Café Calypso - Language Clubs
May 23, 2019 09:03AM
By Nina Welch
The Spanish club meets Mondays from 11am to 12noon.
Maya Garcia, Manager of Café Calypso on Del Mar, enjoys hosting the Spanish, French, and German Clubs in San Clemente. Conversations in various dialects add to the romance of a European-style outdoor café.
These clubs have been coming to the café longer than Maya has been manager, which
is over 15 years.
“I love the language clubs. They are like family,” says Maya. She gets to know the
families when club members bring them to the café to enjoy lunch. And since Maya is
fluent in Spanish, she and her employees often converse with Nigel and other members
of the Spanish Club.
The Spanish Conversation Club meets on Mondays from 11am to noon in the Café Calypso courtyard (weather permitting). It has been in existence for over 22 years. There isn’t a leader or president, however, Aurora Dixon, a native of Costa Rica, joined a couple of years ago and has made herself useful by assisting with pronunciation, vocabulary and tenses. “The bells at the Hotel tell us when to start and when to end,” she says.
Most of the members are retired and they all love to travel. One member lives in San Miguel de Allende for three months and three months in San Clemente. She is currently in San Miguel de Allende. Aurora and the group enjoying Spanish conversation there are:
Maria from Mexico, Nigel from London, Jim from Dana Point, Christel from Germany, and Troyce, a San Clemente native.
Jim and his wife own a sail boat docked in Europe, and Aurora and Troyce met them there last year and sailed around Spain.
“Our members have different Spanish skill levels and we are very accommodating and helpful,” says Aurora. New members can enjoy the food and coffee at Café Calypso and most of all the friendly and welcoming vibe that Maya and her employees bring to the cafe. The bells chime at 1pm signaling the Adios!
The Deutscher Konversation Klub meets on Mondays from 1 to 3pm in the Café Calypso courtyard (weather permitting). Sema Karaoglu started the Club on June 23, 2008 in order to practice speaking with other native Germans in town. Sema is also in the French Club.
The goal of the club is to speak German only. Members Richard, Lori, Sema, and Edda enjoy the camaraderie of the group where they discuss life, books, movies, and theatre.
Lori, a former ballerina from Vienna, has been a member for 23 years. She is also in the Red Hat Club. Lori is very impressed with Sema’s skill in the language as she is self-taught.
Members have become good friends and meet several times a year with spouses in different homes. In fact, they celebrate German carnival or Fasching (which is similar to Mardi Gras) every year at a member’s home.
Richard says, “Some people might not want to join because they’re afraid of being corrected. We like to be corrected because that’s how we learn.” He also stressed that they don’t discuss politics or religion.
According to Edda, each member comes from a different area in Germany or other countries. “We all come from different backgrounds as well, which makes it even more interesting,” she says.
When asked which German word describes the club, Richard responded with “Stammtisch,” which translates to “conversation around a table.”
New members are welcome.
The French Conversation Club meetings take place on Wednesdays 2 - 4pm in the Café Calypso courtyard (weather permitting). On a sunny day in San Clemente, Sema, Warren, Isabel (Warren’s granddaughter), Carlos, Nagua, Peggy, and Roland enjoy food and French conversation. President Jacqueline Marotta is absent from the meetings for a few weeks due to surgery.
Sema Karaoglu, also a member of the German Club, is holding down the fort until Jacqueline’s return. “We are an international French-speaking club as our members come from many different countries. I am Turkish from the Island of Cyprus, and we have members from Argentina, Chile, China, Canada, Austria, France, Turkey, Cyprus, Iran, Egypt, the U.K. and the U.S.,” says Sema.
The Club was established in 1993, with the goal of speaking French to discuss books, movies, theatre, some current affairs, and to talk about their lives and their activities. The club welcomes anyone who is interested in France, Francophone countries, and Francophiles, as well as French culture and of course the language. If members do not speak fluent French, they are encouraged to speak, however, instruction is not provided.
Members enjoy the European vibe of Cafe Calypso, adding “Maya is very nice and hospitable which helps the club to continue and grow.”
If you would like to speak French and meet new people, look for the French flag on a table in the outdoor café on Avenida Del Mar.b