Sue's post about her upcoming trip to Spain got me thinking about my efforts to learn Spanish over the past couple of years. I've been studying very casually and should be further along than I am. As I mentioned to Sue, I have a very slow ear. Spanish spoken at a regular conversational pace is challenging for me to interpret without taking an extra minute between sentences. I can speak, read, and write it much more easily. I seem to have a knack for remembering vocabulary words, but only have the barest grasp of rudimentary Spanish grammar.
Still, I plod on. I've made a resolution for this new year to step up my efforts to work my way through the rest of the course I've been taking (via a set of Rosetta Stone knockoff cds) and try to make some real progress. There's plenty of Spanish language news, tv shows, and movies available that I should be watching to improve my ear. And there's Nate, the bilingual guy that works in my bookstore's café. We typically say the same few greeting type things to each other, being busy, or else I learn new unkind words he uses to describe our store's assistant manager! The ASM tends to be a huge cretino and a cojudo to everyone, but learning words like that isn't terribly useful for my purposes! I need to have more meaningful conversations with him for practice.
Speaking of Nate, here's a funny story he shared with me. He moved to South Carolina from New Jersey when he was in the 4th grade. His father is Venezuelan and his mother is Puerto Rican. He joined his new classroom right before Christmas, and in anticipation of his arrival his well-meaning teacher made a big banner that said in Spanish "Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!" to welcome him. The problem was that her Spanish was pretty much non-existent, and when she copied the phrase from somewhere she wrote "ano" instead of "año" ...thus wishing Nate a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Anus. Well, like any normal 10 year old boy (and me to this day) he broke down laughing. He also told his classmates about it, and it pissed his teacher off. Talk about getting off on the wrong foot at school! I love stories about those kinds of mistakes. It makes me feel better about all the times I mess up my Spanish, like the time I told a nice Colombian man that Gregg and I eat our dogs!
Now that New Year's Day is past, I'm off to do some house work and run some errands. I'm glad to finally see the last of the holiday season! I hope you all have had a Feliz Año Nuevo, and also a Feliz Ano....!