Jim "Jaime" Dwyer, Founder and President (Maynard, MA 2017)
Hola. Jim Dwyer here. I'm the founder and president of NewMeadow Uno. (My wife took the picture of me at the old mill building here in Maynard, MA.) She calls me Jimmy.
When studying in Spain, everyone called me Jaime (HI-meh). Here in the States and here on the Internet—at work, at home or at play—Jaime, Jim or Jimmy all suit me.
A little bit more about me before you tell me about you. I love, love, love speaking and writing Spanish. I also enjoy learning at least how to say please and thank you in other languages because establishing a personal connection and building trust with someone has paved a way for my personal growth.
I first learned Spanish as a senior at Fort Collins High School (Colorado). A school counselor had suggested I learn another language because that would look good on a college application. My favorite word in first year Spanish, one which a classmate and I said with great frequency: desgraciadamente.
Unfortunately (desgraciadamente), I didn’t say much else, inside the classroom or elsewhere. In Colorado, native Spanish-speakers were everywhere, but I was too afraid to risk applying what I had learned on paper and through my ear canals to my tongue, teeth and lips.
As a freshman at Saint John’s University (MN) and as a Spanish 101 student, I developed other fears, such as trilling my Rs. Many of my classmates could do that from Day One. It took lots of practice and determination, and I by semester's end I had figured out how to get air flowing between my tongue and that ridge behind my teeth. By the second semester, I was more afraid of science classes (I aspired to be a physical therapist) than modern and classical languages, so I figured Spain would be a cool place to start my sophomore year.
There on the Iberian Peninsula I flourished. I conquered a few fears, for sure. The listen-and-repeat and immersion methodology empowered me to learn a lot of vocabulary and build confidence. But my pronunciation caused a few snickers. That bothered me. What bothered me more is that I couldn't identify the exact problem. Not until a few years later as I prepared to become a Spanish teacher and had to take a pronunciation course.
How about you? How are your Spanish Rs and the rest of your pronunciation? How do you know you’re not mishearing things?
Back to me. I completed my pronunciation course and other classes to earn my teaching certificate. I taught middle school and high school Spanish for six years.
So many wonderful students that I recall now as we fast-forward a few decades (visit LinkedIn to learn about my work history as a teacher, tutor, trainer, writer, Canadian spy and sales/marketing guy).
At MarketOne International, I use Spanish every day. With colleagues and prospective customers from all the Spanish-speaking countries.
Outside of work, I have friends in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, South America and Spain. Most of them I know only via the phone, Skype or email interaction.
So that sums up me and my connection to Spanish.
There's more to me than loving languages, though. I also love hockey and donuts. (I used to play morning hockey every Thursday and then enjoy a Chocolate Frosted from Dunkin' Donuts). I still love those circular treats but eat them hole with less frequency.
I read The Pun Also Rises (John Pollack). Other favorite books include Breakfast with Buddha (Roland Merullo), Ireland (Frank Delaney) and Home Ice (Jack Falla).
Other stuff that makes me smile: Listening to music (from ABBA to ZZ Top); learning how to play the guitar; impersonating Kermit the Frog, using semicolons; international travel; learning what makes others tick and then watching them succeed.
My purpose is to balance fun and service to others, to merge these efforts whenever possible.
I want to empower you to identify your reason for learning Spanish, to conquer your own fears and to avoid the mistakes I made.
My wife of many years tells me that I’m “brilliant” at helping others and that I’m more patient than most people.