Learning a new language is hard work. It is difficult to describe the feeling my brain has. It’s as if there’s a pressure, a sense of tension or expectation, like a compressed spring, and it feels volatile.
It’s not that my brain feels broken, it’s more like it feels chaotic. I know it’s only been a week of learning only the basics of basic Spanish, but already at this early stage, I carry this odd feeling of my brain not being sure which language to speak.
All my life, pretty well, my brain has never had to consider which language it should use, merely which word in the language. Now my brain has a switch to flip, and like a three-year-old it says Yay! A new switch! I’m going to switch it off and on very quickly, just for fun.
I’m glad my brain is having fun, but it’d be less stressful for me if it would figure out this language-learning business is serious!
So far I have learned how to say a few phrases, and I’ve quickly figured out which are the most important: ¡No sé! (I don’t know!); ¡No comprendo! (I don’t understand!); ¡No recuerdo! (I don’t remember!); and my favorite ¡No puedo! (I can’t.)
We have also learned a host of nouns. La profesora (the teacher) is pushing us to memorize well enough to be able to recite quickly under a timer. The added pressure of a timer makes it surprisingly more difficult to recite, but it’s good for me.
One fun aspect of the learning has been practicing with Steph in the evenings. We’re both somewhat competitive and can tend to be perfectionists (aka proud). It’s healthy for our relationship to be forced to work together on something about which we’re both ignorant. I’m thankful for the opportunity to spend more time with her.
We are trying to talk to each other in Spanish at home (emphasis on trying), which makes every conversation longer than it used to be. If we aren’t careful, that leads to frustration, but we have a goal to enjoy this part of the journey, to live in the present, and to laugh at our mistakes–and not to be offended when the other laughs, too!
¡Hasta la vista!