Monday, February 7, 2011

Clase de español (Spanish class)

I'm starting this entry the night before I start my first Spanish class.  I know I've now been here for over a year but it's only been recently that I've felt good about the idea of committing to a Spanish class.  Until know I've been relying on my high school level language skills that hadn't been tapped in at least 15 years in addition to Rosetta Stone.  Don't get me wrong, I learned a ton from the Rosetta Stone - way more than I expected.  But I've lost my motivation to use it.  I literally fall asleep using it (perhaps a sign I shouldn't study while sitting on the couch).  In fact, I think what it comes down to is that I need a new challenge.

Barcelona is no longer scary to me.  I haven't cried in close to a year about our move.  I've built relationships, tackled challenges that at home would seem like cake walk.  I've seen more of the world than I'd seen in my 35 years of life.  And now it's time to move on - I need a new challenge and what better thing to start with than my language skills.  I'm at a plateau with my Spanish.  It's not great but not as horrible as others (ahem, Josh...).  It's come a long way in the last year.  But I've got a long way to go.

So when a new friend approached me about going to a class together I jumped at the opportunity.  This is what I need.  Not only a challenge but in a way, a competition.  I'll admit it, I'm competitive.  I'm sure that doesn't come as a surprise to most but I am.  And I've always been a classic over achiever.  So to be in a class where I have an opportunity to shine, yeah I'll take it.  I know I know... that sounds really egotistical, I'm aware.  But if that's what it takes for me to improve my Spanish skills then that's what I need to do.  I don't want to be the student that doesn't know the answer.  This is going to be my motivator - I want to be the most improved when the class is over. 

Now given that I don't know the skill level of my "competitors" this could really be a pointless thing - one extreme or the other.  And even I don't know what my skill level is - I'd like to think I'm at the higher end of beginner but not quite into intermediate???  But perhaps I'm doing better (or worse) than I thought.  I'm really curious about what the teacher will say when I step into class and she catches us up to speed (classes started mid last month) to see where I stand.  My vocabulary is pretty decent but my verbs are crap as are my tenses.  Don't ever ask me to translate something into past or future tense - everything happens in the present, that's it!  If I can learn the past and future tenses this class will be worth the time just for that!  Fingers crossed for tomorrow!!! 

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Fast forward to Monday.  I've now had my first class.  I realized shortly before I went into my class that I have not actually taken a course of any kind since my college days.  That's a really really (ok, don't want to age myself too much) long time ago.  Seminars just don't count.  Today was part of a catch up class because the actual course started in January.  So it was just myself and my friend who has more of a French background than a Spanish one (and by background I meant that we took these classes in high school). 

The teacher was good - she spoke only in Spanish and was very clear with her words, that is when she wasn't chewing on her nails.  Yes, she was chewing on her nails during the class.  Gross!  But despite that, I liked her.  I did feel that the class was a bit scattered - never did she ask us how much Spanish we spoke, give us any kind of test to determine our level, etc.  She just started speaking in Spanish and expected us to keep up and really just jumped around.  My poor friend who had little Spanish - I felt bad as I'm sure she was a bit overwhelmed and I would have been if I had been in the same boat.  However, I will admit that it did build up my confidence a bit that I knew the majority (not all by far) of the answers to the questions she asked and I appreciated the opportunity to ask questions myself of things I had been unsure of and learned from it.  I can honestly admit I learned at least 4 things today and it was just a catch up class.  If that isn't success I don't know what is!  If I can learn 4 things each time I go, we'll call this class a winner.  Oh, but I can't make the next class due to a scheduling conflict with Aidan's teachers... hmmmm...ok I guess I'll have to learn 8 things in the following class, right?  That might be asking a bit much...

So far so good though and I made it thru the 2 hours with no problem - the time actually flew by much faster than I anticipated which is good.  I'm actually looking forward to my next class!  The big test is going to be when they throw us into the class that's already been running for a few weeks and see if we sink or swim!


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