I am obsessed.
Just ask my family. Every single day, practically, I am at the computer, staring at pictures and saying things like, “El gato duerme” and “Japon esta lejos de Brasil.” (“The cat sleeps” and “Japan is far from Brazil”, respectively.) When I am procrastinating, I do my Spanish lessons. When I am sick, I do my Spanish lessons. When I go somewhere, I take my audio companions (and I get grumpy when I accidentally leave them in the car that I am not driving). I form sentences to test on the Latino guys at work, like, “Huevo sol ariba?” (“Egg sun up?” You know… fried egg, sunny side up…). I scour Craigslist for ads in Spanish to read (the Personals are especially interesting). All this thanks to working with Latino people and wanting to be able to communicate with them better.
I was not always this excited about Spanish. In fact, it was the opposite. I wanted to learn ANYTHING else instead: Spanish was too “common.” Every kid in America was learning Spanish.
So I grew up trying to learn French (less common? Apparently). However, every program I tried only catered to one learning style and/or did not teach me anything useful. Also, I realized a few years ago that I really had no reason to learn French at all: I had no particular overwhelming desire to travel to France, Belgium, or Canada, no French friends, no obsession with French culture, food, literature, music, or anything. That was when I quit, too relieved to feel disappointed in myself.
At the beginning of June, though, when I started my new job in the restaurant, my disheartened attitude about language learning in general made a 180:
Spanish is the second language in this current workplace of mine. Half the employees are Latino and they are always talking to each other in Spanish and to the rest of us in Spanglish. Immersion has presented itself, and therefore the motivation to learn to communicate. Sure, these guys speak some English, too, but why limit ourselves? Especially when I see their faces light up every time I understand what they are saying or say something in their language. It is, really, deeply flattering when someone from another country has chosen to learn your native language.
My dad bought Rosetta Stone Spanish levels one and two a couple of years ago for anybody in the family who wanted to use it. Up until June I considered it a “might as well as a last resort” option. But now, it’s ended up being exactly what I’ve needed.
Now I can’t stop. I am always hungering after anything Spanish-related… poetry especially, but basically anything that has any Spanish word in it or has any associations with Spanish whatsoever (like bags of nacho chips). What I really want is, once I have gone through all five levels of Rosetta Stone, to take maybe 6-ish months and travel in Mexico, Central, and South America, completely immersing myself in the language and culture through a combination of WWOOFing adventures and homestays that will probably include dancing lessons.
Did you know they have majors in foreign languages? I mean, I knew, and it kind of makes sense, but then it kind of doesn’t. While couchsurfing a few months ago I stayed at a couple’s house where the girl was working on her master’s in French, dating an Actual French Dude From France who, as a plus, helped her with her assignments. I mean, I guess that’s what you need if you want to teach French, which was what she was aspiring to do…
…. But really? Wouldn’t it be super, amazingly, stupendously fun to design your own “major” around a foreign language? I mean, just by opening myself up to learning new linguistic processes, I have acquired a thirst I would have never guessed would follow. What if I followed through completely on these inclinations, and started studying Spanish poetry/literature, Spanish history, Spanish architecture, Spanish geology, Spanish… whatever! There are 21 Spanish-speaking countries, including Spain in Europe, Equatorial Guinea in Africa, Mexico in North America, and the other 18 in the Caribbean, Central, and South America.
Where to start??
Well, I know for one thing that I have always wanted to study Argentine Tango in Argentina, so there’s a start.
Regardless, I am SO EXCITED. Don’t stop me now!