Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Brave or Stupid?

So, one of the major reasons why we moved to Puebla was to get better at (Andy), learn (me) the Spanish language. We've been here less than two weeks and I'm happy to report that I am dreaming in Spanish! Oh...how silly of me, I made that sound like an improvement in my language skills. I do dream in some sort of Spanglish nightmare most nights though. Nothing seems to really make sense...it's what I imagine an infant to hear all the time. Just some loud, confusing noises, with people looking at you and expecting you to know what is going on.

Yes, yes, I took Spanish in high school...15 years ago. I'll let that sink in for you. 15 years ago. I know people that are 15 years old...I mean, that's their entire lifetime. I think I must have thought I was the never-aging-woman, or maybe I'm really just that bad at math, but I didn't realize it had been 15 years since I sat in a classroom and tried to conjugate verbs. I kept telling myself, and others, "Oh, I took Spanish in high school, the language barrier wouldn't be that big of a deal."

That's pretty much the face I feel like I'm making 90% of the time while trying to figure out what is going on around me. (At least it's how I feel inside).

So, as you can gather, it's been an adjustment. I actually understand, depending on who I'm speaking with, about 60% of what is being said...roughly. As I mentioned before, hand gestures on the part of the speaker are responsible for at least 30% of that 60%. (That's half...see, I'm not so terrible at math. Okay, yes I am). Some people seem to be way easier to understand. I'm not sure why this is...it's not like they are talking slower and louder to me. Or are they and I'm just to busy making this ^^^ face in my head to realize that they are talking to me like a deaf child? There have been several times, throughout our short journey so far (see first post) where I have questioned myself, "Am I brave or stupid?" Seriously, before we left, people kept saying how brave I was to be doing this. That's when I began to think...am I really brave? Bravery implies that I know full well what I'm getting into and doing it anyway. Or am I stupid? Which implies that I have no idea what I'm getting into and doing it anyway. I'm gonna say, yesterday I was feeling it was a toss-up...50/50. (Apparently I like numbers this morning)

We have the TV on, in Spanish, for the majority of the day. All the signs around me are in Spanish, expect for Converse...what's up with that, yo? You are advertising in the middle of Mexico, use Spanish A-holes! (Stepping down from my soap box). Andy, thankfully, speaks to me in English, because, if not, I think my head might literally explode. But when we are out, I hear Spanish all the time. I do not expect, nor do I want people to speak to me in English. I am NOT in an English speaking country and no one should have to accommodate me. I'm the one who needs to accommodate/change/adapt/evolve. Otherwise I feel like I should be marching around in one of these: 
demanding people change their entire lives for me. (Image borrowed from The Google)

But still, with all of this understanding, I sometimes feel pretty lost. In my logical mind (not a very big percentage of my brain these days) I know that I won't "get it" for awhile. I won't really start to understand what the hell is going on around me, that I won't be able to fully communicate like I want to, that I won't be frustrated about 80% of the time until...I don't know when. The planner in me, the part of my brain that likes to know what is going on at all times is really struggling with this concept. I like to be really good at things, otherwise I feel like I shouldn't do them. This is a massive personality flaw...I know it, calling myself out on it for all the world (or the 8 of you who read this) to see. I'm trying to get over it. So maybe this is the best thing for me...to be uncomfortable, to be out of any "element" I have ever known. Also, the irrational part of my brain that catastrophizes (Counseling Term) feels like I'll NEVER get it...that I'll just be a bumbling idiot for Time and All Eternity. 

There are moments when I feel like that old 80's commercial, the one with the egg. "This is your brain, this is your brain on drugs" but in my case, substitute "drugs" for "Spanish." 

(Image borrowed from The Google).

Because of this ^^^ I have not done as much studying as I should have and I have not put myself out there as much as I would have liked. But today, I've decided I'm not going to wallow in the fact that I failed level 3 of 5 on the Duolingo "beginners food" section...twice. (And really?! The food section?! Look at me...I obviously know how to communicate getting food into my belly). I'm not going to let my fear of sounding stupid, even in front of Andy (how silly is that?! He's like my biggest supporter), get in my way. I'm going down to the little market down the road from our house by myself. Yup, I'm doing it! It's only two blocks down the road, but it's my first time out without the security of Andy and his Spanish knowledge. 

Brave or stupid?! Today...I'm feeling brave. 


  1. Brave! Brave people do counterintuitive things all of the time. Running into a burning building comes to mind.
    You my friend are brave! You just jumped into the fire! I am so impressed and inspired!

    1. Thanks for your vote of confidence!! :)

  2. Brave....por supuesto!

  3. He leído los posts del estadio, centro, el mensaje de cumpleaños que te dejaron los señores, me parece interesante y divertido. I like you and don't even know you. Tip for a baseball game, no sé aún el calendario de los pericos (local Team) si pueden ir vayan cuabdo sea pericos vs Tigres or pericos vs diablos.