I haven’t written about my spanish progress for awhile. There’s a good reason for that…It’s slooooow going! I’m trying, EVERYDAY, I’m trying! And I gotta tell ya…its a bit discouraging at times, not devastatingly discouraging, just a bit frustrating . Don’t worry too much, that sounded rather discouraged, not to worry, I promise, I’m farrrr from beating myself up too much. I have moments of wonderment when I actually get something out that is understood and I realize I have actually communicated to someone in SPANISH! Whoohoo! My heart soars when that happens, and I think its beginning to happen more and more, it’s true!
When we finished our last session of classes at Habla Ya several months back Scott felt done with the classroom setting while I too was feeling ready to get out there and start trying to use what I had learned. I know I’ll get to a point where I’m ready to get back to classes. I am the slowest learner ever! Although, I will admit that while my vocabulary needs lots of work, I’m slowly beginning to comprehend more and more of what is being said to me. But holy crap, when it’s my turn to respond to something I’m really in big trouble. I can almost always make myself understood but it’s not easy and I’m so far from being able to actually use a complete sentence.
I continue to try to surround myself with as many Spanish speaking people as I possibly can. I really enjoy my get togethers with Rosemary and with Aris but, I’m hoping they’re not getting tired of me, they would never ever tell me if they were. The Panamanians are much too nice and polite to tell me they would like to stop getting together. So I just keep trying to spend as much time with these two lovely women and they kindly endure my lame attempt to speak Spanish. I really do enjoy being around both of them and I have faith in the fact that there will be a day in the very far away future, when I’ll actually be able to carry on an fluid conversation with them in Spanish. In the meantime, I cherish these two new friendships and marvel at how we women can make friends with each other without even speaking the same language…life is good when you surround yourself with good people!
With Scott up at the property everyday I’m in charge of dealing with all the running around town and keeping our life in order. So I go to the bank, the grocery store, the produce mercado, the pharmacy, the mail places, Fletes Chavales and I manage to be productive and I get lots of practice speaking and listening to Spanish. I remember the early days of being here when I went through a little bit of ‘culture shock’. I remember when I first began doing all the shopping and errands all alone and how many times I very nearly broke into tears with the terror of trying to speak. Just asking for “un kilo carne molida”, or trying to understand the amount of money I owed the produce guy. I said ,”lo siento” so much and felt so stupid and lost almost every time I went to run errands. Well, I still say “lo siento” all the time but I no longer feel quite so stupid anymore. As I’ve written about before, the people in the places I go to frequently are beginning to remember me and are very kind and patient with my lousy spanish. They know I’m learning Poco a poco and they help me and encourage me.
Last week I invited Rosemary to go to play Bingo. I had gotten an email about a little fundraiser for one of the animal organizations and it said the game would be in Spanish & English. So, I thought, “what the heck!” I’ll just see if she would like to go play a game! When I asked her she seemed a bit hesitant but her husband Gustovo was there and he told her it would be good for her to be sociable! The two of them cant leave the house a lot because they care for his elderly parents who have to be watched closely everyday. So she agreed to come along and we had a great time! It was good for me to play with her, and the announcer used Spanish and English while calling out the numbers, which is one of my weakest things! Ugggg! I’m just horrible with my spanish numbers! I must say, though, I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more Panamanians playing. I guess it is probably a gringo organization and many Panamanians would not be able to afford to play a game that costs $10.00 to play. Well, I had so much fun with Rosemary and I think she will be happy to go again, next time maybe I’ll see if Aris would enjoy that too.
Learning a language is certainly not something that gives one immediate gratification. It takes a lot of determination and patience and you have to really WANT to learn. I have days when I feel discouraged and then I have days when I feel like I’m doing pretty good. I often think back to when we first moved here and how little Spanish I knew back then. I really have learned a lot and I must pat myself on the back and feel good about my progress and just keep trying to learn. Learning Spanish my be one of the most difficult things I’ve ever set my sights on achieving. I may be a very slow learner but one thing I’m not is …a Quitter. Getting discouraged now and again would never make me give up or stop trying, just the opposite. I’m certainly living in the right part of the world and I’m surrounded by the language so there’s just no way that I wont eventually get it! In the meantime I just keep plugging along and sounding silly most of the time, but who cares! My language learning adventure is something that’s giving me lots of opportunities to ask for help and that always brings opportunity to meet new people. I’ve never had any problems with any Panamanian who showed even the slightest annoyance or impatience with me when I’m trying to speak. Just the opposite, people are kind, patient, caring and so very happy to help me.
I must say, I marvel at Scott and his ability to communicate so well! He has really picked up the language and always seems to understand what’s being said to him. When we go someplace together he is able to communicate fairly fluently and to understand nearly all that’s being said. It’s just great to see him with his workers. I think for him, he’s completely immersed and spends his days with people who speak no english at all, so he’s really gotten so much practice. That and the fact that that guy just seems to learn things so easily! My brain just doesn’t work the same way his does. Humph! Oh well! It’s pretty crucial for him to be able to communicate to his workers or who knows what our house would look like! Hah! The Adventure Continues….La Aventura Continúa ..