As I mentioned in the post above, I had hoped that my Spanish would miraculously return. Well, it did so, pretty much. Especially since the Spanish spoken in Ecuador is clear and not too fast. While waiting at Madrid airport on my way, I couldn't understand anything that local Spaniards said, but when standing in the boarding line, I spoke with Ecuadoreans and had only vocabulary gaps. And once there, I spent much of my time either with people willing to correct my Spanish, or else in total immersion with people who spoke nothing but Spanish, so I had to speak and listen.
I have another trip to S America planned for the end of the year but my motivation has gone downhill again. I really have to memorize those irregular verbs!
As I mentioned in the post above, I had hoped that my Spanish would miraculously return. Well, it did so, pretty much. Especially since the Spanish spoken in Ecuador is clear and not too fast. While waiting at Madrid airport on my way, I couldn't understand anything that local Spaniards said ...
I learned Spanish in Madrid when I was a child -- the same Spanish that now sounds odd to me. While viewing the film La Mala Educación with two Mexican friends, I was privately embarrassed that I was having so much trouble understanding the dialogue. When the film ended, their first comments were on the lines of, "I would have enjoyed that so much more if I'd understood what they were saying!"
The about.com sites always have some good pointers (though they explain everything in English, which can be a bad habit): italian.about.com/ I haven't been teaching Italian recently, so I hadn't looked at the Italian one. They have some interesting timely content, about questions to Berlusconi (indeed) and Tendopoli - the tent citiy outside Aquila that is becoming far too permanent - well, you know a lot about incompetent assistance for disaster victims.
I'll get back to you with more sites I have bookmarked, though most are dictionaries, or perhaps obscure cultural stuff.
casimira, even if you don't recall your French (or Spanish, Portuguese etc) the grammar background will help you; it is an advantage over starting from zero.
Will you have the opportunity to sign up for a class at a local school or community centre? If you can, you'll meet other people interested in Italy. Of course, there is a long and storied Italian presence in New Orleans. www.airf.org/
I have met a few of the people involved. I think Bixa knows a few too. That series of books put out are really wonderful. I found some family photos in one of the issues about where I'm from in NY. Thanks again.
I speak a smattering of six different languages. While I wish I was fluent in them all, it's just enough to get by. Directions, ordering food, pleasantries: these I can do; anything more is pushing it, but I continuously work at it.
French is the one I am closest to being fluent in. I should probably focus on that one for the time being. I'd also like to become fluent in Arabic and Veneziano.
Does anybody know how good the Alliance Française's classes are? I have been considering signing up for one of their courses.