Once we seriously started looking at moving to Latin America, I started learning Spanish. Before I started, the only Spanish I knew came from Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, and Taco Bell commercials. “¡Yo quiero Taco Bell!”
It’s been about a year now that I’ve been studying. I’ve been using the free Duolingo app for iOS, which game-ifies the learning process. A couple of weeks ago, I found that I could read the Spanish page in the Gleaner, albiet v-e-r-y slowly. On the whole page, I only had to look up four or five words. So while I still have a lot to learn, I feel pretty good about my progress.
Then last Tuesday I went to a Spanish conversation group at the library. Yikes, I know nothing. I have a ton of work to do to tune my ear to hear it. The teacher asked if it would help for her to speak more slowly, but that wouldn’t do any good. I’m just way too slow. I picked up about 1 word out of 10, but I’m sure I know far more vocab than that. I just need to tune my ear to understanding.
About half an hour into it, I quit trying, and just let it wash over me. By the end, I was actually picking up bits and pieces. But my brain was fried. After supper, I found myself playing with a Rubik’s cube just to balance my brain.
Man, I’ve got a lot of work to do in 10 months. I need to build a baseline in Spanish just as a starting point to actually learn it while we’re in Peru.