judicial thing article, Jim,” I yelled.
“Take a look, MaryAnne” said Jim, laughing.
According to CNN, shortly before 1 a.m. on Monday, seven armed men stormed into a trendy restaurant on the main drag of Mexican beach resort Puerto Vallarta.
They interrupted a group of revelers in the white-walled restaurant, separating the men from the women, and left with a high-value captive, according to Mexican authorities.
Jesus Alfredo Guzman, the 29-year-old son of jailed Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, was among the six men kidnapped, Jalisco Attorney General Eduardo Almaguer said at a news conference Tuesday.
The kidnapping is the latest blow to the elder Guzman’s efforts from behind bars to maintain his Sinaloa
cartel’s dominance in the region amid challenges from an emerging rivals.
Jesus Alfredo and his brother Ivan Archivaldo Guzman are thought to be involved with the Sinaloa cartel, along with Guzman’s son by another woman, Ovidio Guzmán Lopez.
The Mexican army, marines, federal police, state police and the country’s top prosecution office are searching for the missing men as well as those responsible. However, no one has contacted Mexican authorities to report the men missing, and authorities have not heard from the kidnappers.
Jesus Alfredo is the youngest of El Chapo’s two children from his first marriage.
I want to share with you a handy conversation pattern that you can add to your Spanish repertoire today.
It’s an easy pattern that helps you get-by in the language.
I call it a conversation pattern because you can use it to say a lot with a little.
In Synergy Spanish you can use conversation patterns to make as many as 88,000 phrases from
just 138 words.
The great thing about patterns like this is that as well as being authentic everyday Spanish, they feel natural and familiar to English speakers.
You can use them right away.
Here’s today’s pattern.
Estoy a punto de cumplir cincuenta años.
I am about to turn fifty years old.
Estoy a punto de tener un fiesta.
I am about to have a party.
Estoy a punto de hacer las decoraciones.
I am about to make the decorations.
All you do is attach a verb to estoy a punto de and you’re speaking with real Spanish sentences.
Estoy a punto de hablar más español.
I am about to speak more Spanish.
See how natural those phrases feel?
That’s because it’s an everyday conversation pattern.
Conversation patterns are powerful and easy to speak with.
These speaking patterns allow you to take just 138 words and make as many as 88,000 Spanish phrases.
There’s no faster or easier way to get by in the language than starting with these speaking patterns.
Synergy Spanish is filled with conversation patterns like these.
And when you are ready, you can take your Spanish into the real world and speak confidently with your amigos.
Why don’t you add a new dimension to your life by getting by in Spanish the easiest and fastest way possible?
Spanish Communication Coach
Calexico Drug Tunnel House
U.S. authorities on Wednesday seized a cross-border tunnel that ran the length of four football fields from a restaurant in Mexicali, Mexico, to a newly-built house in Calexico, California, following an investigation that netted more than a ton of marijuana and resulted in four arrests.
The drug raid has started with Mexican police entering El Sarape restaurant in Mexicali, Mexico, and capturing two men, Zuleth Yesennia Duarte Medina and Adrián Guadalupe Armendáriz. El Sarape is located on Bravo 140, Centro, 21000 Mexicali, B.C., Mexico with a telephone number of +52 686 554 2287.
Prosecutors say the first tunnel shipment occurred Feb. 28, leading to the seizure of 1,350 pounds of marijuana in Los Angeles.
The tunnel was the 12th completed secret passage that U.S. authorities have discovered along California’s border with Mexico since 2006. They have found more than 75 along the entire U.S.-Mexico border in the last five years, mostly in California and Arizona—many of them incomplete.
“This house and tunnel were constructed under the watchful eye of law enforcement,” said Laura Duffy, U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California. “For the builders, the financiers and the operators of these passageways, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. We will seize your drugs and your tunnel before you even have a chance to use it.”
Two men were arrested Wednesday in Calexico—one at the tunnel house and another at a house believed to have been used to store drugs—and charged drug trafficking crimes, authorities said. Two women were arrested Tuesday in Arizona, including the purchaser of the Calexico house.
A fifth suspect has been arrested regarding the drug tunnel in Calexico. His name is Agustin Enrique Cruz. He has been indicted on five counts, including construction, financing and use of a tunnel, money laundering, maintaining drug related premises, among other counts.
