Bordeaux and Learning Spanish 2.0 (Day 81 to 87)

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Monday – Day 81 – The Memory Palace in Action 

After a full weekend in London, it was tough for everyone to get up in the morning, but it was also good to get back into the normal routine. Spanish class, gym, work, dinner, sleep.

Today, two cool things happened.  I used the memory palace technique I mentioned in a previous post to memorize the most common 50 Spanish verbs. The process took me about 4 hours to learn, but once I did it, they were all 100% memorized (and still are). It was actually quite shocking how well it worked. The memory palace technique is a cross of using mnemonics and storing them throughout places that are in your long-term memory such as your house, your car, or your body. Again, it worked!!!

I will never have to study those verb definitions again. The next challenge will be applying them and then of course creating other memory palaces to remember other things in my life. By the way, if you use this technique, your memory is almost limitless. The world memory champion remembered the first 10,000 digits of pie using this technique.

The list of verbs I memorized.

Later in the day, I had my on-boarding session with our new director of marketing via zoom. We have 3 full days of on-boarding for new team members. During this process, the new team members get so much information about the company.  I have decided to put my energy into mindset. 

We ended the night with a low key dinner. 

Tuesday – Day 82 – Practicing Conversational Spanish 

In the morning, I had my first coffee session with Kelli and another couple and a Spanish instructor. We realized while class has helped move us forward, if we want to fast forward our Spanish, we need to have more conversations in Spanish. So as a start, we scheduled weekly meetings with this instructor that will only take place in Spanish. This first one was at a coffee shop and went great. He wrote down the words that we did not know, but surprisingly I was able to speak and understand most of it.

Later in the day, I had my all hands monthly company meeting via zoom. 

Wednesday – Day 83 – My Monthly Same Page Meeting

The heart of my day was my 4 hour same page meeting with Lawline’s COO. As mentioned previously, we follow the Visionary/ Integrator framework, as laid out in the book Rocket Fuel, and the purpose of this meeting is to make sure we are on the same page. 

It sounds simple in theory, but it was the number one reason my relationships with past COO’s have failed. I had no structure to get us to dive deep with each other on a regular basis. If you want more details of how those relationships played out and the V/I process, I detail it in my book, The Fast Forward Mindset.

Most of our energy was focused on finalizing an important project that we were stuck on. By the end of the call we got 95% there but not 100%. The good news is by the next day, after more consulting with another team member, we were able to get that last 5%. 

Sometimes in business and life, it is that last 5% that is hardest. And it was a good reminder for me that getting an outside perspective can often help you get to where you need.

Thursday – Day 84 – Off to Bordeaux 

The whole morning/afternoon I used to catch up on work. It was one of those days that flew by and I did not have a moment break, but I enjoyed the business of it. That evening I took a plane with 5 other forum mates to Bordeaux, France to have a two-day retreat.

The purpose of a retreat is to take you out of your normal environment so you can dive much deeper into your business and life. It, of course, is also a great bonding experience that helps build more trust amongst the group.

It was a 45 minute flight (still can’t get over that) and we all hopped into a rental van through the dark, rainy, and yes cold terrain to find the Chateau that we were staying at about 40 minutes from the airport.

As we arrived, the outside did not look like much, but the inside was fantastic. It was huge and modernized, combined with old world charm. It felt special and the perfect place for us as a group to have the retreat.

We quickly hopped back into the van and headed to dinner. I had no idea where we were going, but soon found out it was a Michelin star restaurant called Logis de la Cadene in the middle of this cute old town that, as all these towns do, looked like a movie set.

We opted for a full, multiple course meal and it did not disappoint, with three freaking desserts. It was a great way to start our trip together!

The Chateau we stayed at in Bordeaux.
In front of Logis de la Dadene
One of the many amazing courses we were served at dinner.

Friday – Day 85 – Our Walking Tour of Vineyards in Saint-Émilion

We woke up in our Chateau and spent the first 3 hours going over forum stuff. Some guys picked up some French bread and croissants for breakfast and they were unlike any bread I have tasted before. It was softer and more chewy in a way that melted in my mouth with each bite.   Now I know why it is called French bread. The French know what they are doing when it comes to bread.

At 11am, we drove to a vineyard and proceeded to go on a 3.5 hour walking tour of the area. It was 41 degrees so we were bundled up. The tour blew my mind. First off, just in the one area we were in, called Saint-Émilion, there are 700 vineyards. But unlike, Napa, many of these vineyards have been around since the 1500’s and there were structures and buildings that were still standing from that time.

Exploring the vineyards Saint-Émilion
Vineyards as far as the eye can see.

We walked by vineyards that sold some of the most expensive wine in the world at $2000+ a bottle. We walked up and down windy, hilly roads until we ended up at the town. We stopped at this little bakery where we bought amazing desserts for us and for our kids. You always need something special to bring home. 

A view of the church.
The old city gates still stand.

We stopped at Clos De Menuts vineyard for wine tasting and were able to go 3 levels down into their wine cellar. It was like nothing I have ever seen before. It looked like an ancient crypt. In fact, it was hundreds of years old because it was one of the quarries they used to get stone for all the buildings. And only about 50 years ago did they turn it into a wine cellar. 

The amazing wine cellar at Clos de Menuts
Those are wine bottle from 1974 stacked behind him.

We kept going through the town, which at one point was a medieval village that housed 12,000 people, and then headed back to the original vineyard we started at for lunch and some more wine tasting. 

Clearly we had one too man group photos.

​​​​​​​We headed back to our Chateau for some downtime before our 4 hour forum meeting where we dove deeper into business and life. From there we had our final meal of the trip with dinner at another vineyard. 

Saturday – Day 86 – Back to Barcelona 

We left early and headed to the airport for our flight back to Barcelona. It was storming the whole time. We were of course lucky we did not have that weather the day before. I was home by 12:30pm and had a nice lazy day with the family hanging out in the apartment. Jonah had a friend over, Leila left at 3pm for a sleepover at a friend’s house, I went to the gym, and the boys played games. 

At night we had dinner with new international friends at a great Asian Fusion restaurant called Bao Boa. Part of my goal from my day 50 grades was to venture out from inside the American bubble. Yes, we are still in the ex-pat bubble, but I truly love learning about other cultures and experiences. 

On another note, Barcelona is getting cold. When I walked our babysitter home, I had to put my ski jacket on to stay warm. 

Sunday – 87 – Our First Visit to the Movies

Today our big family outing was going to the movies. It was our first time since we have been in Barcelona. Kelli took Leila and Jonah to a cartoon movie and I was taking Josh to Joker. Luckily, after seeing the recommendations at the theater that it is not for anyone under 18, and Josh seeing another movie he liked, I made a last minute audible to go to a much less violet movie. Several of his friends were there, as I guess movies in English attract ex-pats on Sunday afternoons, when everything else in Barcelona is closed. 

My favorite part of the movie was the popcorn, we had our choice of salt or kettle. I have never seen kettle corn at a movie before and we had to get it. It was perfect. Later I learned that Leila and Jonah were not allowed to get it. Good thing they don’t read this blog…shhhh.