How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

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How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby Formidable 1 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:40 am

A question for Expats that have been living in Peru for awhile.
Should have conducted a poll but I wasn't sure how to raise one:

1) Has your Spanish evolved into speaking and comprehending with relative ease?

2) Or do you still struggle and can understand some things perhaps read and write in Spanish but feel uncomfortable or unable to carry on more than a basic short conversation?

3) Or do you live in a complete gringo bubble, can't speak or understand any Spanish beyond hola and a few numbers and just point at something you want when you are out in public?


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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby Alpineprince » Mon Jun 12, 2017 10:22 am

After 13 years I am somwhere between a 2 and a 3.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby SilverbackPeru » Mon Jun 12, 2017 1:48 pm

Between two and three also. Never been able to afford the extremely high Spanish lesson prices and had very few people to practice Spanish with, so my Spanish is very poor.

Back home working now trying to save up a few grand to take some sort of Spanish lessons when i return.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby FDiH » Mon Jun 12, 2017 4:45 pm

Spanlish for me as well. I speak English pretty much every day we speak English within the company (we deal with Intl clients only). Still would love to speak more/better Spanish... one day....
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby jhand8pp4 » Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:57 pm

I have been here for four years. I am between number 1 and number 2. I have a problem when others talk fast, use slang or use Quechua words instead of Spanish. When talking in a conversation I often have to repeat myself several times for others to understand me. When they start talking too fast, I have to tell them that I do not understand. Usually that works and they will speak slowly with words that I understand.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby jumpinjack » Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:24 am

I can order a meal. I point to the menu board and shout "numero cuatro! numero cuatro!".
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby bigdaddy » Tue Jun 13, 2017 12:06 pm

I know how to negotiate in Spanish to receive a lower overstay fine.
"¿Perdoname esta la ventana de propinos?
Make sure to do it in a loud voice.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby gringuano » Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:47 pm

There should be something higher than your "1" as well. I eventually became fluent in Spanish, and worked mostly in Spanish for the last couple years I lived there. I was able to take the Spanish back to the States with me and now work exclusively in Spanish. It has really created a lot of opportunities for me since moving back. :)
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby Formidable 1 » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:47 am

gringuano wrote:There should be something higher than your "1" as well. I eventually became fluent in Spanish, and worked mostly in Spanish for the last couple years I lived there. I was able to take the Spanish back to the States with me and now work exclusively in Spanish. It has really created a lot of opportunities for me since moving back. :)




Has your Spanish evolved into speaking and comprehending with relative ease?

I think you would fall under #1. No reason to have any higher since you work exclusively in Spanish therefore you obviously speak and comprehend Spanish.

What's those opportunities in the states that speaking Spanish have created?
Picking strawberries or doing construction work?
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby windsportinperu » Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:20 pm

Formidable,

My spanish level has always been "formidable" :)
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby Polaron » Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:25 am

I've been speaking Spanish longer than many peruvians have been alive so I was already completely fluent when I arrived here. This last time I've been improved for 2 years now having lived here once before for two years as well.

However some Peruvian lexicon sounds quite strange to me and I know that I use Spanish words that some peruvians don't understand. I have heavy influence from the years I lived in Spain, Mexico and several other Latin American countries. As a result I speak of someone mixed dialect of Spanish ( remembering here that dialect means version, and not incorrect).

One example is by force of habit I tend to say cartera instead of billetera, which peruvians prefer. People look at me askance if I say carterista (pickpocket), because peruvians use a different term. To peruvians only women Carry carteras, which is a way to say pocketbook.

My housekeeper and I frequently chuckle when looking at recipes written by people and some of the various Spanish-speaking countries. They each have their own special terms for certain food items and preparation methods. Sometimes we get it and sometimes we have to look the words up. We learn a little and laugh a little
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby gringolandia » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:18 pm

I missed this thread while I was out of the country in June.

After three years I'm also between 2 and 3, but closer to 3.

