A breakthrough learning Spanish
Something rather extraordinary happened to me today. I thought a thought in Spanish. Unconsciously!!
“Hold up sista…” I hear you say “If that’s high up on your Extraordinary-O-Metre how lame is your life?! Seriously, get a hobby”
Well, it kind of is already my hobby. A hobby I have long had a love hate relationship with. I arrived in Argentina three weeks ago and my list of Why I’m Going To Argentina looked like this:
Pursue Argentinian Lover: Yes, that sounds kinda stalkerish and ridiculous but it is actually a legitimate, and I like to think, rather romantical, story I wrote about here.
Explore more of Argentina: I spent some time here while backpacking through South America in 2012.
Improve My Spanish: I always had the notion if I fell in love with someone who spoke another language I would be fluent within months. I’d study furiously so I could converse with my love in his own language – très romantique, no?!
The reality? Turns out, in love or not, most of the time I couldn’t be arsed conjugating verbs, I got lazy and google translate was my best friend.
But now, all that is changing!
Me. Think. In. Spanish…..mmmm that’s also similar to how I speak in Spanish.
It’s not the first time I’ve tried to learn. The backstory on my attempt at this language is long, marred with tantrums and resolutions all previously documented here on the blog. I did actually make quite a lot of progress during my last trip when I took three weeks of one on one lessons studying in a school in Granada, Nicaragua.
Then, I returned home to Australia and stopped speaking Spanish. I forgot what I’d learned quicker than you could say Hola! which was about all I remembered. I felt incredibly frustrated.
Was learning another language ACTUALLY that difficult, or was I just as thick as two bricks? All that effort to progress and I could no longer recall the basics.
‘It’s all in there brain!’ I’d say ‘Spanish verbs, come out, come out wherever you are!’
But no amount of cajoling my brain would release what I’d learnt and I lost motivation to study, got lazy and relied on google translate as if it were a limb. I wanted to give up because I just couldn’t see a light at the end of the linguistic tunnel. I took yet another course in Australia but speaking with other students who are just as bad as you helps no-one, in my opinion. So I guess I kind of did give up.
Now I’m here in Argentina, living in a Spanish speaking household and surrounded by many lovely people who are so patient and their encouragement is helping me learn. The fact that I thought something in Spanish without translating it first is a sign my brain is finally getting on board. Conversations in Spanish feel like a little less effort than when I first arrived. I am hopeful. Hopeful that my brain DOES actually work in conjunction with other languages and even if it’s default setting is English, there might be room for another option on the dial.