Taking the wedge off

Taking the wedge off

Approximately one year after my journey of language learning began, and 10 months spent in the native country, I had a small eureka moment!

Day 26 of the national lockdown evoked the usual cycle of emotions; brief boredom, quickly followed by guilt for feeling bored, then a surge of positive thoughts to overcome this and ultimately relief that everyone I knew, was safe and well. Exhausting!

It was also the fourth day of the Easter fiesta, and we should have been in Valencia. But there was no point pining for paella with a sea view when we couldn’t even leave the apartment. So, when in doubt about how to spend our abundance of free time, we resorted to some geeky Spanish practice. Naturally.

We plucked a “fun” translation quiz from Week 6 of ‘Learn Spanish in 3 months’ – I must have been feeling ambitious, or just a bit naïve when I bought this book! Anyway, it was my turn to translate aloud some random sentences like: “Carmen likes to sit in the garden” and “I’m going to a party tomorrow, and I need a new dress” (Both of which were slightly cruel examples under the current circumstances, I thought).

I worked my way through the exercise, nailing verb tenses and correctly placing object pronouns, when I clocked the genuinely impressed look on R’s face (it could also have been one of surprise)! I had already been feeling secretly pleased with myself, but when he told me how much he thought I had improved, it was all I needed to hear. Two days later, my Spanish teacher (who is notoriously shy of praise) cemented this once more when he commented on my progress.

I felt great! I had to keep going, what better motivation was there? I began daydreaming about 6 months from now when I would be skipping down the street, chatting to my compatriots with ease and asking questions just for the sake of it – imagine! On the verge of an ego trip, I even allowed myself to glimpse 5-10 years down the line, when I would be working in Spanish, effortlessly translating documents, chatting with colleagues and having finally “made it”.

I was getting carried away. It was only a small step in my journey, but it had a big impact. How can it be that whilst confined within four walls, the world seems like an even bigger place? The opportunities awaiting me on the other side of this experience began to seem endless, and possible.

So, was there a secret behind this awakening? Or was it enough to simply lock yourself in your casa for weeks on end, practise your chosen language for at least one hour every day and then impress your partner, your teacher and above all, yourself, with your glowing progress!

Let the world feel big and let yourself believe that you have a big part to play. Now, let me get out there before this glimmer of hope and confidence fades (along with my tan, and sanity)!



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