Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A piece of fall.

Last week while on the bus coming home from work I was studying Spanish, well specifically words with tildas and where to place the accents when there are no tildas. This is a difficult thing to study alone but I was practicing for a lesson so I was reading quietly aloud and trying to ignore the fact that people around me might think I am nuts. Well, as it turned out, the man behind me was amused at my attempts and so he asked me if I spoke English... in English. The man had to be well into his seventies and had a beautiful smile, but he irked me because he kept speaking to me in English even though I continuously attempted to steer back to Spanish. This happens to me frequently, people here like to practice languages so when they have the opportunity they jump on it. Although the man was nice, I was annoyed by his not wanting to converse in Spanish.

I saw him again on the bus tonight and chose a seat next to his so that we could try again. We spoke for nearly 30 minutes.. ok so it was Spanglish but I tried real hard to stay in Spanish even when I was at a loss for words. I think it was the first time I had a conversation that was remotely interesting. Ironically, his name is Daniel and he is a retired teacher.

It's weird to be learning a second language now, at this stage of life. It brings up strange feelings. For example the other night I was saying good night to a friend in Spanish and when it was over, I felt like I didn't give a proper good-bye. At first, meaning the first couple of months, I noticed I was repeating everything I said in Spanish in English but I made myself stop doing that... mostly, at least I try. I am taking two private lessons a week, and I finally found a workbook I enjoy using and think is useful. Additionally, I get to learn new vocabulary everyday I teach which is great. My students LOVE teaching me bits and pieces of their language and enjoy watching me struggle with the pronunciation.

It's hard though. Today, for example, my boss invited a friend to the house for lunch. They spoke to each other in Spanish the whole time while I listened for one hour of them talking about their kids, work, the weather, Christmas. Occasionally I added a little something, but listening and comprehending (I think I got about 70%) takes so much effort for me .To put together a sentence on top of that AND to make it come out of my mouth causes a type of headache I have NEVER had before... seriously. It's similar to the one you get when driving in a heavy rain or snow storm for too long, but it's not exactly the same. I seriously feel my brain being used in a new way and it's exhausting.

Do I sound like I'm complaining? Well, for the record I'm not, not really anyway. I remain frustrated, but determined. I enjoy the challenges 90% of the time. Now, I'm tired and my brain is on overload. I thought I might study a bit but I think I will only examine my eyelids.

No comments: