Some days I feel I can speak Spanish well, I think, yeah, “I got this.”
Other days, I feel like I can’t speak at all but I understand everything. Or I can’t speak in English or in Spanish. That’s always the best. My Spanish ebbs and flows. When I returned after Christmas break, I felt as if I had fallen behind. My words were stuck; lost but after a few weeks of speaking and listening in Spanish non-stop, I felt back up to par.
I know studying would help me. A LOT. But, more often than not, No tengo ganas de estudiar (I don’t feel like studying). How do I motivate myself when I know it’s what I got to do? If you got answers, let me know. I know how much better my Spanish would be and somehow it doesn’t get me cracking open the books. However, some days I have opened my grammar books and it’s great. I either feel overwhelmed or feel I know more than I thought. I just want to be fluent…, yesterday!
There’s a few things that don’t help me speak Spanish:
- having auxiliar (teach English, therefore speak English) friends (I love them) but typically when we hang out, we speak in Inglés.
- teaching in Inglés ( I know it’s only for 12 hours, what am I complaining about?)
- giving private English classes
- knowing Spanish people who speak English. I automatically default to English the moment I can’t express what I want to quickly and I know they will understand me in English
- staying in touch with friends and family back home (of course, I wouldn’t trade being in touch with my friends/family but) I speak in English
- sometimes feeling embarrassed (usually I don’t care but depends on who it is)
- spending time writing my blog
I’m NOT going to stop doing these things. I simply need to speak Spanish as much as possible. Even when I’d prefer to take the easy way out. It’s easy to speak English. It’s my native tongue but that’s not why I’m here in Spain. Isn’t this what I tell my students in my conversation classes? Advice is golden, isn’t it, especially your own?
Since I returned from Ireland ( after only speaking in English for 5 days) I feel as if I’ve been speaking English 90% of the time and then when I would speak Spanish, I felt I couldn’t speak. Where did my words go? Yesterday, I was talking with (auxiilar) friends about how I feel my ability to speak Spanish is how it was when I first arrived in September. They didn’t agree (thankfully) but I felt I could only speak in present tense, I couldn’t prononce words correctly and I couldn’t remember basic words.
I started to tell myself a mantra in Spanish: “Puedo hablar en Español. Lo sé español suficiente. Habla habla habla.” Solo necesito hablar en Español.” I can speak Spanish, I know enough Spanish. You only need to speak in Spanish. Speak. Speak. Speak.
I came home and watched Spanish TV, then opened my Spanish grammar book written in Spanish and just read and understood. poco a poco (slowly slowly)
Today, when I arrived at school, I only spoke to teachers in Spanish (yes, I often speak Spanglish with them, they want to practice their English too). Today, I changed my attitude and perspective. I can speak! Often during Recreo, I go to the café for breakfast and sit and chat with teachers. A substitute teacher arrived to Roquetas TODAY and needed a place to stay. Luck would have it, that she saw the flier I posted over a month ago about my room for rent and when I walked in to the café, another teacher introduced us.
She has a substitute position for 2 weeks and will live with me during this time. Lucky for me, we’ve been speaking a lot of Spanish. I realize I can speak. I know enough Spanish. Look at me go. I’m speaking! Learning a language takes time. Takes practice. Takes listening. Takes speaking. And most of all, takes patience and being kind to myself.
I have to remember, there will be days I can speak A LOT and others that I can’t say much at all. That’s ok. My brain is working hard. I’m learning another language!
If you have learned another language or are learning- What are challenges you face? How did you get past them?