And the reason is that I'm intentionally trying to NOT learn Spanish (or whatever they call it... castilian or something like that). I like living in my little gringo bubble and having a sort of wall that helps prevent me from becoming too Peruvian. I'm not in Peru to become a Peruvian citizen or assimilate Peruvian culture. I'm only here to let my daughters do those things (to a degree) and grow up with their family here since their mother is Peruvian. Otherwise there's no way in heck I'd be here.

Plus, not speaking Spanish keeps conversation with my mother-in-law to a minimum ;-)

On the rare occasions that I do have to speak Spanish (such as ordering food), I've been amazed at just how badly misunderstood I can be with even the most simple words. Just yesterday I told a cashier my name is <real name> and they wrote down "Estavan" (not even close). I just shrugged and went with it. I wish I could remember some of the other examples. My pronunciation can't possibly be THAT bad that simple one or two syllable words can't be understood. It gets a bit irritating at times, but mostly it is just funny.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby Alpineprince » Fri Sep 08, 2017 6:54 pm

When I order, they seem to like the name "Eric" (maybe i look Vikingo?), so I always go with that. Biggest problem is the word "Carne", nobody understands that, so I eat alot of chicken. It is a problem when ordering a empanada or at Burger King when you traditional carne instead of carne bravo.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby Slippin' Jimmy » Sat Sep 09, 2017 9:43 am

Alpineprince wrote:When I order, they seem to like the name "Eric" (maybe i look Vikingo?), so I always go with that. Biggest problem is the word "Carne", nobody understands that, so I eat alot of chicken. It is a problem when ordering a empanada or at Burger King when you traditional carne instead of carne bravo.


Is "carne bravo" roast beef?
I'm having a hard time finding it.
And not that crap hanging on hooks with flies.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby jumpinjack » Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:57 am

Alpineprince wrote:When I order, they seem to like the name "Eric" (maybe i look Vikingo?), so I always go with that. Biggest problem is the word "Carne", nobody understands that, so I eat alot of chicken. It is a problem when ordering a empanada or at Burger King when you traditional carne instead of carne bravo.

I don't recall ever seeing "traditional carne" or "carne bravo" on the Burger King menu.
Make it simple, I always use the numbers when available. Numero cuatro por favor.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby windsportinperu » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:06 am

="Polaron" by force of habit I tend to say cartera instead of billetera, which peruvians prefer. People look at me askance if I say carterista (pickpocket), because peruvians use a different term. To peruvians only women Carry carteras, which is a way to say pocketbook.


There is a very famous salsa (music) .. "se me perdió la cartera" ... translation is like " I lost my wallet.. " I don't know where in South America the music has been done, but definitely is not peruvian..
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby 69roadrunner » Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:23 am

gringolandia wrote:I missed this thread while I was out of the country in June.

After three years I'm also between 2 and 3, but closer to 3.

And the reason is that I'm intentionally trying to NOT learn Spanish (or whatever they call it... castilian or something like that). I like living in my little gringo bubble and having a sort of wall that helps prevent me from becoming too Peruvian. I'm not in Peru to become a Peruvian citizen or assimilate Peruvian culture. I'm only here to let my daughters do those things (to a degree) and grow up with their family here since their mother is Peruvian. Otherwise there's no way in heck I'd be here.

Plus, not speaking Spanish keeps conversation with my mother-in-law to a minimum ;-)

On the rare occasions that I do have to speak Spanish (such as ordering food), I've been amazed at just how badly misunderstood I can be with even the most simple words. Just yesterday I told a cashier my name is <real name> and they wrote down "Estavan" (not even close). I just shrugged and went with it. I wish I could remember some of the other examples. My pronunciation can't possibly be THAT bad that simple one or two syllable words can't be understood. It gets a bit irritating at times, but mostly it is just funny.

I an guessing you name is Steven because the Spanish equlivant would be 'Esteban'. In Spanish the s, when pronounced, is always led with an 'eh' sound.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby Cactus fan » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:30 pm

I am at 1.

Before moving to Peru, I travelled often to Colombia. And I allready started learning Spanish before my first trip to Colombia.

Everybody can learn a new language.

There are loads of Chinese people living in Peru and they all took the effort to learn Spanish. And their language is far more different than European languages. Even the way they write is completely different.

