Wednesday, March 9, 2011

9 de marzo (no me siento muy creativa)

Right now I`m in Lindsey`s house using their computer (man, I really don`t think I`m using an apostrophe key, but that`s cool). I just had the most delicious food ever - ceviche (not sure if that`s spelled correctly) with unripe platanos and rice and beans, of course, and then fried corn tortillas with cheese. That ceviche was addictive. Maria had me try some earlier and I sort of wanted to eat it by itself/bathe in it.
Some things I`ve forgotten to comment on: it`s really funny how focusing so much on speaking Spanish has me struggling with English. Not only speaking but typing on my blog, I feel like my speech has changed.
Secondly, and entirely unrelated, when women here walk past men, they cat-call and compliment them. In the United States I think women would view this as some sort of negative attention or harrassment, but here it is surprisingly complimentary, and I kind of wish men in the U.S. were as open about expressing their ´´appreciation´´ for women.
Today (where are my transitions? No existen) we did a language exchange with students enrolled in English classes at el Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje, or INA. They have English classes for a year, every day, eight hours a day, and they began in February. The classes are free and most of the students come from poor backgrounds, but they hope to obtain jobs after learning English. I LOVED talking with them. As stressed as I can get about speaking Spanish, I really enjoy working with people one-on-one who want to learn English, too. I can practice my Spanish and they can practice their English and we can both benefit by helping each other. I really love the English language (I`m not dissing Spanish, by the way), and having that passion helps me enjoy helping others who want to learn. I don`t think that was worded very well, ironically. But you get the point. I also love learning about people, and interviewing a couple of women today (Maria and Paula - they must be common names because they also belong to mi madre y hermana) was so enjoyable - learning about our similarities and differences. The language barrier is so frustrating when you want to connect with people (like a host family), but it`s so gratifying when you persist and are able to push through it and achieve some clarity. I told a joke to my host mom today, and laughing with her felt so wonderful.
Oh, one more thing: going on this trip was a big deal for me. I didn`t feel ready at all, but I did it anyway, and I`m definitely trying hard to put myself out there and practice and take advantage of every opportunity to do something new. It`s frustrating when people don`t realize I`m working hard and that I`m actually more capable than I seem. I just have to let go of stress and push through and I can carry on a good conversation; I`ve had some great talks with some of the ticos here. I am being as present as I can, and I am trying, hard. I would encourage anyone to do this kind of thing, and definitely for more than ten days in order to really (ahh split infinitive but too tired to fix) learn a new language. I feel myself catching on slowly and know I will have to leave as soon as I feel totally at home and like I am improving significantly.
enough ranting. Until next time...

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