Well, today not only marked the end of my third week classes but also the beginning of the World Cup. I thought being in St. Louis when the Cardinals are in the World Series was a big deal, but this is like a whole other level! At school, they set up t.v. screens at the amphitheater and cafeteria, which were soon packed full of students. After class, a few of us went to a sports bar to watch the game, and the whole atmosphere was quite jovial, especially for 3pm on a Thursday. Classes have been going alright, but its becoming increasingly difficult to stay focused on schoolwork. On a good note, I found out that I did really well on my test from last week, but I think I may have legitimately failed the exam for my other class today. Fortunately, the entire class seemed to feel the same way, so maybe she will end up curving it or something.
Some of us went to see Maleficent this evening, and this time it was entirely in Spanish. I was able to understand, for the most part, what was going on, but I think it helped that I’ve seen Sleeping Beauty and there were a lot of visual cues. Overall, I’m not really sure where I would rate my language skills at this point. I mean, I can basically understand and be understood by my professors and host family, but in public its hit or miss. Sometimes I’ll go somewhere and say something to someone and they will respond and I’ll understand and its almost like we’re having a conversation, but other times I’ll walk into a store and say something then the person will say something that I cannot understand for the life of me,until they eventually shake their head and ask one of their coworkers if anyone speaks English, and they usually don’t, which can be rather discouraging. On the one hand, I feel like I’ve improved while I’ve been here, but other times I feel disheartened at how far I still have to go.
This experience has definitely proved to me that I have been taking language for granted. I wouldn’t say that I’m homesick, but I do miss being able to openly and clearly express my thoughts, feelings, wants and needs to anyone I feel so inclined. Oh, and I also hate never knowing exactly what is happening. Like sometimes class will end and I’m not certain about what to do for homework. Its not all that bad because I’m here with a group of students that all speak English, and there is always ISA staff available in the event of any kind of emergency, but its still scary going out alone and sometimes not being able to effectively communicate with the general public. I cannot imagine how difficult it has to be for someone who comes to the U.S. without having a good grasp of English, because I think there are definitely more people here that speak English than people in the U.S. that speak Spanish or any other language for that matter. I imagine it would be rather terrifying and isolating, which is why I’m motivated, now more than ever, to further develop my abilities in an attempt to aid people in this situation. I don’t even know for sure yet what I want to do with my life, but I do know that talking to someone in your native language makes you feel less like a stranger in a strange land, and I want to be able to someday provide that comfort for others.
Aaaanyway, thats my rant for the evening! Despite everything i just said, I really am enjoying it here. This weekend we are going to Tamarindo which is a beach on the Pacific side. We are mostly just going to hang out on the beach, but I’m signed up to take surf lessons on Saturday, so I’m really excited for that!
Hasta la proxima!