I think that people who don't do an effort to learn the language of the country, shouldn't be surprised when they get overcharged and ripped-off. They show a lack of respect and are refusing to adapt to the culture and customs of the country. They will never be able to integrate into society.

Before migraciones issues a resident visa, carnet de extranjeria, retirement visa, investors visa, spouse visa,... applicants should pass a language test.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby Andywalters » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:20 pm

On the rare occasions that I do have to speak Spanish (such as ordering food), I've been amazed at just how badly misunderstood I can be with even the most simple words. Just yesterday I told a cashier my name is <real name> and they wrote down "Estavan" (not even close). I just shrugged and went with it. I wish I could remember some of the other examples. My pronunciation can't possibly be THAT bad that simple one or two syllable words can't be understood. It gets a bit irritating at times, but mostly it is just funny.


hahaha, don`t worry about it....I`ve had loads of different variations of my name but my favourite was at La Lucha in Miraflores which was "Astrid", I felt like a female ageing hippie :D
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby windsportinperu » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:46 pm

It is not lack of respect not learning the language where you live. It is just lack of interest, what is a total different thing.

Just learn the basic spanish words as this guy, and you will be fine: :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DEOk6fwTuxI
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby Polaron » Mon Sep 11, 2017 2:29 am

By the way Burger King does have two types of beef. Carne tradicional y carne brava. Carne brava is seasoned and as a similar taste to the meat you get at bembos. In other words it doesn't quite taste like the real thing. If you order Burger King delivery they will always ask you which meat you want.

For people who aren't having a good time in Peru I feel your pain. I like it here I liked it in Paraguay and Costa Rica and Mexico too. However I wasn't happy in Buenos Aires or Santiago de Chile. I found our Southern Neighbors to be a little colder than I like. Of course that's just my opinion. I also have friends that are argentines and Chileans and I love them
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby Slippin' Jimmy » Mon Sep 11, 2017 3:54 pm

Polaron wrote:By the way Burger King does have two types of beef. Carne tradicional y carne brava. Carne brava is seasoned and as a similar taste to the meat you get at bembos. In other words it doesn't quite taste like the real thing. If you order Burger King delivery they will always ask you which meat you want.

For people who aren't having a good time in Peru I feel your pain. I like it here I liked it in Paraguay and Costa Rica and Mexico too. However I wasn't happy in Buenos Aires or Santiago de Chile. I found our Southern Neighbors to be a little colder than I like. Of course that's just my opinion. I also have friends that are argentines and Chileans and I love them


Thanks for explaining the difference.
Do you have a meat that you prefer to eat?
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby gringolandia » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:15 am

69roadrunner wrote:
gringolandia wrote:On the rare occasions that I do have to speak Spanish (such as ordering food), I've been amazed at just how badly misunderstood I can be with even the most simple words. Just yesterday I told a cashier my name is <real name> and they wrote down "Estavan" (not even close). I just shrugged and went with it. I wish I could remember some of the other examples. My pronunciation can't possibly be THAT bad that simple one or two syllable words can't be understood. It gets a bit irritating at times, but mostly it is just funny.

I an guessing you name is Steven because the Spanish equlivant would be 'Esteban'. In Spanish the s, when pronounced, is always led with an 'eh' sound.


No. As I said, it was not even close.

Unfortunately this wasn't even a good example of what I'm talking about since it is my name and not a Spanish word. Even simple Spanish words are often misunderstood though. It would make sense for my mother to have this problem, because she's never taken a Spanish class so has no idea how to pronounce Spanish and her awful attempts are just reading Spanish words with an American accent. But I've actually taken a couple years of Spanish so I'm able to pronounce the words "correctly" (though more of a Mexican pronunciation).
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby gringolandia » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:31 am

Cactus fan wrote:I think that people who don't do an effort to learn the language of the country, shouldn't be surprised when they get overcharged and ripped-off. They show a lack of respect and are refusing to adapt to the culture and customs of the country. They will never be able to integrate into society.

Before migraciones issues a resident visa, carnet de extranjeria, retirement visa, investors visa, spouse visa,... applicants should pass a language test.


