Friday, December 19, 2008

I can't speak Spanish

I hate that I can’t speak Spanish.

I was riding in the elevator just now with a member of our staff – whose first language is Spanish. She asked me if I could speak any…. I thought for a moment of a clever response:

Si. Nacho grande.

Thankfully, I just confessed “no” – then added “but my daughters do” as if that helped or justified me somehow.

For significant number of the people who work around Grace, Spanish is their first language. That’s also true for a lot of our members – which is why we have a Grace en Espanol service.
I can’t count beyond 5 (not enough Sesame Street growing up I guess).

A few years ago while on vacation a friend and I challenged each other to learn Spanish before the next year’s vacation (we spend time at the beach each summer with these friends). That was probably five years ago – still no Spanish for me (or for my friend which makes me feel a little better).

I’ve always struggled with languages. In high school I tried a year of French before switching to Latin – reasoning “Latin is a dead language I won’t have to speak it.”

In college I began as a Bachelor of Arts major but the language requirement shifted me to Bachelor of Science. Though I didn’t exactly ace economics and physics (in the B.S. curriculum) it was better than my attempts at Italian and French.

My original plan was to take the 101 level of four different languages – after all as long as you can conjugate “to be” you can get through 101 of any language. But I couldn’t convince my advisor that 4 101’s was the same as 4 semester of a foreign language (I still think I was right – I can be a strict constitutionalist when I need to me). So after Italian and French 101, I attended up in French 102. My French professor (who by the way spoke French with the worst upstate South Carolina accent) agreed to pass me if I promised not to take a 200 level French class. I took the C and ran to get my B.S.

Seminary was easier. We didn’t need to be conversant in Greek or Hebrew just able to translate. Translate I can do – I could do that with Italian and French. It’s the speaking that trips me up. In fact my Hebrew professor ceased calling on my to read because in his own words, he “hated hearing me butcher the language.”

So I don’t know if I can ever learn Spanish or whether I am hopelessly unilingual – but I hate that I live in Houston and can’t speak Spanish!

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