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Poco a Poco 🇪🇸

Hello from my third week of Spanish immersion in Valencia Spain. 🇪🇸

In class, we’re continuing to hammer home present tense verb conjugations. Yesterday we learned about reflexive verbs. What was blurry is becoming slightly clearer. Instead of Spanish sounding like a staccato stream of unfamiliar sounds with an occasional word popping out, Spanish now sounds like complete sentences with missing pieces. But there are a lot of missing pieces.

When Patrick and I watch CSI Miami in Spanish with subtitles on, I can understand more than half of what is written. CSI Miami’s spoken dialogue is pretty simple. We can watch the evening news and understand the gist, although subtitles help a great deal.

Speaking and listening are interesting skills in that they’re entirely different skills than translation. We practice (very simple) conversations in class and while they make sense to me at the time, going back and describing what we said in English feels like extra work. Poco a poco (bit by bit) I am building up a second language, which is akin to having a second brain inside my current brain.

It’s so weird! (But good)

As a class, we’re not quite competent in present tense, and sometimes we feel frustrated by our inability to speak in past tense, or to distinguish between por and para. We have the sense that our understanding is limited, and that we’re saying things wrong, and I suppose that’s a leap because a week ago, we couldn’t even tell the difference between right and wrong.

Poco a Poco. ¿Si?

We’re loving Valencia. Madrid is grander, and Barcelona is more popular, but Valencia occupies the perfect spot with plenty to see and do, but without the hustle and expense of a bigger city. We love walking along the long park that curves along a former river bed (Turia Park), and the cost of living is fairly low. When we buy a half kilo of strawberrries for €1.50, or a huge bottle of bodywash for €2, I wonder if we’re making up our airfare in grocery store savings alone.

We’ve decided to stay put in Valencia for the second month of our trip, and we’ve extended our Spanish immersion classes as well. This is a very comfy city, and we’re already talking about our next visit. We’ve even toyed with the idea of doing a snowbird thing, coming back here regularly in the off season. Who knows? After the long pandemic, we’re ready to spread our wings.

…Whew! Morning class wore me out. I think I’ll take a nap and then get some work done.