Speeding Along

30 01 2010

I have just passed the second book of the series that my school uses for learning Spanish. And my teacher, in an attempt to be incredibly encouraging, suggested that I might even get through some of book 4 by the time I leave the college. After spending 10 weeks labouring my way through the first two, it wasn’t that encouraging to hear that she thinks I’m going to need 4 times the time to get through the next 2… But that’s life I guess…

Women’s Meeting

14 12 2009

I went to a women’s meeting for Christmas this Saturday. It was great to meet some women from churches outside of the city, from regional Córdoba and hear a bit about their churches, and also to catch up with a few of the ladies from Peñarroya. And of course – to share food 🙂 The cakes were delicious and there were quite a few women with us in the bar where we met. And when everyone ordered drinks I got a tea. (I’ve finally decided to move past my snobbery and I’ve learnt to order a tea in a coffee shop. In OZ I wouldn’t dream of paying for hot water and barely a scratch of milk with my tea bag – but after a few false starts with hot chocolate here, I’m a tea orderer. Or at least I thought I was until my tea came!) I asked for tea, black, with cold milk. The thought process was, I’m trying to avoid getting red tea (Rooibos) and I don’t want warmed milk. What I got, was a dash of hot water in a cup of cold milk with the bag floating on the top, all the flavour all but sealed in. It was hysterical! But I’m always very well looked after and within seconds someone had gone to get a proper tea.

 – Language Update

I’m still struggling with being on the front foot all the time, being the first to go say hello, but I did. My plan was to walk about and start a conversation with three women, which I managed fine – until I got past hello 🙂 Once you start chatting, they’re so lovely; it’s just starting that’s so hard. And it was great to have Spanish speakers around me I could introduce so they could carry the conversation. While I’m getting to the point where I can follow conversations (about simple things) but I find it hard to carry a conversation so I need someone there to provide that.

 – Thoughts from Kate’s Sharing

One of the things (I think) Kate mentioned was how narrow we think in terms of unfaithful. When a wife speaks poorly of her husband, when she complains about him to colleagues or in front of their children, then she’s being unfaithful. There are so many little ways that I’m unfaithful to my family, to my colleagues and to friendships. Unfaithfulness begins in little ways and becomes a habit forming dismissiveness of the responsibilities of relationship – to be faithful, to be loyal. That’ll be one of my things to mull over this December…

Friendly Directions

11 12 2009

Over the last few days I’ve been struggling a bit with the fact that I spend so little time talking Spanish. I try hard to cut down the amount of time I spend in English each day – writing emails only for a limited amount of time, avoiding English tele etc (mind you the dialogue of English in my head is inescapable :). But while that only cuts down English it doesn’t increase Spanish conversation. There are only so many times a day you can subject those you live with to inane conversation just so you can practice Spanish. I meet with Virginia twice a week, half of which is in Spanish and then there’s dance class – not really conversational.

I met and American who goes every day to a bar to practice Spanish with whoever is there. While I’m not quite up for that – I did get a kick in the pants from that conversation so yesterday I decided to make a friend. I went to a little shop near the language school and rather than having a brief ‘nothing’ conversation with the girl who works there, I started a conversation. Elena hasn’t finished her degree but she’d like to go back to complete it next year. She works a ridiculous amount of hours on her own in the shop, loves photography and ideally wants to be in photojournalism. And she also wants a dreadlock in her hair. And she’s my first Chloé-initiated friend in Spain.

Feeling buoyed by my effort, when someone asked me for directions later to the Town Hall (directions I couldn’t really give in English the streets are so windy and complicated) instead I took them on a walk and chatted (albeit limited conversation) all the way to my bus stop and gave them directions for the last 100 metres.

It’s great to make friends in my city and help people around in my city. And today racing up the stairs I got that sense again that this place is my home – and while other people would never guess it since I sound so lost and confused in Spanish, I’m feeling like I belong to it and it belongs to me.