I have no interest in integrating into Peruvian culture. I made that specific point in my earlier post. As far as "society" here, I think I'm pretty well connected as the Peruvians I want to interact with almost all speak English (and visit the US regularly). Granted, the "society" I hang out with here is not typical or average for Peru, but I'm perfectly content hanging out with the people I do.

Everyone is welcome to their own opinions but your idea of Peru adopting a language test for residents would be extremely contrary to the financial welfare of Peru.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby 69roadrunner » Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:29 am

gringolandia wrote:
Cactus fan wrote:I think that people who don't do an effort to learn the language of the country, shouldn't be surprised when they get overcharged and ripped-off. They show a lack of respect and are refusing to adapt to the culture and customs of the country. They will never be able to integrate into society.

Before migraciones issues a resident visa, carnet de extranjeria, retirement visa, investors visa, spouse visa,... applicants should pass a language test.




Everyone is welcome to their own opinions but your idea of Peru adopting a language test for residents would be extremely contrary to the financial welfare of Peru.

Ah yes, the ol' well to do Gringo coming to a foriegn land bestowing his wealth, argument and should be granted special despensation.
It is disrespectful and, to even refuse, not to learn the language of the land you are living in and enjoying its benefits.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby Cactus fan » Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:59 pm

gringolandia wrote:Everyone is welcome to their own opinions but your idea of Peru adopting a language test for residents would be extremely contrary to the financial welfare of Peru.


Which financial welfare of Peru? Those gringos who move to Peru because their low retirement check doesn't go far in their own country won't make a lot of difference to the Peruvian financial welfare. And those so called investors which mostly lose their money because they get scammed only benefit the savoury scammers. And those scammers are mostly Colombian, Haitian or Venezuelan.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby gringolandia » Tue Sep 12, 2017 10:58 pm

69roadrunner, I'm hardly granted and special dispensation as there is no requirement to learn Spanish before becoming a resident. If there were, I simply would never have come to Peru, end of story.

And Cactus, you have shown a habit here of making wildly inaccurate generalizations. As a point of fact, I do bring in $100K to Peru's economy every year, none of which is sourced from Peru. That is money that flows directly into Peru which otherwise wouldn't be here. And the foreigners I've met who retire here typically employee at least two people directly, and of course more indirectly. Those Peruvians who have jobs might disagree with you. I'm not sure where you've developed your paranoia of scammers. Scams exist, sure, but I personally don't know a single person who's been taken in by one.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby Cactus fan » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:10 am

gringolandia wrote:69roadrunner, I'm hardly granted and special dispensation as there is no requirement to learn Spanish before becoming a resident. If there were, I simply would never have come to Peru, end of story.

And Cactus, you have shown a habit here of making wildly inaccurate generalizations. As a point of fact, I do bring in $100K to Peru's economy every year, none of which is sourced from Peru. That is money that flows directly into Peru which otherwise wouldn't be here. And the foreigners I've met who retire here typically employee at least two people directly, and of course more indirectly. Those Peruvians who have jobs might disagree with you. I'm not sure where you've developed your paranoia of scammers. Scams exist, sure, but I personally don't know a single person who's been taken in by one.


Foreign investors set up large businesses which destroy the Peruvians their small businesses. And then they employ those Peruvians that lost their businesses and pay them a poverty wage.

And I think that it's more fun if you can speak the language of the country you are living in. Life is easier too and you can meet people.
I can't imagine going to a shop or mercado and having to make hand signals and pointing a things to show what I want whilst people in line behind me start hissing because it takes so long before I get served.
If you can't properly explain where you want to go on a bus or in a taxi, the cobrador or taxi driver will for sure charge you the ''gringo fare''.
And music is nicer if you can understand what they are singing.

And if you speak Spanish, you can meet more desirable women compared to the well articulate English speaking bricheras at La Calle de las Pizzas in Miraflores.


Getting a job is easier too. My gf learned German prior to coming to Switzerland. If she didn't, she will have to clean toilets all day for a living.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby gringolandia » Wed Sep 13, 2017 10:56 am

Cactus fan wrote:Foreign investors set up large businesses which destroy the Peruvians their small businesses. And then they employ those Peruvians that lost their businesses and pay them a poverty wage.


