Spanish. I love Spanish now. I love to hear it, I love to speak it, I love to read and write it. Spanish is the gift that my parents gave me, my birthrite as a Chicano. However, I never really knew how much Spanish was a part of me, how it defined me, how it made me feel, how it resides in my soul. I didn’t know how much Spanish loved me, and how much I loved her. El Espanol vive en mi Alma, en mi ser.
When we went to Espana in November 2005, we stayed in a really nice hotel in Madrid. In the hotel lobby one morning, I saw a bunch of what looked like business people or diplomats from different countries getting ready for a meeting. I listened intently as one man spoke in English, then easily switched to French, to German to Spanish to some Arabic language–all without missing a beat. Man, he was extremely fluent and fluid in all the languages he spoke. I found his language skills very fascinating. I was mesmerized by his power to express himself in so many different languages. It triggered something inside of me. A yearning to learn. I wanted to be like him. I wanted that same power, to be able to express myself in more than one language, to understand someone speaking another language.
Of course, I only speak English and Spanish. However, that fateful day in Madrid is the reason why I decided to make a genuine effort to study Spanish and to try to become really fluent in Spanish. I already am fluent in Spanglish, so now its time for proper Spanish.
Later that same night at the hotel, I saw the gentleman again. I went up to him and asked him where he was from and if he was in Madrid on business. It turns out that he was a diplomat from Belgium and all of the people in the hotel lobby in the morning were there for a European anti-terrorism conference.
I watch a lot of TV in Spanish now, just to hear all the words and improve my Espanol through passive learning. We make a concerted effort to speak Espanol at home when possible. I watch my futbol en Espanol. Its way more exciting, anyways, as the commentators in English make soccer boring (that is another post). I watch “Despierta America” on Univision each morning as I am getting ready for work . I also ordered the cable TV Spanish package from Verizon FIOS, so I get all these channels from Spain and South America, plus CNN en Espanol, ESPN Deportes, Fox Sports en Espanol, Discovery Espanol, etc. Some interesting programs from South America. My goal is to be completely fluent in both English and Spanish, both written and verbal.
If anyone has any suggestions or examples on how to improve your fluency in Spanish, please feel free to post. And welcome to my world.