Day to day, like a lot of folks, I move through life one foot in front of the other. Kids. Husband. Work. Running. Friends. Repeat.
Sometimes I worry I should be challenging my brain more.
You know, learning new stuff.
As it is, I barely read books anymore, wasting too much time goofing around on my phone in spare minutes here and there -- spare minutes I used to spend jamming my face in a book. (I've slowly begun The Bully Pulpit, which is about 1 million pages and I should finish it sometime in 2018, the rate I am going.)
One of things I've always thought I should do is learn Spanish. I took a bit in college, but retained about 10 words and phrases. Una cerveza, por favor. Donde esta el bano? That kind of stuff. I spent far more time learning German after living in there (in what was formerly West Germany) a long time ago. Ja, Ich kann Deutsch sprechen aber Spanisch ist einfacher... (I can easily murder German and Spanish both.)
And then at one point in my career, my inability to speak Spanish posed an obstacle. I moved past it, no biggie, but it always bugged me a little.
Last summer, a friend told me about Duolingo, this really cool, free app. And I decided something that I can now mostly say in hobbly Spanish: Nunca es demasiado viejo para aprender. Not too old to learn.
(I've never, ever understood the resistance by some in our country to honoring and welcoming bilingualism. You know, the folks who say "This is America! Speak English"! I think it's the coolest thing in the world to be multi-lingual, always have.)
It's been about seven months now, spending 10 minutes a day on the app on average learning and doing review lessons. This app is seriously great.
The 1,000 verb tenses are confounding, but it's not too bad to learn otherwise.
And I've had some recent, albeit "pequeno" successes:
-- I am able to in a messy but understandable to our wonderful babysitter text her in Spanish, and understand nearly everything she says back. Recently she asked what year M, my first grader, was born because they needed to figure out what Chinese animal he was for Chinese New Year. We had this conversation via text in Spanish! I was so excited.
-- I recently made small talk with a friend's sitter who only speaks Spanish, with whom I've never been able to get past "Como estas?" I learned that she doesn't like nieve, or snow.
-- I can now read some billboards and know that when it reads "segunda temporada" that means the "second season". (So House of Cards is starting its cuarta temporada en un poco tiempo...)
--I know how to say "I like running" or "Let's run on Monday": Me gusta correr. Vamos a correr el lunes.
Where I still fall down is listening to it and being able to understand and converse. I strain my ears now at the local Harvestime mercado, trying to understand las cajeras as I check out. I have a long way to go and probably need to take a class in conversational Spanish at some point.
But I'm not giving up.
God, it's fun to learn something -- just to learn something -- again!
Soy muy feliz que puedo hablar un poco de es espanol. Va a aprendar mas!
Now, back to the Bully Pulpit...