Monday, 24 January 2011

Learning the lingo By Kate

The other day Theo chided me gently on not making enough effort to improve my Spanish. With complete justification. I'm making virtually no effort at all. Oh yes, I half-listen to Spanish talk radio when I'm in the kitchen and I chat with our Hispanic friends and neighbours, but my understanding of the language is intermittent at best and my speech is akin to a toddler-age child.

My reply was that I was busy learning another new language and Spanish had been squeezed out by my beleaguered brain - or at least, severely relegated. That other new language is called Motherhood.

Then I thought about it some more. Yes, as a metaphor it's not bad, but it doesn't go far enough. I'm not just learning a new language. I'm learning to find my way through a new foreign country.

It's challenging, stimulating, constantly changing, exhausting, stressful, hilarious and highly rewarding. I get lost and take wrong turnings all the time. I try and consult a map, only to find I'm holding it upside down. New vocabulary like "sleep regression" and "snotsucker" have to be learned and I spend many hours scouring text-books for clues to the grammatical rules. Only to find there aren't any.

Suddenly, the myriad Spanish verb endings seem like a walk in the park.

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