The joys of second language learning

21 11 2010

To begin, I must say: In no way do I want to belittle the difficulties of attempting to function in a place that does not speak one´s native tongue.  It is a huge challenge!  Its amazing how difficult it is to express yourself…. I don´t just mean say what you want to say, but really to express who you are.  To allow people to see everything you have to offer.  Its amazing the degree to which we rely on language to be ourselves. 

HOWEVER…. it is actually rather exciting as well. If one is willing to see it that way. I will be going through the day thinking I know whats going on. And I do… I know about 50-75% of what is going on.  I´ll be getting a big head thinking, “oh, they are all so excited about lunch. We must be eating something really good today.” And then suddenly SURPRISE- I am in the middle of a staff  party, celebrating the cooks graduation from school.  I had no idea.  or i will think we are going home. Then SURPRISE- we arrive at the mall.  I will think someone is asking me if I am finished eating. After saying yes..SURPRISE- a new over fe of food arrives in front of me.  Thinking you are just being nice and interested in someones story about their PT experience. Then SURPRISE…. you have agreed to join her at her water aerobics class the next day. It really kind of makes life exciting. That is the fun part of second language learning.

My first week here has been filled with learning opportunities! I now know how to use the metro and bus system to get to PAN (huge step…. yay independence!)  I learned how to get the security guards to open the gym for me, I learned how to purchase and begin using my sweet new cell phone, I learned that I really really like cheese (okay, so I already knew that) but due to this fact, I learned that I really really like Colombian food.

I have been working with PAN all week. In the morning, I work with several kids– most of which have overall developmental delay and lots of sensory issues– in the preschool in the morning.  The teachers (profys are what they are called here) are perhaps some of the greatest people I have ever known! They are so happy, charismatic, animated…. and hard-working.  Each of them has about 25-30 kids in their class from 7:30-5:00, and somehow they pretty much do it all alone.  They have been so welcoming and kind to me.  (Oh…. and I promised two of them that I would spread the word to all the single fellows back home that a visit to me could end in a marriage to a beautiful Colombian woman.)

And the afternoons you ask? Those have been spent with an amazing little dude that reminds me so much of my little brother Andrew.  He broke both his legs after being hit by a bus earlier this year.  We are doing physical therapy…. which could easily be confused with my 1 on 1 Spanish tutoring session. I love this kid!! We have vowed by the time I leave that he will be able to run, I will be able to speak Spanish… and he English.  He really has been the highlight of my day all week.

My buddy striking a pose.... notice the new black eye

Thats all for now.  Miss you all tons! And thanks to all of you who have left comments. I cant tell you how excited and loved I feel when I open the computer and see that someone has written (in English)

KO

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7 responses

22 11 2010
Kelly

You know I just HAVE to comment as we can both fully appreciate the excitement felt when you have fresh, new comments to read! Here’s hoping the internet connection there at least allows you to check them- let me know if you need a good old copy-paste into the text of an e-mail. So glad to hear you’re settling in well. It sounds like a great place to be (and to welcome a visitor, ha! wish it could be on my agenda soon, BUT what is on my agenda soon is ETHIOPIA! February 12-March 5, tickets are booked!). I’ll keep up with you on your blog and will catch up with you soon on e-mail. Miss my other K-half!
K, DPT (oh the good old days)

22 11 2010
superninos

YAY!! That is a very exciting agenda! Please do send an email and tell me all about it.

22 11 2010
MB

I am so happy to hear that you are enjoying your time there. I know you are learning a ton, but I also know that you will be giving much in return. Be a sponge! Have fun!
MB

22 11 2010
Mama Juan

Felipe is so cute. He even looks like your little brother. It is good for you and good for him, I am sure.
I dreamed about spanish last night for you. I was immersed and drowning in the dream!!
Love you so….
Mama

24 11 2010
Brenda

Yay! I got back on your blog! So good to catch up on your many adventures. I’m laughing at the language differences….. I don’t think I could do it.

I really think Felipe and you are supposed to be together. What a cute kid.

We miss you and think of you everyday.

Much love and buenos noches. Brendita

25 11 2010
Whitney B

KO!
Glad to hear you’re enjoying your work! I know what you mean by thinking you know exactly what’s going on only to find yourself having to chow another Latin platter of heavenly goodness! Not always that bad though, right? I have some info to pass along to you about our friends: TC says she misses you very much. We heck tour blog at least once a week. JM hopes you aren’t eating turkey burritos for thanksgiving. And RG is walking!!! Can’t wait to see your next post. Happy turkey burrito day!

26 11 2010
superninos

OH MY GOSH!!! Thank you so much for passing on that info. I did get a video of our little friend walking… so adorable. And tell all my other friends hello and give them a hug for me.

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