Today is Friday and the completion of my fifth week of classes. I feel that I have gained leaps and bounds from where I was when I came here. Last night I met my friend Mario's roommates Jose and Suzanna. They are both from Spain, but various areas. I build up a confidence in the classroom for speaking and understanding Spanish, but when I go outside of the classroom that confidence levels off quickly, haha.
I know that I still have a ways to go before I can reach my goal of being able to carry an intellectual conversation with a person who speaks Spanish. I can generally understand the main point of what they are saying, but when they speak fast, I am done for.
Last night at dinner, it was just Carmen, Pepe (her son) and I. I think it went really well, there was no one there to throw me an "English life preserver" however, I was able to manage to understand the majority of the topics that came up and ask questions along the way. This is after 5 weeks and coming here with no experience of speaking Spanish and some experience in grammar.
After dinner I spoke with Pepe for two hours! It was more Pepe doing the talking and me being an active listener. At this point, I have no choice but to be an active listener because I am scrambling to grasp what words I know and synthesize them to the point where I get an idea of what the conversation is and where it is going. However, I was able to ask questions and interject viewpoints here and there. We discussed world matters such as the on going war in the middle east, Israel an Lebanon, economies and so forth. I valued the talk I had with Pepe and was actually kind of tired afterwards because I was thinking so hard to figure out what all he was saying. I hope to have more discussions like these in the future.
People have asked me before why do you want to learn Spanish and/or why did you come to Spain. There are many reasons for this.
There are the typical reasons that it can set me a part in the business as well as academic worlds from other candidates. There is also the reason that I wanted to gain a different experience from what I have known or learned in the past. I guess the main reason I have come here to learn Spanish is that for a long time now I have made it one of my goals to be able to converse in another language besides English.
One of the greatest things is to be able to communicate with a person and trade their ideas and viewpoints in an exchange. I have done this for a while in the US and thought how great it could be to do this with people from other places and countries. I chose Spanish because I had started on in high school and also that it is the second language in the US today and does not look to be slowing down.
I could always say that this will set me apart, but I think the reason previously stated is the one that holds truest. I chose Spain because I wanted to go to Europe and learn Spanish, so there is really only one place to do that, haha. I wanted to come to Europe because there is an incredible wealth of history here and many things to do and see. I also made it a goal of mine to live in a different country for a time and this has given me the opportunity to do this. So far, I have been pleased with my experience and hope to continue to experience new and different things.