Doy un suspiro

It’s been two weeks since I started Spanish classes. The initial jubilation—I can make a sentence! my pronunciation isn’t that bad!—has given way to a more realistic assessment of my abilities and how very far I have to go.

Our class has covered so much material: present tense; simple past; gerunds; imperfect; plus-que-parfait (I only know what it’s called in French); simple future; replacing direct and indirect objects with articles and pronouns; a variety of prepositions; and of course, a long list of vocabulary. I feel my head about to go under water, and I think my classmates Alex and Ramon are in the same place.

On Tuesday I went on the outing organized by the school to I could get in some practice speaking. A young teacher named Matías, just back from a year of travel in northern Argentina, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, took Ramon and me to Lago Gutierrez in the afternoon to enjoy the scenery and drink mate. Pete was in his private lesson so I brought Lou, too. Matías was patient with my fractured, error-filled Spanish, and I surprised myself with what I was able to say.

There’s something about the classroom dynamic—maybe because I suspect the teacher is constantly evaluating—that can make it harder for me to perform well there. Language learning as an adult is such a head game!

2 thoughts on “Doy un suspiro

  1. Val

    Ellen, I love your updates, what a wonderful adventure. And how brave you all are. Keep the pictures coming too…love to live “virtually” with you. Val

  2. Michaela

    Thank you so much for sending an e-mail reminder about more posts, I was surprised how much new material you have here. So many things invoke such strong reactions in my mind: the concept of too much togetherness, the Internet not working due to “strong winds”, the driver not being sorry for not telling where you to get off, the plethora of tenses in the Spanish language… all of these things remind me of so many memories from my own life. It is amazing how life in another country can be both super cool as well as super exhausting/frustrating all at the same time. In any case, I am absolutely thrilled for you and no matter what happens you will never regret having made the sacrifices to make this happen.


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