The higher the leaf …

… the harder the ground …

Yes, remember me, the one who was all: “Oh, I’m learning so much Spanish,” “Oh, I can speak so much more now than I could before.”  Remember?  Yeah.  How the mighty have fallen.

Had my first post-Mexico Skype lesson tonight … and I suck!  I haven’t even been back a full four days and I’ve already lost whatever ability I seemed to have last week?  How sad.  How very, very sad.

Ok, yes, I spoke.  I even used the preterite and imperfect tenses (and even used them correctly a few times).  But then I tried to get fancy and throw in a present perfect or two, and that was the start of the terrible downward slide.  No, I wasn’t expecting to get online tonight and talk like a Mexicana, but I thought I’d acquit myself a little more impressively.  Andrés and Marisol would have been shocked to hear me.  I’m shocked to hear me.  [sigh]

Mostly I’m shocked by how shy I was to say anything at all, how much I was tempted to just talk in English.  What was that about?

Here’s hoping I’m a little less tongue-tied when I have my lesson with Gustavo on Friday!


4 thoughts on “The higher the leaf …

  1. I think the type of crash and burn of your skills usually goes before a giant leap forward. That’s my experience anyway.

    I’ve been watching this hurricane and wonder how your Jamaican friends are doing.


  2. Hi, Pat–
    I’ll hope you’re right about the giant leap forward. I think I might have been soooo wanting to impress my teacher with everything I learned that I promptly forgot how to say anything! 🙂

    Thanks for the concern about my friends. I’ve been checking the website for the area since it became clear that Gustav was really heading for them. The worst they’ve seen has been rain, rain and more rain, high, rough sea and wind. But nothing terrible. No roofs off, no trees ripped up, no injuries. I’m glad for that. I was there during Hurricane Dean last year and that hit the area really hard. I don’t want to see another of those smash its way through for a long time to come.


  3. I have been thinking on this, and here is my conclusion. There are two things going on, one is similar to how kids regress before a new big step, you are back home where you don’t have to speak Spanish and it probably feels good. Speaking a foreign language is stressful. Seriously, I never thought that I would like hearing and speaking English as much as I do. It’s so nice to not have to search for the appropriate words.
    The other thing is that you know more so it’s harder. Sometimes I feel like I know less Spanish than when I moved here. I felt that I was fluent and would have described myself as bi-lingual, now I would hesitate to make such claims. Where I would have once boldly chattered away unaware of my failings, I now hesitate, searching for the best way to say something.


  4. I think that makes sense, Theresa. I used to blunder my way through before, saying what I needed to say in whatever ungainly way I could get it out of my mouth. Now, because I know more, I do try to use the right verb tense, the right expression, and I can hear how the ways I’ve said things in the past are incorrect. Also, the reason I picked the course in Mexico was because I’d have to use Spanish outside of class, not just during the class hours, and that was really helpful.

    I do think my interest in impressing Martin also played a part. I had my lesson Friday night with Gustavo, and it was much better, I wasn’t suddenly speaking fluently, but I was speaking much more comfortably … and I was speaking.


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