Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Ability to Communicate #languagebarrierproblems

Tomorrow, I am headed to Munich for Oktoberfest with my dear friend Lisa and about a hundred Wake Forest juniors who are abroad this semester! I literally could not be more excited. And its not even about Oktoberfest (confession: I hate beer...) but its about seeing good friends who speak English! I did not realize how much I missed being able to communicate, daily, face to face...until yesterday.

Anyone who ever had a Spanish class with me, or even knew me during the 5 years I took Spanish, is probably well aware that I am terrible at it. I took it in high school for four years, and only tested into the third semester at Wake so I still had to take it my whole freshman year of college. Spanish was just not my thing. I got by, but barely. I think I only passed because I went to every extra credit option, watching countless Spanish movies that I maybe understood five words of. But, I finished my divisional and happily put the past in the past. And I seriously have not thought much about my Spanish in the past three years.

So, this week, I casually mentioned to the Spanish teacher (a really nice Chilean lady who does not speak any English) here at The Dragon School that I spoke some Spanish. All the sudden, she is having me translate her daily "offers" from Spanish to English in front of the whole school. Then, proceeding to talk to me in Spanish about my travel plans, my life back home, her children, her plans to go to Chile over Christmas break...and I felt so relieved to be able to have a real conversation with some depth to it.

And then it hit me, my spanish is terrible, but my german must be much worse (FYI I only had one semester of German in my whole I'm much worse off in that department!). Because all the sudden when English is not an option, I catch myself thinking how nice it is to speak in Spanish. I am sure this weekend I will be blown away by how refreshing it is to actually speak English with friends who know me well...but I just found it a little funny that, given my current circumstances, for the first time in my life, I was actually glad to be speaking Spanish!


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