Not to have a pity party, but I was down this morning. In kickboxing class the teacher started speaking English to me after she told the class something in Spanish.
That was nice of her because I hadn’t understood all she said. But truthfully, I was in denial, deflated and keenly aware that I stick out.
Denial: I can understand Spanish! (I didn’t know what she had said)
Deflated: I should’ve understood what she said (ok, she was talking about her friend who had cancer. I don’t know that vocabulary yet)
I stick out: I hadn’t opened my mouth yet, so she couldn’t have heard my accent. She asked the class a question, which I did understand, and I nodded. So she knew I could understand a little. I looked in the mirror. Guess I don’t look Puerto Rican. (we knew that).
Later she told me she was excited to practice English. Which is understandable. And I’m flattered to help. But it simultaneously robs me of an opportunity to practice and shows me that her English is better than my Spanish. It still takes me SO long to switch gears into thinking and speaking Spanish, I’m usually 2 minutes behind on every conversation. Every sentence needs to be carefully crafted and rechecked in my head before I spit it out. Usually. I can speak in the present tense pretty well with words I use a lot.
I’m probably like my Dad. For years he claimed he wasn’t a fluent Spanish speaker and then I’d hear him praddle off in Espanol and be amazed. I’ve had locals here tell me my Spanish is great. I’ll keep their praises in mind when I’m hard on myself.
And just the other day it dawned on me that there are FOUR ways to say ‘was’ in Spanish. No wonder I’ve had a hard time with that word. jeez! 🙂
Last weekend I met a lady who’s lived here 41 years and still doesn’t speak Spanish. To each her own, but I would seriously regret that. I can’t stop pushing myself in all areas of life.
Before everyone makes encouraging comments below, I’m just having a moment, and I’m fine. Everyone gets frustrated. I’m WAY ahead of where I was a year ago. Go Laura!