I don’t know if I’ve ever written about this here, or not. But over the last year, I’ve been making an actual effort to learn Spanish. I have no good reason to learn Spanish. Of course it’s one of those things that everyone around here who doesn’t know Spanish says, “It would be really good to know”. Inferring that it opens up opportunities and maybe will let you know if someone in the cereal aisle is being critical of your fashion choices.
On of my friends is bi-lingual. I grill her on the language a lot and she obliges. If I were to look into the future (far future) of my Spanish speaking existence, I don’t know that I see myself finding that one great reason that learning Spanish will finally pay off. My impression is that she finds herself being the nearest available translator in random situations. Never compensated, and more than anything burdened with a responsibility of “getting it right”.
I never really thought about a second language being a sort of weight to carry with you. Think about it. When people need a translator, they need a translator. Because whatever it is, whatever they’re doing, language barrier or not, they need to get it done. So if you step in to translate for these people… you need to get it right. That’s kinda of a big liability to sign up for out of the goodness of your heart.
Learning the language has taught me a lot about people. I see how language can be so divisive. Over the years, I’ve encountered people who know little or no english at all. As a person is struggling to get their point across, searching and grasping for the phrase that will trigger a mutual understanding… In the moment it’s hard to see that person as intelligent. As your equal. It’s easy to think, “this person is dumb”. But how can you really make that judgment then and there? What if you’re actually talking to the smartest most compassionate person you’ll ever meet in your life. But because you can’t understand them you write them off as another idiot too lazy to learn.
More than any other quality we possess, skin color, lifestyle, education, I feel like language is more intimately tied to our culture. A black man and a white woman can sit down and discuss what makes them the same, what makes them different. Whether they agree or disagree on any concept that exists. An english speaker and a spanish speaker can’t. And what I’ve learned in my own admittedly narrow world view, is that so far… people are a lot more alike than we are different. Traditions, beliefs, cuisine, humor might all be wildly different. But what is right and wrong. How a person expects to be treated. What is fair. We’re all on the same page. It’s really brightened my view on humanity.
This is hard. Really hard. I’ve been at this for 10 months now. Practicing at least a little bit most days. I can read so so at least knowing enough context to make sense of it. I can barely write and speak. I don’t really have the opportunity for conversation, but listening to podcasts and watching shows in Spanish leaves me about three or four words behind and then I’m lost. I don’t think it’s HARDER than I expected. Just that I couldn’t do it “my” way. Which was basically just expose myself to as much of it as I could and one day it would all sink in. There’s just more too it than that. You can’t learn something you don’t know by osmosis. You have to put in work and effort and just straight hard memorization. Just this week, 10 months into it, I finally broke down and ordered some textbooks.
I’m excited to get more comfortable with the language. I’m excited to be able to express myself in it. I’m excited to be challenged by people. And to be quite honest, I’m excited for it to get easier.
En este momento, estoy feliz para saber que se. Estoy feliz de hacer esta oración. Quiero continuar aprendiendo mas. Gracias por leer y si decidas hacer algo, no tengas miedo. Si es dura. Entonces el regalo sera genial.