Mar 12, 2008
A few days ago I got supremely frustrated about my Spanish level. I have to confess that I had this expectation that I would arrive on Mexican soil and within a couple months I would be speaking like a native. This is in part because I have been studying it since I was 7 and had attained an intermediate/advanced level before leaving but also because I had several Spanish teachers and tutors tell me that I only needed a few weeks of immersion and I'd be speaking fluently.
Notice I said "immersion." Well, after two months I find that I still have to pause and think about what I want to say sometimes, or I have to actively think about verb tense and conjugation, when to use subjunctive, etc.
It all sort of came crashing down on me the other night when I realized that things weren't going to go as I had "planned." See, I speak in English all day with my hubby, work in English, often hang out with friends in English, etc. I'm not immersed, but my expectation was still there. When I have to switch to Spanish sometimes my mind just can't make the switch.
So, as any healthy person would, I decided to share how I was feeling with a friend.
Last night I spent two hours talking about how I was feeling about my Spanish level and various other things (as well as listening) in Spanish. I have to say that I'm starting to feel a little better about it. I was being really hard on myself- I've been here 2 months- I mean, lighten up! Plus, I think sometimes it just takes me a few minutes to "warm up" to where I can speak at speed and with reasonable accuracy, although I still second guess myself.
Sometimes I second guess myself when I am actually saying it right all along and it can be sort of silly. For instance, last night I was telling my friend she had to tell this guy she's dating how she's feeling and I said something like, "If you haven't told him, he can't know" then I second guessed my grammar and repeated "You haven't told him, no?" as a question. She answered "No, I haven't told him." LOL. She didn't know I was checking my grammar.
I also bought a copy of Paulo Cohelo's The Alchemist in Spanish so I can at least spend my spare time practicing. I'll get there...