Homeland Security Investigations said another house and a warehouse in Calexico were designated to store marijuana until drivers could take the drugs farther north.
Cruz along with a co-conspirator traveled from Arizona to Calexico on several occasions throughout November 2014 and December 2014. In January 2014 Cruz and the co-conspirator found the property on Dool Avenue and Third Street in Calexico and purchased it for $240,000.
On June 18, 2015, based on the wiretap, the co-conspirators discussed the funds needed to construct a house on the property. On July 28, 2015, it was determined the cost would be $86,000. In September 2015 agents saw Cruz and the co-conspirator at the property on Third Street.
During a court authorized wiretap over Cruz’s phone, agents intercepted calls where Cruz and his father discussed the conditions inside the tunnel, which had become operational at that point.
Two of the other suspects arrested in Calexico, Joel Duarte Medina and Manuel Gallegos Jiminez, were in court on Thursday, March 26, 2016, but did not enter a plea.
Born in the tiny village of Palaco, just outside of Mexicali, Mexico, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa was the oldest of five children in his family. Quiñones-Hinojosa crossed into the United States illegally in 1987 when he was only 19 and began working on farms near Fresno, California in order to earn enough money to afford English lessons.
Brad Pitt as Dr. Q. and the real Dr. Q.
From there, he attended San Joaquin Delta College and completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley with the school’s highest honors. Next, he earned a degree from Harvard Medical School with honors and became a U.S. citizen.
Today, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa is known simply as Dr. Q, the internationally renowned neurosurgeon and neuroscientist who leads a cutting-edge research to cure brain cancer.
In his memoir, Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa tells his amazing life story-from his impoverished childhood Mexico, to his harrowing border crossing and his rising from being an illegal immigrant to an American citizen and gifted student at the University of California at Berkeley and at Harvard Medical School.
Packed with adventure and adversity-including a few terrifying brushes with death- before becoming Dr. Q it is a story about the importance of family, of mentors, and of giving people a chance.
His success story is as improbable as it is traditionally “American.”
Now Brad Pitt, partnering with Disney, is developing a movie based on Quiñones-Hinojosa’s life. Pitt will play the lead role of Dr. Q.
Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, who have been working on the film since 2007 and have recruited Matthew Lopez to write the script. Interest in the project came about when studio executives heard Dr. Q’s story on a radio program.
Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, is now the Director of the Brain Tumor Surgery Center at Johns Hopkins.
There’s plenty more to discover about Dr. Q now, thanks to the forthcoming movie and his book, available on Amazon, Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon.
Imperial Valley Desert Museum
Saturday, January 23, Jim and I visited the Imperial Valley Desert Museum. It’s just south from Highway I-8 at the Ocotillo exit.
What an unexpected surprise! The museum is a first-class place, and much larger, at 10,000 square feet, than we had expected. The exhibits were as professional as any we had seen, and that even goes for the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Neal Hitch, the Executive Director and person in charge, has done a really great job!
The artifacts housed and on display at the museum come from field classes conducted by the Imperial Valley College along with survey and data collection projects and private donations dating way back to the 1970s.
Native Americans have lived in the region around the museum for over 9,000 years, and originally they spoke a common language, Core Yuman which has now evolved into ten languages. Many artifacts of the early native Americans who lived in the area, and who still live in the area, today, are on display.
For those who don’t know, Imperial County has a population of 176,584. The county is an agricultural area growing 2.6 billion pounds of lettuce annually and is home to 51,000 beehives. We found that out at the museum.
Inside the museum, there are many exhibits which are of interest to everybody, from researchers to students to adults and to children. There is really something for everybody—even a gift shop.
Computers are available, along with telescopes and even a library for children. This is the place for a family outing.
Part of the museum is dedicated to the curation, study and preservation of artifacts. This is, of course, of prime interest, not only to scientists, but to local educational institutions, as well.
Area for study, preparation and curation of artifacts
Internet computers and telescopes are available
Ideas for new activities for the museum range from hikes and off-roading trips with experts, to live webcams to watch desert wildlife; designing walking trails and signs on the museum’s property.
The museum has purchased (and is still purchasing) much of the surrounding land, and will be setting up trails and other outside exhibits and activities. The Imperial Valley Desert Museum is well on its way to becoming a major site, not just locally, but for the entire state of California and beyond.
