I had a serious breakthrough recently, an official A-Ha moment. I spent four days in the thick of Mexico City without a single bilingual buddy and survived without speaking even one word of English. Say what! That sounds ridiculous after having lived in Barcelona for over two and a half years now, right? I should be a pro at speaking EspaÃ±ol. However for anyone that has decided late in life (after the age of 10 is considered to be a bit tardy) to learn another language will know full immersion of a couple of years doesnâ€™t make one fluent. I am only finding this out now.
People always comment to me, that I must be fluent by now. I always sonrio (laugh) and tell them I get by and itâ€™s the honest to goodness truth. At least that is how I felt. The most difficult hurdle to overcome in learning a new language is having the confidence that you can h-a-b-l-a-r and e-n-t-e-n-d-e-r or at least that you willâ€¦ somedayâ€¦ in the hopefully near future. Until this trip I had doubted in my abilities despite I live my day to day life in Spanish. Amigos, mi profesora have given me consistent positive feedback all along the way of my bilingual journey. Pero no, I couldnâ€™t see what I had accomplished because I was always looking at all that I had to still learn like, ahem, the subjunctive form. For me the glass was half-empty instead of half-full hasta (until) Mexico.
It was then and only then I could believe the words of complete strangers telling me how impressed they were with my Spanish. â€™â€™Eres una gringa pero hablas muy bien espaÃ±ol y despues un par de aÃ±os ademÃ¡s.â€™â€™ (Youâ€™re a foreigner but you speak Spanish really well and after a couple of years, furthermore). I did more than pedir comida (order food) and ask for directions but joked with taxi drivers and had full-on discussions with colleagues. I didnâ€™t have my crutch of multi-lingual, English speaking compeÃ±aros at my side that allow me to be lazy and speak in gringo. I said â€˜â€™comoâ€™â€™ (excuse me, I didn’t catch watch you meant)Â more than a few times because Mexican terminology is a bit different than Spanish palabras (words) but yet I held my own and made myself proud.
EnhorabueÃ±a a mi misma!
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Last 5 posts by Espana Fly
- Canonâ€™s Second Shot Gets Me Crying - December 15th, 2010
- On Break From Barcelona - December 8th, 2010
- Barcelona, The Pope, The Protests & Who Paid For It - November 17th, 2010
- Finally, A Little Recognition - October 28th, 2010
- Spain's Desperate Economy Calls for Desperate Measures - October 15th, 2010