Monday, January 31, 2011

I Am So Moron!

It was the end of a long day. I was tired. I tried to hand the cashier the giftcard, and he was like, "Swipe it in the machine." And I was like, "Oh, yeah ..." They gave me my food--I didn't think to ask for ketchup--I sat down and thought to myself, "I am so moron!" and then was like, "what the heck--I really thought that, didn't I? I really am moron."

But you know what really makes me feel stupid? Trying to learn Spanish. Oh my gosh, I feel utterly imbecilic when people try to talk to me, and I'm just like, "Uh ... uh ... uh ..." Not only is my vocabulary small, not only is the audial processing unit of my brain apparently about as quick as the old Tandy 500, but I just get so ridiculously anxious--my brain freezes up completely--even phrases I ought to recognize turn into terrifyingly meaningless syllables, demanding some sort of a response that I simply do not have the capacity to produce.

I think maybe it's because I keep expecting myself to just learn the entire language instantly, and I'm so ashamed of this terrible deficiency (I mean, I grew up in L.A.! Such ignorance is utterly disgraceful!), especially because it's such an easy language to learn. I mean, I don't feel nearly so bad about my Arabic skills having dropped off.

Anyway, it's very discouraging, but I suppose I need to just keep trying to teach myself. It sure is a heck of an intimidating lot of work, though. When I started my church internship, I was all excited about re-learning some Spanish (I took two courses at LACC a million years ago) but I was not anticipating it would be less of a cognitive than an emotional struggle. I guess that's just what sucks about being me: my stupid overreacting, dramatic, sensitive spirit is just always paralyzing me with its irrational freaking out. I am so moron ...


BenjyWay said...

Hey, I want to learn Spanish (and need to for certain additions to my credentials) too! Soon we'll be able to practice with each other without any intimidation of being overwhelmed or looking overly slow. Also, Mariam has studied Spanish for 6 years and can speak it relatively fluidly, so you can probably speak with her in Spanish as well! Not to mention Doug, Mom, and Granny.

In my class, by the way, they said that it takes somebody an average of 3-5 years of daily use before they will really be able to speak and understand fully competently, and 5-8 for reading and writing proficiency, although the latter of those two is shorter for those who are learned in their own grammar.

So you shouldn't feel behind the curve until you've been at it seriously for 5 years. No soy idiota.

Virgie P. said...

Aw, thanks, Ben! I am much encouraged by the completely unverified estimation of how long it takes to learn a foreign language. Though it surprises me it would take longer to learn how to read and write, since I already find those much, much easier than listening and speaking. (Esp. reading vs. listening.)

(And I think you meant, "No eres idiota.")