The first time I took language courses was wayyy back in middle school.
I took German, French and my first love Spanish.
At one point I thought I would be a language major in University.
During high school, I picked Spanish as my focus and took courses I-IV. By the time I graduated, I was basic level but definitely felt like a pro.
Though I always wanted to become fluent, nearly 9 years passed before I decided to do something to help meet my goal.
You might know this part of the story.
I flew to Costa Rica and lived there for one year with my boys. In the beginning, they didn’t know any Spanish and I thought I knew Spanish.
One time our landlord sent someone over to repair the lock on our sliding door. We couldn’t open it to let the breeze in and it gets super hot in Costa Rica, so it was kind of a necessity.
Anyway, so we’re outside having a nice chit-chat with the repairman and one of the stray dogs that regularly visited us popped up in the yard.
The repairman just got done telling me how impressed he was with my Spanish as I hurried to close the front door of my house. I tried to explain to him that I didn’t want the dog to get in the house because it had fleas.
So I say,
“No quiero que vaya en la casa porque tiene pechugas.”
Copy and paste that into google translate.
His face did that confused scrunchy thing. I got that look a lot the first few months in Costa Rica.
Like girl whatcha talking about.
I don’t know what I was talking about.
Funny thing is I didn’t figure out the word I wanted to use was “pulgas” (fleas) not “pechugas” (breasts) until a few days later.
I lost count of my embarrassing language blunders and I’m sure I don’t even know the half of them.
But I guess learning anything is a process. By the end of my year in Costa Rica, I finally had a strong grasp of the language. My friends there said, “Wow, you’ve come so far!” They would know better than I.
Right before I started to write this, I pulled up Duolingo (a free program for learning languages).
I still want to learn French, Italian, Portuguese…maybe Chinese too. I don’t know if there’s even a cutoff point lol.
Tonight I wanted to see how much French I remembered from middle school.
I remember nothing.
On top of that, the pronunciation of words is totally different than Spanish. There’s a thing with the sound that comes from the back of your throat.
I started cracking up because I sounded ridiculous while I was practicing and after deciding I was having too much fun, I got to work on this post.
I guess here’s to another round of embarrassing language learning blunders! 🙄😁