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Monday, May 13, 2013

The Eternal Student


After living in Spain for this long (6.5 years) it still isn’t difficult to see life here as new and interesting. I still have a long way to go as far as learning the language but I’ve come a long way. Whatever shortcomings that plague me in my Spanish skills I don’t think that anyone could fault me for not trying hard enough.  Of course, I could do more but that goes for everything almost all of us do in life.  So just what have I been doing these days to improve my listening, speaking, and reading?

First of all, I have been a fanatic about listening to Spanish podcasts on my MP3 player throughout the day.  I came across a website for downloading podcasts and audio books in Spanish that is a veritable gold mine. It’s called iVoox and it was like an answer to my prayers (if I were the praying type which of course I’m not).  I have been listening to boring talks about the Spanish economy to comedy dialogues by my favorite Spanish comic, Luis Piedrahita as well as a translation of The Canterville Ghost.

I made it through a nine hour radio broadcast made back in the early 1980s about the Spanish Civil War. I would have learned a lot more reading a good book on the subject but I especially liked the interviews of people who lived and fought in the war, something that would be impossible today as even the youngest combatants of that conflict would now be really, really old.  Of course I side with the republicans as I live in what was then the capital of the republicans.

I haven’t really sunk my teeth into a book in Spanish in quite a while even though I read constantly. I took a detour and read a few books in English in the past couple months. It’s nice to actually understand everything I read but I know that if I don’t keep plugging away I will never get to that point in Spanish…and I desperately want to get to that point in Spanish.  I have been rereading a lot of stuff just to help incorporate the new vocabulary from those books into my speech. As I have mentioned before, when I read a book in Spanish I underline new words with a red pen and then write the meaning in the margin. When I reread a book it always surprises me when I still don’t know the damn word.

I’m hyper self-critical when it comes to my Spanish but I sometimes have moments when I think that mine isn’t completely horrible

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