Tomorrow marks the end of ILP, my Spanish language boot camp classes. It was a good experience for the most part. I learned all about the subjunctive and pronouns and other languagey things that we use everyday and don’t even realize. It’s strange to think that if I’d been born somewhere different, this would all be second nature to me. But since I wasn’t, speaking in Spanish is a bit to me like writing with my left hand since I’m a righty. When a week ago my house sister asked me (after reading the movie title) “Que significa, life as we know it?” I was taken a back: each word created an effortless picture in my head but the words meant nothing to her. Though similarly it was strange to me when foreigners (like our Canadian friends from the hostel) didn’t know that “salida” meant exit. Language is a strange and powerful thing that most of the time we take for granted. When you can speak a language well, you have a certain amount of power in social situations.
Here I feel oddly powerless since my handle on Spanish is at about the level of a 6th grader. This class helped clean up my grammar and taught me some fun Chilean phrases so I could better understand slang heard on the streets. However, we hardly touched on speaking out loud, let alone elegance while speaking aloud. I know that going into classes and making friends with natives while feeling like a child in their language will be a challenge. More so because I have never felt like the kid in the room who had no idea what was going on. But I guess that’s why you study abroad, to learn what it’s like on the other side. I’m looking forward to every bit of my education and immersion here. It’s scary and frustrating at times, but everyday I’m learning. Not so much about historical figures, or the pluscuamperfecto, but about people and how they interact with each other. About communication and how important it is to listen to what people are saying instead of how people are saying it (the way I do when my grammar gets so twisted people lose the purpose of my sentences).
So! My classes are over now, and I have 3 whole weeks until March 11th (the first day of the Fall semester). I’m leaving tomorrow on a flight to Patagonia at 1 o’clock in the am. I’m going with a small group of gals to Punto Arenas (along the Straight of Magellan), Torres Del Paine (the national glacier park), and Castro, Chiloe (a small island beach town in the Lugar de los Lagos). I’ll be back Feb. 27th and will be out of contact until then.
Love you all. Chao for now.
Me in my Patagonia Gear