Learning Spanish: 101

One of the first things we are setting our minds to in preparation for living in Peru is learning Spanish. We have roughly six months to learn what we can before we go. No problem, right?

We are planning, with the Lord’s help, to have daily Spanish lessons Monday-Friday and a review/conversation day on Saturday each week for the next six months—or until we give up in despair. People tell me that amount of practice is great; those who have gone to Spanish-speaking countries to live say they had far less study before going and became fluent just fine.

I smile at them and try to accept their encouraging words, but I remember how long it took me to learn the only language I know (I think it was something like thirty years). But I’m sure it will be fine.

Everything will be fine. It’s fine. Totally fine. I’m not worried.

This week was our first week of Spanish lessons. Happy New Year! Most of the sounds of Spanish are similar to English sounds, but that’s just the trouble. It is not easy to distinguish the difference between a soft t and a hard t, for example.

Thankfully, the teacher is patient and helpful with analogies: It’s more like the t you make when you’ve sipped kombucha with lemon on a cool autumn evening as you squint one eye at the fading sunlight and say “hippopotamus.” She smiles, expectantly.

I don’t even like kombucha with lemon.