A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood…

…except when it’s raining, but that’s a good time to sit inside and work on Spanish!

So yes, where we’ve moved is wonderful and I don’t know if I will ever get over it. It would be exciting enough that we moved out of an apartment complex (and away from children), but to make it even better we can now walk everywhere! I can walk to work and on the way enjoy a lunch of first a pineapple wheel or some mango, then maybe an empanada or pastel de yuca, and if that does not have me stuffed there is a milhoja man (who I have yet to patronize because I am usually stuffed), all in the street! We can bumble down to the center whenever. And we are in walking distance of the university.  Yeah, everything. Ok, I’m finished gloating.

this is how excited I am

My Spanish classes started back up this week and I have been painfully reminded of how not-super-sure of using the past tenses I am, so I am getting back into studying mode. To that end, I thought I might share the various resources I use incase you are trying this from home:


StudySpanish.com : Probably the best free site I have found. They have grammar, vocabulary, and verb drills; and for all of them you can continually generate quizzes and select to exclude the ‘vosotros’ tense. Because we are not in Spain! Really though, the grammar section is broken down nicely.

ver-taal.com : So my last teacher recommended this place. It’s sort of weirdly organized but there is good stuff hiding. I particularly like the “trailers” section: you watch a trailer and try to fill in the blanks in the transcript or answer questions, good “real-world” listening practice. (They also have french and other language exercises too).

SpanishPod.com: A Spanish-teaching podcast with beginning, intermediate, and advanced levels that increasingly use less and less English. I used to listen to these when I had to take the bus (heh) and they are nice because they give new vocabulary context. Sadly it is not free, but there is a trial period and I definitely recommend trying it out and maybe if you like it pay for a month and download as much as possible.

busuu: A language learning community—you complete courses with vocabulary and things but you can also write prompted mini-essays and native speakers learning other languages there will correct them. You can also live chat with other language speakers. I kinda got into this but my enthusiasm has waned, but maybe you’ll like it!


Word Reference: Great dictionary, lots of examples, a conjugator, and forums for your more obscure questions.

Real Academia Español: or just the RAE. The official last say on Spanish, but heads up it is all in Spanish. Obviously not good for colloquialisms.

tuBabel: I just recently found this when I was trying to look up a slang word, which as any frustrated foreigner knows they will not find in the dictionary. It also distinguishes by country, with coincidentally the most entries being for Colombia. (it does appear to by wiki-style though, so maybe don’t learn words from it (without some confirmation) but look things up?)

Fundeu: Proper grammar and usage stuff for words. (ejemplo: it’s “a bordo” not “abordo”)

Fun Stuff:

Calvin and Hobbes en Español: Because someone like me is not going to sit down and read the paper in Spanish, but I will read this.

Twitter: No wait hear me out. If you like jokes or just little random things Twitter is not such a bad place to hang out (props to vocabat for the idea, she has other good things on her page too). At the very least, check out mine—I (try to) do a palabra del día and I retweet jokes or strange things people say.

Find your own fun things! You dig poetry? Check out Neruda. You a TV fiend? Find movies or shows on Cuevana. Whatever gets you going.

Hopefully some of that is of use to you, I know the internet can be a big messy place. As for those of you who want more adventure, I will try to write up some of those shortly as well :)


About syd

I like beats & beets
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4 Responses to A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood…

  1. Herman Arroyave says:

    I’m currently in the process of moving to Bogota. Could you tell me the name of the neighborhood so ideal? I have been looking at northern Bogota. The ambiance seems great but the cost can be intimidating. Thank you for any help you can provide.
    My compliments on a great Blog.

    • syd says:

      Oof, not personally a fan of the north. It doesn’t have that barrio feel and is definitely going to be more expensive. We looked east of Carrera 30 (the one along the university) and south of Calle 63 so that’s a good area to start. La Soledad is a nicer area in that, kind of closer to the feel of the north. Teusaquillo is where we are and we also looked in Las Americas. Depending at what time of year your are moving it can be hard to find things, but hopefully that helps!

    • Manu says:

      You can also look at the Chapinero area which goes from 30s north to 72 above Caracas. I would really not recommend living anywhere west of Carrera 45 or North of Calle 76 unless you want to shell out a ton of cash (> 1.000.000) each month or be awfully far away from anything interesting. Also, remember the city is stratified so you also have to be careful with Chapinero Alto, Rosales, and La Macarena which is above 5th avenue (4th, 3rd, etc), from about calle 26 to 76 they are some of the most expensive regions of the city (even more than the north) because they have amazing views and apartment buildings. In fact Rosales (above 5th around calles 70s) has the highest GDP. With that said, go on and search metrocuadrado.co

  2. Herman Arroyave says:

    Thank you all. Great information.

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