It doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to get out what you are trying to say, they listen. And they care (or at least fake it really well). When it comes time to practice conversation, they’d better pretend that they care, or the conversation dies really fast.
My Spanish teacher is my favorite person to talk to in Spanish because first of all, he’s gotten used to my dialect of Spanish (Chanish…), and he understands me very well. Secondly, if I randomly stop halfway through my sentence because I can’t for-the-life-of-me remember the word, he waits. If I say something wrong he corrects me, but doesn’t really interrupt me, he just says what I should have said quietly, so that I can change how I speak.
He’s (willingly or not) learning more about my childhood than anyone should ever care to know. He prolly thinks I’m a looney… lost… poor little homeschooled psycho child. It doesn’t seem to phase him though.
When anything happens in my day, I log it in my memory… because I know I’m going to need something to talk about tomorrow when it’s time for conversation. Like, when I saw the little old man get hit by the stupid taxi (which was actually quite disturbing!), I logged it. Or when I thought I might die riding in another taxi with an angry taxi-driver, I told him. He knows how many dogs and cats I had growing up. I’m sure he’ll soon want to know their names, too. He knows that one of my brothers used to use the phrase “shut your stinkin’ trap” in place of “shut up,” because we weren’t allowed to say the latter.
It’s kind of funny. I pay someone to talk to me. And I love it. I leave each day realizing how little Spanish I know, but understanding a little better how to bridge the gap between my brain and Spanish Knowledge. It’s like I’m standing before a large door, and I’ve wedged my foot in it and have begun to open it, yet I can’t quite see all the way what is on the other side. But each day after my Spanish class I can see just a tiny bit more.
Teaching English is enjoyable (I’ll blog more on that later), but learning Spanish has been incredible. When someone speaks to me and I understand them, and can reply… there is no feeling like it.
My Spanish teacher is what I would consider a non-practicing Catholic. We have had many conversations already about the differences between Catholicism and Christianity, and I’m sure we’ll have many more. He knows that the reason I am here in Peru is because my life has been given to the Maker of All. He knows that I face my fears here by trusting in my God.
He may think I’m psycho… But hopefully not. Hopefully some of what I say will make sense. As he listens to me babble on… and on… and on…