No, I’m not advocating immoralism. Just saying, that there are certain times when it’s okay to switch to English. 😉 You know, like when…
1) You can’t figure out how to use the ATM.
2) You can’t figure out how to pay your bill at the restaurant, and it’s time to go.
3) You don’t understand how to do something important, like, I don’t know, buy a local cell phone.
4) You are blogging.
Though I was surprisingly impressed with my ability to comprehend discussion yesterday, today was throughly overwhelming. Let’s say comprehension went from 85% to 25%. I don’t understand squat if people don’t talk slowly. I mistakenly gave the (honest) salesman at the cell phone store twice the amount of money necessary, because I thought he said twenty something, instead of nineteen. That was embarrassing, though not quite as embarrassing as when a native speaker asks you a direct question and all you can do is smile because you have no idea what he said. I followed very little of the lecture at the Cathedral today, although I think that was mostly because of jet lag and a lot of vocabulary I didn’t know.
When the people showing us around the city started talking to each other (and not me and the other 2 students at the table) I almost threw up wondering how I’m going to function in an academic setting, because I hadn’t the slightest idea what they were talking about. I was quite comforted when one of the other students at the table told me that he also had no idea what they were talking about either. They were just talking too fast for us.
In the same way that I get stressed when I don’t understand Spanish, I get frustrated when people flip into English, because I want to get better. My language skills are not to the point where I can turn the language I’m thinking in on and off. When I am finally in the setting where I’m thinking in Spanish, it’s challenging for me to be around English and stay in that Spanish-thought mindset.
All that frustration was offset by the amazingness of walking around downtown. I’ll get some better pictures of Santiago this week, but hopefully these give you a general idea of how beautiful this place is.
Tomorrow, we are going to a couple of cities in the area and driving up to Portugal. (awesome).