Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I must learn Spanish

From everything I have read about Bogota, it is essential that I learn to speak Spanish. Just the thought of learning a foreign language puts me in a state of anxiety. My mind flashes back to previous experiences.
My high school class was the first in our school to be offered/required to take a foreign language. Being a very small school there weren't any teachers who spoke foreign languages. The drama/typing/speech/Bible teacher was awarded the job of teaching Spanish. She was handed a stack of text books and video tapes by A Beca Press. We filed into the classroom and met our new teacher, the T.V. Needless to say, we only made it through about 1/3 of Spanish 1 that year. I remember being totally confused and having no one to help me. Not a good start to the joy of foreign languages.
My second attempt at a foreign language would be French. We were preparing for our first trip to Africa. We had been assigned a small hospital through World Medical Mission in Togo, West Africa. French was the trade language, Ewe the main tribal language of our area with Kabiye to the North. Then there were a myriad of tribal languages throughout the country. I remember one physical my husband did with 3 interpreters: tribal language to Kabiye, Kabiye to Ewe, and Ewe to English. Sounds like that game where you whisper a sentence into another person's ear and laugh at how misconstrued it is by the time it makes it around the circle, back to you! A year before we left my husband and I began taking French lessons from a friend who taught French to homeschool kids. This time we had a textbook and a real teacher. As well as 2 small kids running around our ankles, another one on the way and medical residency to deal with. I remember faithfully hauling the kids over each week looking forward to the time with my new friend but dreading the lesson itself. Although I studied faithfully, it just didn't stick. I continued with it and was rewarded by being able to hash out a few conversations with locals while in Togo.
My third attempt would be while we were living in New Zealand. We knew we would be applying for the State Department job and wanted to give our kids a head start on a language. Figuring we had a good chance of being placed in an Arab country, we chose Arabic. I thought I would be the good mom and work on Rosetta Stone right along with them. That lasted about 2 weeks, at which point I was greatly distraught and ready to throw the computer right out the window! I was surprised at the depth of the emotions that the whole foreign language thing brought on and decided I wasn't above quitting something that I hated so much.
So now I am on my fourth attempt to learn a language and have managed to make it full circle back to Spanish. Thank goodness for Rosetta Stone. I'm going to dive in and give it all I've got.

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