Break on through

I’ve been pushed to work, I end the week exhausted. Perhaps that is why I was reading a book, and realised that I was 10 minutes late into my Skype Spanish lesson.

I rushed onto the lesson, and she was there, but what with the stress from work and from being late to the lesson, I was stressed. I couldn’t absorb what she was saying, when normally it flowed.

She sensed my resistance, and asked if I wanted to have the lesson at another time. That was kind of her. But we pushed on.

It was a sign of a good teacher that she recognised my irritation, and we warmed up a bit before she introduced the concept of conjunctions used for when we’re doing things to our bodies.

But I was resistant to learning, already stress breathing when she introduced an entirely new concept. Unusually for her, she had to speak in English to explain things.

I knew the anxiety was happening. I knew why it was happening…but soon, it clicked. I understood. And it worked out well.

Until the lesson was due to finish. My Skype started mucking up and I basically had to hang up. We’ve booked another lesson, and I know in theory she won’t mind as she still gets paid the same.

But it reminds me that a loss of interest, or stress, or anxiety, can block the goal to become bilingual. As it was in Peru, and as it could be.

And yet as I overcame it, as the lesson developed and I didn’t let it get the better of me, and when I absorbed new knowledge, I felt the stress dissipate, and the mental oppression from work become irrelevant.

There was a TedX video I watched two weeks ago, in which the man teaching it said it was possible to be fluent in a language in six months. I dismissed the idea at first until he explained that it requires knowing a certain number of types of words in order to express yourself.

But immersing yourself in another country of another language won’t work. People will talk over the top of you and you won’t understand the meaning. You need a native language ‘parent’ who you can express yourself with, even if you’re wrong. I’ve found that in my teacher, but I felt a slight sense of disapproval today because I didn’t come into the lesson fully absorbed.

That’s good. I need that.

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