Wow, I can’t believe it has been so long since I sat down and wrote a post. I guess I have been feeling a little bit TOO at home in Buenos Aires – I have gotten into the routine of breakfast at my favorite cafe, going to class and doing my homework.
Yes, homework. It has been awhile since I have done homework.
Part of my goal in coming to South America and hanging out down here for so long was that I really want to learn Spanish. Given that the United States is the second largest Spanish-speaking country in the world (and some experts think it will grow to be the largest in a few decades), speaking Spanish can only be an asset. In addition to being useful, being bilingual is incredibly sexy and has got to be good for your brain.
When I left the States for Chile, I didn’t arrive with nothing. I had an ok level of Spanish, but had difficulty carrying on a conversation. My vocabulary was limited, I said things in very strange ways, and actually speaking with natives was nerve-wracking. In those five months, I definitely improved. My vocabulary expanded, my listening skills improved, and I got better at the whole conversing thing simply because I had to. Although my fluidity depends on a lot of factors (what we are talking about, who I am talking to, how many people are involved in the convo, how tired I am, etc.), I can usually carry on a conversation.
But I still speak like a cretin, committing endless errors. So, in an effort to polish up some of my grammar, I enrolled in Spanish classes in Buenos Aires. And I am LOVING them. I have never been so excited about grammar! Some of the tenses we are tackling are very complex and as I try out these new skills, I feel like I’m back at square one because of how many errors I am making. But on the bright side, I have had many people tell me that my Spanish is very good (and I have even received multiple compliments on my accent).
I am far from mastering the pluscuamperfecto de subjunctivo (who names these things?), but I feel like I am at least being given the tools to build my Spanish dream home. It’ll take a lot more work and practice to get to the level of fluidity and comfort that I want. Fortunately, by taking this class in Buenos Aires I am immersed in Spanish both inside and outside the classroom. I’m absorbing so much Spanish all the time, just by walking down the street or eating in a restaurant.
In addition, I’ve started watching TV in Spanish (Casa de Papel, what’s up!), taking walking tours in Spanish, and even reading in Spanish! It was about time for a rereading of the Harry Potter series anyway, and I’ve already finished the first two books 😊 And through this exercise I have learned the endlessly useful words varita (wand), baul (trunk), and cicatriz (scar).
I’m so happy that I gave myself this opportunity to continue immersing myself in a language and culture that I am growing to love and to practice speaking with people that encourage me meanwhile correcting my errors. I can’t believe I waited so long to do something like this. If you are dreaming of making a change in your life – DO IT!