To every English speaker in the non-English speaking world: Thank you. Today was the first day this chica, who’s taken four years of Spanish, actually had a conversation with someone in Spanish.
It’s a freefall. I know how melodramatic that sounds, but anyone who has had to learn to speak a different language will agree with me.
It’s talking alien talk.
It’s listening. No, like really listening to someone.
It’s baking a cake blindfolded.
My first conversation here went with the lady giving me a manicure. I gained the courage to tell her that I speak un poco Spanish, and she said she’d practice with me. She asked me about the weather in California, sports, my family, and I, in return asked about the Catalonian accent, her home, the island. It was a slow conversation, but it was.
So now that I feel like I’ve jumped over a mountain that I’ve probably made out of a molehill, I want to offer my advice to those too afraid to speak a new language: just speak. But to someone nice, at least the first time, then it gets easier. Those laughs (at your grammatical errors) and blank stares (at your straight up made up words) you can take with less personal offense.
“You know what? I’m trying here, waiter, okay? Please stop laughing because I said I was swim in California instead of I was born in California. Gracias.”