My Spanish has progressed to the point where I can carry on a basic, rudimentary conversation and, usually, make myself understood. This is, of course, progress. But the progress is frustrated by a wild array of verb tenses which make saying anything a laborious process of figuring out what tense to use and then considering the many irregular verb forms I may confront. Flashcards are in order, pronto.
Despite my developing confidence in trying my Spanish in the real world, my brain still short-circuits regularly. Leaving my apartment building last week, I ran into a neighbor coming into the building. Amiably and boldly, I said, “Hasta manana!” which, since it means “See you tomorrow!”, makes no sense whatsoever. “I mean, hola,” I said. “Hola. Buenas dias.” She gave me a pitying, though indulgent, smile.
In class, predictably, my textbook Spanish is quite a bit ahead of my marble-mouthed American pronunciation. My teacher told me on Friday that my vocabulary and grammar are good, but that I need to work on my pronunciation. Sometimes I wonder if I’m even physically able to ever pronounce Spanish correctly, while the French and Italian and Swedish people in my class seem to have no problem.
This week Andrew and I go to Amsterdam, so I’m not taking classes. Next week, back to it. Poco a poco, all the Spanish teachers say—little by little.