May be true in some cases. Clearly not true in other cases. There are entire industries in Peru that would not exist were it not for foreign investors. But I note that Amazon is not available in Peru. I suspect that is not an accident, but is government policy to protect the small businesses. One could argue over whether that is a good idea or not for Peru over the long term, but I'm not going to do so now.

Cactus fan wrote:And I think that it's more fun if you can speak the language of the country you are living in. Life is easier too and you can meet people.
I can't imagine going to a shop or mercado and having to make hand signals and pointing a things to show what I want whilst people in line behind me start hissing because it takes so long before I get served.
If you can't properly explain where you want to go on a bus or in a taxi, the cobrador or taxi driver will for sure charge you the ''gringo fare''.
And music is nicer if you can understand what they are singing.


I have had no problems with taxis. Taxibeat and EasyTaxi get me safely where I want to go without any "gringo fare". I've never been stuck in line pointing with people waiting behind me. Very basic sub-conversational Spanish is sufficient to buy things from stores.

Cactus fan wrote:And if you speak Spanish, you can meet more desirable women compared to the well articulate English speaking bricheras at La Calle de las Pizzas in Miraflores.


I'm married, but thanks for thinking of me. LOL.


Cactus fan wrote:Getting a job is easier too. My gf learned German prior to coming to Switzerland. If she didn't, she will have to clean toilets all day for a living.


As I said, my income comes from outside of Peru. I don't work for any Peruvian companies at all. I'd agree that someone who does really ought to learn Spanish if they want to maximize their earning potential.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby windsportinperu » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:52 am

Cactus fan wrote: And I think that it's more fun if you can speak the language of the country you are living in. Life is easier too and you can meet people. ........ I can't imagine going to a shop or mercado and having to make hand signals


The smart and argumentative side of Euroman is 100% alive.. :D

I can somehow understand the lack of interest of some gringos here for not learning the language. Every Peruvian I know are eager to have the opportunity to speak English to practice the language. In South America the language is not a barrier for the basic communication

It is interesting to point out that while in USA or Europe, not learning the native language could be an issue and be considered not respectful, It is the opposite here in Peru. It is up to you to learn the language of not, but I have to agree that the experience in the host country will be limited by the barrier created by the language.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby SilverbackPeru » Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:06 pm

I can understand why some people would not want to learn the language of a country they have moved to. I think this vision that all people around the world are the same is very wrong and living abroard in different countries can only highlight just how culturally different some people can be.

Not only living in Peru but also working here with Chinese, Bangladeshis, Iranians and Polish I get to see just how different each nationality can be. I can totally understand how some people from more conservative cultures would not want to interrogate with British society after witnessing how some of us behave on a Saturday night. The not wanting to interrogate works both ways.

I still thing it's a must that you should learn the language just out of respect. Unfortunately not having an affection for the culture or country you are in will make it harder to motivate you to learn the language.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby gringuano » Thu Oct 26, 2017 2:30 pm

Formidable 1 wrote:
gringuano wrote:There should be something higher than your "1" as well. I eventually became fluent in Spanish, and worked mostly in Spanish for the last couple years I lived there. I was able to take the Spanish back to the States with me and now work exclusively in Spanish. It has really created a lot of opportunities for me since moving back. :)




Has your Spanish evolved into speaking and comprehending with relative ease?

I think you would fall under #1. No reason to have any higher since you work exclusively in Spanish therefore you obviously speak and comprehend Spanish.

What's those opportunities in the states that speaking Spanish have created?
Picking strawberries or doing construction work?



"Picking strawberries or doing construction work?"?? That's not offensive at all.

More like international sales opportunities to any Spanish speaking country.
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Re: How is your Spanish after living in Peru?

Postby Cactus fan » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:45 pm

gringuano wrote:What's those opportunities in the states that speaking Spanish have created?
Picking strawberries or doing construction work?


I am sure that wall will be constructed by people who speak Spanish. :lol:

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