Estoy estudiando español

I haven’t quite fallen off the face of the earth. Last week I had gap days I spent my time mostly doing self-study, finishing my online class, and attending various cultural events to justify my paycheck. I watched Sin Nombre with a group of my classmates. It was a great movie, but not exactly an uplifting recruiting video for life on the border.

This week I started Spanish…which has been interesting. I took a short test in Spanish during my second week of A-100 and after 5 years of studying Spanish I emerged with an ego bruising score of 1 on the test. I remember back in high school when I was learning Spanish, I had this fantastic theory that I didn’t need to study the grammar or drill the verbs. I was going to acquire them in context! I mean that’s how I learned English, right? Yeah…that worked brilliantly. During my Spanish test I spoke only in the present tense so I pretty much sounded like a poorly evolved caveman. My charades might have been better than my attempts in Spanish. I tried to sell my lack of using any tenses outside of the present as my life philosophy. I don’t need a future or a past in Spanish if I only live for today, right? Okay, so not so much but it was worth a shot.

So at long last this hapless Spanish student has come to grips with the fact that yes, sometimes you do just have to do verb drills.  I’m happy to report that after a few weeks of self-study I’ve relearned the imperfect, preterite, and future tenses. Honestly, I’ve probably learned them better than I did in high school and after many years of vehemently avoiding learning how to conjugate verbs, I finally have future and a past in Spanish. Maybe in another 10 years I’ll come to grips with the fact that yes, I do in fact have to learn the subjunctive.

For the next 19 weeks I’ll be eating, sleeping, and breathing Spanish in the hopes of reaching the 3/3 level. The full course is 24 weeks so my 5 years of previous Spanish experience shaved off roughly a week per year, which I find slightly amusing. Considering my Spanish inability, I find that to be generous. I’m not quite sure I believe that in a little over 4 months I will really be at a 3/3 but I’m told that miracles to happen. If I don’t post here often over the next several weeks, I’m holed up somewhere trying to learn all the grammar I managed to ignore for the first 5 years of my pitiful Spanish career.

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