Status update: Learning Spanish

May 12, 2010 at 11:59 am (Colombia, Random)

It’s been quite some time since I updated y’all on my progress with the Spanish language. Even though I am returning to the English-speaking world in less than two months, I hope to continue using this idioma that I have fallen in love with for years to come. I am still learning new words nearly every day, and I’m more than halfway through my Rosetta Stone program.

I can’t engage in deep dialogue about the supernatural or anything, but I believe I managed to explain the Commonwealth to someone here yesterday in my random Spanglish. I was pretty pumped about that.

I think the major achievement for me is that I no longer need to translate in my head. I can hear or read Spanish and understand it as Spanish, not as the English equivalent of something. I even think in Spanish sometimes, which, in my opinion, is huge.

It’s odd, because even when I remember previous travels and conversations I had with strangers, it’s a jolt to realize I was able communicate in English. That will be a big adjustment for me: being able to understand and be understood by literally everyone around me back home. I can have conversations with a cashier at the grocery store; I can tell a waiter exactly what I want; I can comment on the weather to a complete stranger. I could do those things now, I suppose, but I wouldn’t be quite as eloquent.

I’m so used to speaking English to my classes and people who can speak it back to me, that I’m definitely not fluent in Spanish or anything. But I understand so much; I don’t even need a translator when the head pastor preaches at church anymore (though it probably helps that Spanish is her second language too).

Oh, and the other day I blurted out, “Silenco, por favor, chicos,” in my tenth grade class. I never speak Spanish to them, and I said it without even thinking. So, friends and family – be prepared for random Spanish to slip out in conversation when I get home. I might even do it on purpose, I have enjoyed learning the language too much to loose my ability when surrounded by English.



  1. Rachel said,

    Good for you, Cheryl! Yep, you’ll probably just have to teach people certain Spanish words when you get back, and I imagine you’ll think sometimes in it for a long time to come. I still start to say certain phrases in Lingala, and I was only there for three months. It will be pretty exciting for you when you realise you can talk to everyone again – I was sure excited when I came back and didn’t have to sit quietly at every get-together anymore, because people actually spoke the same langauge I did! I’m not sure if I’ve stopped talking since. :) So I doubt you’ll “loose” your ability.

  2. Kevin said,

    Yeah, i vote you teach us Spanish! I wanna learn it :P

  3. rixgal said,

    I was excited to find your blog… we are Canadians living in AZ currently. We are adopting from Colombia, hopefully this year. We’ve been waiting 3.5 years. I’ve enjoyed reading your posts about Cali… and the people you’ve met. Great blog.

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