Since coming back to Uruguay from my amazing summer vacation, I have put most of my energy into three things: becoming fluent in Spanish, entering the Uruguayan dating scene, and playing pool. I’ll talk about the last two later.
I wanted to continue lessons after a super successful time at the Academia Language School. I really needed the base that I found at the school. I loved the professor and I loved my classmates. Mostly, I loved the confidence that I got from speaking Spanish eight hours a day for two weeks. I was so proud of myself for cutting out English and really focusing on learning this new and beautiful language. But then Brazil happened and I returned back into the English speaking world of family and friends. I knew that if I was even going to attempt to be fluent, I needed to make a conscious effort to put myself into Spanish-speaking situations. But I also knew that I needed to replenish my bank account after my Brazil trip so that I can go on more trips. Returning to Academia was not feasible.
My friend Hector teaches English and does translations. I asked him if he had any students who wanted to do an exchange program of English for Spanish. “Actually,” he said, “my mom would really like to do something like this.” A few days later, I met Marisa. She is a Spanish teacher at the Catholic University here and is also a private tutor. There is something so powerful having another teacher teach me, while I still get to feel useful using my teacher knowledge. Marisa’s English is way stronger than my Spanish, but I still feel like we have an equal exchange. First of all, this woman is ridiculously smart! We have deep conversations about movies, literature, world situations, and Uruguayan history. She knows how to explain a concept in a different way without having to resort to speaking in English. There are times I am completely lost, but mostly I walk away more and more confident about learning Spanish. I adore this woman and am incredibly grateful that Hector united us in this exchange. We meet two times a week whenever our schedules allow and we talk and we learn and we enjoy each other’s company. I look forward to our exchanges every time. I saw a movie in Spanish, had a night cards completely in Spanish at my house, and went on several dates with Spanish speakers. I know that I am still at a child’s vocabulary, but I am learning and getting better. Everyday is a new Spanish adventure and I’m loving it!