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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Six Months/Seis Meses

Today marks my six month anniversary, or whatever the hell you call it, of my time here in Spain. More than anything I wanted to mark this milestone by thinking that my Spanish has improved very appreciably during this time. There is no test I can take to quantify just how much I have learned and most people around me are too nice to say anything other than that I speak the language a lot better than I did a half of a year ago. Six months is the blink of an eye as far as a lifetime is concerned so I guess that I shouldn’t expect miracles.

I have spent the past few days frantically trying to improve my Spanish, more so than usual. I have been reading everything I can get my hands on, as well as reading over people’s shoulders when I can’t get my hands on anything. I read out loud to improve my accent. I do my rolled Spanish R drill: rr con rr guitarra, rr con rrr barril, qué rápido corren los carros, los carros del ferrocarril. I try not to do this in public. I wasreading out loud in the park today and an old lady walked by and tried to give me some spare change. Tomorrow I’m going to write “Will Learn Spanish for Food” on a piece of cardboard and practice down in the main square in Valencia.

I watched a movie last night in Spanish without subtitles. Gracias por Fumar is a dubbed version of Thanks for Smoking. There was almost nothing that I didn’t understand. I had read the very funny book by Christopher Buckley so that probably helped. I have a couple of Spanish movies to watch that someone lent me. Those will be bigger challenges.

I spent the entire day today reading. I went through a couple of newspapers as well as Magazine magazine. I also plowed through 30 or so pages of one of the books I am reading in Spanish. As I write this I’m listening to some Spanish music, if you can call Manu Chao Spanish music.

Learning a new language is really tough; you can’t just soak it up through osmosis. You probably could soak it up if you were a lot smarter than I am or if you had a lot of time. I’m not sure just how much time I will have so I have to make every day count. If I can have more days like today I’m pretty sure that I may actually get around to learning this maldito idioma.

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