I decided to learn Spanish on my 30th birthday. I remember giving myself a decade goal: I will learn Spanish before I turn 40. I guess I was being generous with myself to give myself 10 years to learn a language. Five months later I invested in Rosetta Stone. Two months later I went to Asia and forgot to restart upon my return. Two years later I fell madly, crazily, once upon a time, forever and ever, you're the only one I'll ever love, in-love with a Spaniard. I came home convicted: I had to learn Spanish. I resumed Rosetta Stone and upon reaching anything beyond "manzana" (apple) or "hablo" (I speak) I was completely lost. So I researched and everyone seemed to say, "The best way to learn is immersion." So I went abroad. Six weeks in an immersion program.
I learned. Slowly. Very slowly. I came home and enrolled in a college level Spanish class. Three semesters later I was still learning. Very slowly. Is it this difficult for everyone when they learn a new language? Am I especially stupid? I find it very, very difficult. I study, I watch Spanish TV, movies and listen to the radio. I listen to Spanish music. I email Spanish friends. I talk on the phone with my Spanish relatives. And yet...I just don't get it! I understand words. I understand phrases. I understand you are speaking in past tense. Future tense. Present tense. But what in the world do you mean?!?! When will it all click? Is there a magic moment when I'll just GET IT?? :o(
Granted I can see progress. I have definitely come a long way from "I speak" but I want to understand! I want to converse! I want to find meaning in what I hear and read, when I hear and read it. Not five minutes later when I have translated half the words in my head and left the other half out! I want Spanish to be to my mind what English is. And, seriously, I begin to doubt that it is ever possible. Of course I can't give up yet. It has only been one year. But I am discouraged.
Many times during this lingual adventure, when I have come across an obstacle, I have thought that God is not necessarily asking me to learn Spanish. Rather, He is asking me to try. And as I continue to study, I will keep reminding Him that He is the one who created all these languages at the tower of Babel and with just a little help He can help me learn just one of them.