Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tu Hablas Espanol?

No. No I do not, but I understand pretty well so be careful when you go to comment on my lack of language skills. Honestly, the comments are usually very helpful, feedback and smiles of understanding that I will learn. Smiles explaining that it's not a big deal since they've maybe learned a new language and understand how difficult it can be to be a language student. I've only had one bad reaction and honestly that in no form can out weigh the kindness of all the others.
Spanish Classmates
But why move to Spain if you don't speak Spanish? Welp, why not. I've done six years of sitting at a desk attempting to learn a language that so many surrounding me in Texas speak and understand, but when I arrived in Spain I couldn't tell the taxi driver the address in Spanish. What the Frog is that, serious time and money wasted for sure. When I look back on those classes, almost ten years ago some folk were still of the mind frame that learning Spanish was not a necessary. Those folks are now jobless. Replaced by Spanish teachers whose native tongue is Spanish and who hold a desire for the language of their people to be taught so that a person can move upward and develop relationships in a Spanish speaking world.
It is hard. Very hard, but I've come along way and I plan to go even further. While basic conversations with the people I must interact with daily have definitely aided me (i.e. bus driver, parents of students, students, the waiter and sometime neighbors) they are not providing me with the nitty gritty, just the basics.
For the whole get down I started with taking two weeks of Spanish classes at the beginner level in Spain from the Language Academy, CLIC located in Sevilla. The classes were not playtime, we had homework, test and the teacher refused to speak in English or bump her pace down to a snails pace. That definitely helped as did the language book which in every chapter provides at least two section dissections that graphic organize everything the information taught.
Now that I'm in Jaen and my schedule does not permit an extra 3-4hrs, I have to get in were I fit in- thank goodness for Intercambio. The basic definition of Intercambio is speaking conversational Spanish for an allotted time then switching to English for the same amount of time.
However, because my Intercambio partners are actually teachers I have received two work books ( one grammar the other just language related) and a novel to read, all of which are written in Spanish. During my sessions there is plenty of note taking and question asking.
Also, in my back pocket there are a few web resources I plan to put to use next semester when Graduate school is not a time requirement. More on those later. Just now I've made some baby steps since arriving her a little over a month ago and I look forward on looking back at the end of this adventure.
My biggest struggle or roadblock is myself. In the beginning I was so fearful of my Texas accent devouring my Spanish accent, which it does from time to time. This irrational fear stems from two seeds. 1.) Spanish class in High School when my teacher hated my accent so much she refused to allow me to speak and only assigned me reading and writing for language practice. 2.) Hearing the amazing accents of other Americans who have studied abroad before teaching abroad or who have Spanish majors is a little intimidating definitely.
 But then I got over those issues with a big gulp of "who cares" and little confidence boost from the many Spanish folk who've I've spoken to that like to compliment the fact that they understand me so well compared to other Americans (Thanks Mom and Dad for all the books, etiquette classes, and theatre participation). Now, I just speak, pause for correction and say "gracias". No big deal.
Here's to learning Spanish and having fun, Until next time . . . Adios, Hasta Pronto, and Be Blessed

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