It’s been around a month since I last posted, and nearly two since I’ve been in Spain. Has my Spanish improved? Well, if you were to believe the concierge of my building, or my housing agent, the answer would be yes.
Don’t believe them.
The concierge said my Spanish was better after I asked him ‘Que tal?’ (How are you?) and my housing agent said so after I said ‘Vale. Perfecto. Gracias’. (Okay. Perfect. Thank you). I even had to Google Translate her response. This is pretty basic stuff.
It is also things I already knew. And as much as I do know more new words, stringing a sentence together in real life conversations. I appreciate their enthusiasm, and it’s amazing how much it encourages me to attempt to speak more to them. Despite not knowing all the words to form a sentence. But that’s how you learn, right?
Being both a student and a teacher has really made me see how people in my class must feel when they don’t have the language. And even just responding with a smile on your face to students is so important. It’s not their fault when they lack some of the language.
Every lesson I feel like crying. It is so frustrating when I don’t know the words to speak, or if I’m not given the time to think about my answer. My lessons are too difficult and fast-paced and I am struggling, but they are also a perk of the job, so I don’t feel like I can say to slow down when other students are able to keep afloat.
At times I feel like I’m drowning, especially recently when I missed some lessons. But I keep going, and try to hold back my frustrated tears. I’m planning to dedicate a chunk of my weekend to studying.
I have also been regularly using apps to help. The best ones I have been using are Duolingo (obviously) and Spanish Verbs (Brainscape), which using a technique where you rate the confidence of each flashcard. It makes learning verbs fun, because you feel like you are gradually absorbing the words.
It is hard to find the time, but it is possible when you make it a priority. Obviously, other things can take over – work, friends coming to visit, and also wanting to lead a creatively fulfilling life. But as long as it is at the forefront of my mind, if I keep going, I will improve.
Now, I just need to find out about that Friday intercambio…