Friday, June 4, 2010


I recently posted on Facebook that I'm having a HOLY COW, I'M LEAVING SO SOON! moment. That means I've finally managed to kick my butt into gear and started getting my stuff together - i.e. cleaning my complete shithole of a room (see above* - but this is already after I cleared all the school-related sheets from last semester, which almost completely covered my floor). That also means that I've finally begun to worry - that I'm present enough to be aware of the fact that maybe I should worry.

Before this I was just running on an adrenaline turbo for so long to make it happen - secure that internship, negotiate my contract, get my contract signed by all the people that need to sign it (THANK YOU, ERIN!), find an affordable place ticket, get my visa with as few trips to the consulate as possible, make enough money in four months to live on in one of Europe's major capitals for six and a half months. I was just always running around, trying to make everything work, trying to realize my dream, all while finishing my last semester of school, working three jobs, trying to losing weight, trying to keep in touch with friends, worrying about the law school thing, and trying to stay sane.

It's like I can't seem to accomplish anything unless I have a million other things going on at the same time. I like when life is full to bursting, like this, when I'm super busy with a ton of things I want to do and I have wonderful things to look forward to as a result of my hard work.

But now that my departure is getting closer and closer (YAY!), I've finally had the time to contemplate the details, and one in particular is making me a little panicky: What if my Spanish isn't good enough? What if no one at work can understand me and/or vice versa? What if NO ONE anywhere can understand me and/or vice versa? How will I excel at my job? How will I get by???

I've been really lazy during my downtime, you see, instead of studying and brushing up on my Spanish like I'd meant to, so this must be the guilt talking. My mom points out that I spoke enough Spanish to meet a boy and make friends, but what she doesn't know is that neither of those things involved a whole lot of Spanish speaking on my part.

With friends, well, making friends involved a lot of laughter and gesticulating wildly and eating food together, so speaking played only a small part.

With the boy, it got to the point where we understood each other so well that I could get away with just starting a sentence and he'd know what I wanted to say, so he'd finish it for me, and then our roles would reverse when we spoke English (which was like, 25% of the time because my Spanish was better than his English). It was a terrible habit that we formed, but at the time I was just enchanted with the romance of the whole situation, that we could just *get* each other completely.

So I need to dust off my books and start studying, Cosmos help me, or I will suck at my job and that's something my ego absolutely can't take. Wish me luck!

*My mother is beyond horrified that I'd post a picture of my messy room, but my attitude is, well, messy rooms are like zits. Many people have them, some people don't, it happens to the best of us, and I don't care if some judge me about it because there are more people who can relate to me than those who can't, anyway.

1 comment:

Sabrina said...

I think you'll be ok. I'm surviving in Korea where I speak no Korean... I teach children English even though I can't provide translations and we don't always understand each other. I go shopping and take taxis and deal with non-English speakers on a regular basis. My attempts to try out Korean to get things done often result in "huh?". The results are at times hilarious, but I survive.

Give yourself a couple of weeks to a month to adjust your language at work. I think Spanish people are more used to hearing people speak Spanish with a different accent so that should help. (ex. Koreans are not used to white people speaking Korean and they have a really hard time understanding our attempts at speaking through our accents).

Your Spanish will adjust quickly, if it's not at the level you want it. You will pick up the accent of the people around you - and using gestures to explain things will still work at work. You will get by, possibly with amusing results. Of course, do your best, but keep a sense of humour and try to relax.

If I can live in a country where I actually don't speak the language and do all of the amazingly fun things I've been able to do - I know you can do it with a working knowledge of the language!!