The museum has many activities. Here are some that are coming up in the very new future:
- Saturday, February 6: FriendRaiser, Dinner with an Expert: Nicholas Clapp “ld Magic”: 5-8pm. $30 per person.
- Thursday, February 18: State of the County address. 6:00pm On Thursday, February 18, the 2016 State of the County Address will be held at the museum. The keynote speaker will be Chairman Jack Terrazas. This is a great opportunity for the county to see the results of the work the Imperial Valley Desert Museum Society has been working toward for nearly 40 years.
- February 26—March 6: Imperial Valley Expo, Mid-Winter Fair.
Address: 11 Frontage Rd, Ocotillo, CA 92259
PO Box 2455
IVDMSociety@gmail.com, (760) 358-7016, Website: http://www.ivdesertmuseum.org/
Museum Hours: Wednesday-Sunday: 10-3pm Monday-Tuesday: Closed
The Imperial Valley Desert Museum Society, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
Items being prepared in curator’s area
Address: 11 Frontage Rd, Ocotillo, CA 92259
On January 2, 2016, hired killers from the Los Rojos cartel set off for the home of 33-year-old Gisela Mota, the first female mayor of Temixco. The killers smashed the front door open and, in front of her terrified family, they beat and shot her several times, killing her.
The cartels are now fighting for political to control towns and rob the their resources.
Arturo Beltrán Leyva
Morelos State had long been used by drug lord Arturo Beltrán Leyva to fly in cocaine from Colombia before taking it north. In 2009, American D.E.A. agents located Mr. Beltrán Leyva’s whereabouts. The D.E.A. informed the Mexican marines who, in an attack, killed Beltrán Leyva and four of his men.
Without their leader, men who had worked for Beltrán Leyva formed their own splinter cartels, including Los Rojos and Guerreros Unidos, and went on a killing rampage. The two cartels now fight over turf in Morelos and neighboring Guerrero State, leaving piles of bodies.
These new cartels continue to traffic drugs, but have also used their assassins to get involved in Mexico’s local politics – including contracts for valuable building projects, the right to name the town police chiefs and forcing mayors to give them 10 percent of their budgets. In this way, the cartels are getting money even from the United States, which provides the Mexican government with about $300 million a year in drug-war aid.
Corruption is part of Mexico’s culture and is as old as the country itself. Narcos have been bribing politicians as long as they have been smuggling drugs to Americans. Mayors, governors and federal officials have turned a blind eye to opium fields and meth superlabs—they like the money.
With more than 2,000 mayors in Mexico, the combined profit is worth billions of dollars a year. Sometimes cartels even put one of their own men directly in as Mayor. This was the case in Iguala, whose mayor, José Luis Abarca, is now in prison on organized crime charges, accused of being a member of Guerreros Unidos. Dozens of his police officers are also in jail, accused of being cartel me in uniform.
In September 2014, the Iguala police and men from the Guerreros killed or kidnapped more than 40 students. dern Mexico. icy reform, meaning wider legalization of some drugs, like marijuana, and better addiction treatment to reduce the use of others, like heroin, can help bleed the gangster financing. But with cartels now diversified into a portfolio of crimes and taking over the political establishment, it won’t stop them.
Yet, Mexico also needs to fight narco-corruption that infests its police and politics at state and federal levels. Unfortunately, many of the people in the Mexican government have links to cartels, including the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI, and the opposition. With so much money and power in the narcos’ hands, it is not likely that a solution can be found.
What would your life be like if you learn to speak Spanish in the New Year?
How many new amigoswould you have?How many more placeswould you go?
Would you go to places that most people find intimidating, remote, or too far off the beaten track?
Would you enjoy being daring and move around freely?
Or would you just enjoy mixing with the locals in less remote places?
How much more would you enjoy travel?
What would you do?
Where would you go to speak your new Spanish?
Would you go and live in a different country?
Which one would you choose?
Would you live on the beach or in themountains?
How would it feel to see and be part of a completely different way of life?
How much more fun would it be to travel when you can go anywhere you want and know that you can communicate easily and confidently with the locals?
Isn’t that what the art of living is all about, great relationships with interesting people?
Would you be able to help others with Spanish under your belt?
What contributions would you make?
Why not make this easy life transformation in 2016?
Spanish Communication Coach