In recent weeks, Spanish is coming more naturally to me and, I think, all of us. When we first arrived, I felt we constantly had to tell people we don’t speak Spanish or understand something they said in Spanish.
Now, about four months into our immersion here, we can carry out many daily interactions in Spanish, and the Chilean person on the other side of the discussion shows little signs that it’s an awkward encounter. We’re also better able to listen to a long set of instructions and understand key points, such as when an organizer at choir told us that choir would let out a noon instead of 11:30 and the kids would need to be picked up at a new location on the third floor, not in the lobby as usual.
It feels good to be able to go shop for a pair of new shoes, ask for a table, place an order with a waiter, or hear directions without having to fumble through an exchange. I see it also feels good for the Chilean counterparts, as they don’t have to enter into the discomfort of struggling to communicate with us in broken English.