Back to School for Mike and Col!!!

SO MUCH has happened since we last wrote.  What a year it has been – for everyone.  We left off in Arizona getting ready to head across the U.S. to our new to us home in Hollywood, MD.  We made that trip fine and have spent the last year getting to know our new area and loving it here.  I (Colleen) worked for much of that year as a nurse at Medstar St Mary’s Hospital on the Med/Surg floor.  Had a great team and learned a ton!  Mike didn’t have a paid job, but he did have a full-time job working on the house and property to make it perfect.  We just love our little neighborhood and small-town life.  

We are back on track – hopefully – to spend this coming winter and spring in Mexico onboard the Air Bender.  She’s been on the hard in Mexico since we left her in April of 2020.  No doubt there will be much work to get her ready to launch again.  All part of the cruising life though.  

Speaking of Mexico, when we were there before, we knew a few words and phrases in Spanish, but not enough to carry on a meaningful conversation.  We’ve both dabbled with different apps and books to try to learn a little Spanish, but to no avail.  I happened to randomly mention to my friend, Elizabeth, that it would be fun to do a Spanish language immersion program (thinking a week or two with a Spanish family or something similar).  It just so happens that she spent a summer, years ago,  in a language immersion program at Middlebury College in Vermont.  She studied Mandarin, but they offer a number of languages.  I was intrigued, so I looked into it and, fast forward several months, the Vinings are headed back to school!  Mike and l are both going to Middlebury for a 7-week Spanish Immersion course.  We will both be living in the dorms, which I think is hilarious at our age!  You have to take a language pledge when you get there that you will read, write, listen and speak only in Spanish 24/7 for the duration of the 7 weeks.  And they mean EVERYthing.  Music, texting, social media….  We are both very excited for this upcoming adventure  – and admittedly, a bit nervous as well.  We really hope to have a good basis in conversational Spanish by the time we leave so that we are able to really communicate with the local people in Mexico.  I think this will make our travel so much more meaningful.  

Trying to figure out what all to pack for 7 weeks away at school was an interesting exercise.  I mean, we’re kind of used to our creature comforts by this point in our lives.  But then again, between the Navy, boat life and RV travel, I guess we’re pretty good at living minimally to some extent.  Although I would definitely consider myself a glamper as opposed to a camper!  I managed to avoid doing a bunch of cutesy dorm shopping, although my inner college girl was very tempted to come home with matching comforters, fluffy poufs and coordinating monogrammed towels.  I DID, however, succumb to the strand of fairy lights I found when strolling the “dorm essentials” aisle at Bed Bath & Beyond.  Mike hasn’t seen those yet – they may get the ax before it’s all said and done!  

This will be my last post in English for a while.  My goal is to write at least one post in Spanish while we are in school.  I will research how you can easily then cut and paste to translate back into English.  That should make for some good entertainment, as I suspect my Spanish grammar may not be perfect in this short amount of time, and the translation therefore will likely be amusing!

So friends, until next time…live the adventure!