Aey!! Who’s idea was it to learn Spanish???


Our first week of Spanish school and I’m exhausted!! Holy Moly!! It’s gonna be a longggg ten weeks! I really like our teacher, Jubal, he’s extremely patient with this slowww gringo. The amount of repetition my old,slow brain requires is hard to believe. He must think I belong on the special bus. Heck, I am wondering myself why it takes me so long to learn, especially compared to my sweet (insert eye roll here) Scott! It seems as though he needs only to hear it one time and it’s forever embedded in his brain! Geesh! I’m just kidding,(mostly) but Scott really does learn relatively fast and seemingly effortlessly. Ok….I’m probably being a touch dramatic but that guy is some kind of genius! GEEEESH!

I’ve never been a good student, academia is not where I feel at home. I’ve got a feeling, I’m my own worst enemy . My self talk is debilitating and at times causes my brain to completely shut down. I went into this Spanish class fully aware of this self-sabotaging habit of mine, it’s nothing new. In spite of this life-long habit I’m determined not to let this weakness overcome my determination to learn Spanish. I had a similar experience when I went to my very first sculpture workshop. I stood there in front of my lump of clay and my mind went blank. I looked around at the other sculptures in the room and saw that they began to work in their clay without a bit of hesitation. I had to force myself not to compare myself to them. In order to allow myself to open my mind and attempt to do something I was not at first comfortable doing, I had to just let go of my inhibitions and dive in . I wasn’t an instant success at creating a beautiful likeness to the pose the model was holding. Heck, I may never have the natural talent that most of my sculpture friends have, but I did a pretty darn good job for a beginner. Although, mostly, I really enjoyed seeing my lump of clay miraculously turn into something kinda pretty! In that instance, I persevered and I triumphed over my negative self-talk that was saying,” I can’t do this!”

It’s only the first week but I can see that I have indeed committed myself to a challenge, that damn negative self-talk is at it again. Yesterday, at the end of the day Scott and I discussed how we felt the first week went for us. For me the class is moving much too fast. For him, the pace was not a problem. (No surprise) So something needs to change for me. We have one other student in our class with us , Jordan, who agreed with me about the pace being too fast. So after discussing this with our teacher and going to the office to discuss it we decided that Scott will do next week in a private ,one on one class while me and Jordan spend next week reviewing everything we went through this week. This idea seems to be agreeable to everyone. We will see where it goes from there. It just may be that Scott and I will not be in the same class, which is what I always expected.

I must say that, as usual, learning with Scott is an absolute pleasure. I like to joke around about how weirdly smart the guy is but to be quite honest he selflessly helps me study and patiently explains things to me over and over and over again until it “mostly’ sinks into my stubborn head. He never, ever, not even once, makes me feel stupid or gets even the least bit frustrated with me. As we walk into town he will quiz me on numbers and each day it’s like I’m learning it all over again for the first time. He encourages me and tells me I’m improving, but I’m not so sure. See, there I go again! Seriously though, I’m committed to learning Spanish in spite of my history with my self-sabotaging ways!! Ya, it’s hard and I might find myself crying in frustration, but I’m deeply determined to continue on and to working hard . I may take two or three times as long to get it but Im confident that if I just keep moving forward and stop thinking negative thoughts, eventually I’ll get it. Whew!


About hollycarter184

Life is Good! But it's time for a change, and more adventure! I'd like to share the whole experience of preparing then actually making a reality of expatriating, and moving to a new country. It's an exciting, and slightly scary move full of possibility . I'm looking forward to learning a new language and making new connections with the people who share our spirit of adventure. This blog is my way of continuing my connection with my friends and family in the States. Sooooo here it goes! :)

10 responses »

  1. Oh you do a very nice job of sabotage, take it from me you are smart and it is Ok to think that about yourself and say it out loud. We all learn at different rates and slow and steady does win the race. I remember when studying Midwifery the girl who did not seem the smartest in class topped the state at the end of the year. Your persistence and commitment will be what wins you the prize of speaking Spanish.

  2. Holly, it will come in dribs and drabs. You might feel like the slowest learner on the planet for a while, then, BOOM, all of a sudden all sorts of things will click and you will feel like a genius! It’s a long, long process. And anytime you want some practice, just give me a shout. 🙂

  3. You are just like me!! I know you think I sort of have it together but you have no idea the hours I have spent, and the things I still don’t know or understand. People have to tell me a word over and over and over, and I still don’t remember. Math? Science? No problem. History and languages though.. ugh. My brain doesn’t work that way. You have to keep at it and little by little it will sink in, I promise. It’s so worth it too. The locals really appreciate the effort we make to learn, and getting to know them in such a pleasure. And, they say learning a language is good for your brain and decreases your chances for alzheimers 😉 Hang in there!

    I took class on line for an hour a day, 4 days/week. That, with homework, was a lot of Spanish time for me. Maybe after your classes are done you could ask about an arrangement like that? Then you could keep learning, and with private lessons you can go at your own pace.

  4. Holly…remember to take baby steps. Just learn some of the nouns that you use daily and add the most important verbs. One little step at a time. For example: At the grocery store, “I want to buy milk.” Yo quiero a comprar leche.” Or to make it even simpler: Yo quiero leche.” Or simpler: Quiero leche.” Start simply only with the nouns and verbs you use in daily life: Verbs such as want, need, have, make or do. That’s what worked for me and then I could get fancier as I went along. Only work on the present tense verbs at first. That way it won’t be so overwhelming. Just keep reminding yourself that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Be loving and kind to yourself…you’ll get it..poco a poco. I have faith in you!

  5. My experience of being in class with guys, including very smart guys, is that they learn better if they are in class with a questions asker. Many guys will not ask questions or ever say the pace is too fast, but they are subconsciously hoping someone else will do that. Several guys I went all through college with told me this AFTER 4 years of class. Whether or not that subconscious part is true of Scott, believe me you are actually helping him.

  6. Hi Holly,
    I am just like you when it comes to this kind of thing, my ex-in laws (large family) are Cuban, how I learned Spanish ( no way near fluent or proper) I focused on words instead of the whole sentence. Try to focus on the every day words, or small sentences. I used to put sticks around the house too, being you are immersed in the culture you will learn, you’ll see….hasta mañana … Until tomorrow .

  7. Holly
    Don’t be hard on yourself. I was born in Italy, spoke Italian until I was 3 1/2. Then I was sent to live with my Grandparents in Denmark, when my mother arrived 9 months later, I only spoke Danish. We emigrated to the U.S. in 1947, I started first grade with about 4 words of English, learned real fast, forgot the Danish. Failed Latin and Spanish in High School. Took 3 years to get through 2 years of Spanish in college. Now I am 71 and moving to Panama in 38 days. Luckily my wife speaks passable Spanish and I will have to learn. Now give me a math problem and I can solve that in my head, let me build or repair something and no sweat, great cook, not a language person. On top of all that, my mother spoke 7 languages, she did not pass on that gene to me.
    Buena Suerta, you will learn!

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