September 11, 2008

Out with the with the Spanish?

The terrace of Casa Mila that I spoke about in my last entry. Thank heavens for memory cards! My camera might have croaked but my pictures stayed alive.

Looking up at one of the funky sculptural entrances on the terrace. MY fave pic of the day.

A view to Tibidado between an arched entryway on the terrace...and the last photo I took before said camera croaked.

After just hitting the three-week mark here yesterday, I have been trying to decide if my time has flown or if it has crawled or maybe it’s just going along at a normal life’s pace. Of this I am not sure. Part of me feels like New York City was a million months ago. Comprehending the time lapsed makes my head hurt as much as trying to figure out which of the three past tenses of a verb to use in Spanish. Alas, I will stop trying to think about it and just let this trip be.

What I do know is that my spelling of the English language has gotten worse with the more Spanish words that I write down: in the margins of my notebook, on post-it notes, on anything I can get my hands on when I want to remember a word. I pride myself on knowing how to spell things correctly and thank my Mom and English-majored Grandma for this genetic ability. However, in my one-on-one class the other day I couldn’t remember how to spell “immigrant” in English. I faltered after the first “m” unsure of the placement of another “m” afterwards. It boggled my mind for at least a minute and I went with my gut and added the “m”. Thank goodness because I would have had to check myself into the nearest English school here in Barcelona.

I have attempted to become fully engrossed in the Spanish language and can’t seem to take in enough new words but, honestly, fear they are taking the place of my English spelling and grammar abilities. Here in casa, I am taught at least 10 new words every few hours spent with Mariluz and Fer. Those I want to really remember I write down and then try to use them again later so as not to forget and prove that I am learning what they are teaching me. They are both so patient and its really a lot of fun ONLY speaking Spanish here in my flat.

However, I don’t want you all to think I have become anywhere near fluent, because I haven’t. One can definitely see the wheels turning in my head while trying to figure out the correct conjugation of verbs before I say them. I have also had some good flubs so far, both in class and here at home, that have brought with them some good laughter; on my part as well. My first favorite up until now has been the confusion with the words for “high heels” and “bowls” (they are the same with the exception that one has an “s” and one has a “c”). When talking about what I wear to work in NYC I claimed that I usually wear skirts, and on my feet “bowls”. My second favorite error was in class. The professor dictated a paragraph out loud and we had to write down what he said, word for word, as practice in writing and understanding. Afterwards, each student went up to the board and wrote down one sentence and then we went over it and made sure all was correct with accent marks and vowels all in their correct places. Well, my turn comes to write the next sentence (keep in mind, this is a story about a war in Peru) and instead of writing “Although at the time he was filled with fear…” I wrote that “Although at the time he was filled with sheets…” The spanish words for “sheets” and “fear” are similar except one has an “R” and one doesn’t.

I have found that once I make a great error like that, I have NOT forgotten the difference in words!

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