While I was in the Dominican we helped paint the church and ran a summer school to help the children get ready for school in the fall. After four years of French class, I found myself teaching eight year olds Spanish numbers, colors, and vowels. It was helpful having Sesame Street flash cards. I'm still not sure why I took French. At some point I want to take a conversational Spanish class. It was really funny because with our host family I could say a sentence and not conjugate a single verb and the kids knew what I was saying. They would then explain what I was trying to say to their parents. It worked well.
What did not work was trying to ask a question with my mouth full of toothpaste. Before I started brushing my teeth I forgot to ask where I should spit. This was hard to do once I had started brushing. After about five minutes of funny hand motions she figured out what I was asking and took me out back of the house and showed me where to spit.
I learned a lot during the trip. One fun thing I learned was how to Spanish dance. The families there didn't take a second thought at clearing out their living rooms so that we could dance. Oh course, Sister Bernie did end up telling us we couldn't have dance parties every night, these people need to sleep. I learned how to dance the merengue and the bachata. And when there are five American girls and ten Dominican guys, you don't get much of a break from dancing. It was also fun watching the older ladies dance. They are really good.