It has always been my dream to speak Spanish fluently. To be really and truly fluent. I know I will never sound like a native speaker–I’ll never fully shed my accent–but I want to speak the language with the ease of a native speaker, and with the ability to fully express who I am, without losing parts of myself in translation.
I really felt like I was getting close, but after a month of sessions with my tutor in Guatemala, I doubt I’m ever going to get there.
And the reality is, I won’t get there. Not if I don’t live in a Spanish speaking country for a long period of time. At least a year. Two would be better. If I never do that, I won’t achieve the level of fluency that I dream of. It will always be just out of my reach.
The problem is, my husband isn’t all that interested in living in a Spanish speaking country for a year. He is happy where he is. He was born in this city. He has lived his life in this city. He wants to die in the city. He has no desire to go anywhere else.
The thought of living here until I die makes my skin crawl.
I wonder if this is what ultimately will drive us apart.
The thing is, I’m okay living apart for a year or two, if that is what it takes. It will suck, yes. It will be hard, definitely. But I’m willing to do it. Of course I’m willing to do it because it gives me something I really want. I can imagine I’d be a lot less enthusiastic if I were doing it to appease my spouse.
I think that was what was ultimately getting down last week. The sessions with my tutor have been so eye opening, in a ton of negative ways. It turns out that while I can chat with my kids about all the same shit every day, I can’t express myself adequately in a million other kinds of conversations. Also, it turns out I make a lot more mistakes than I realized, and I catch a lot of my own mistakes.
I’ve been doubling down on my studies. I spend about 30 minutes every day reading a dense grammar resource and practicing precise usage. I pay careful attention to what I listen to and read, no longer content to simply understand, but desperate to cement in my own brain the foundation upon which the meaning is conveyed.
And now, as I wait to hear back about the high school jobs that I applied for, I’m terrified that it will be my Spanish that keeps me from getting a position. It’s one thing to pick a native speaker over me (which will always happen if all else–mostly teaching experience–is equal), but what if I don’t get the job because I just don’t have a high enough command of the language?
For the first time in my life, I’ve seriously considered studying for another single subject credential. Maybe I would make a good math teacher… They are always looking for math teachers…
It’s hard. I fell into a teaching position that was both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it allowed me to teach something I love, and was still learning, and kept me interested. A curse because how and where I can teach it is constrained by my own limitations.
I can NEVER be the ideal candidate for any Spanish teaching job I apply for. That’s a sobering thought.
It’s also hard because I have no one to talk to about this stuff. It’s such a weird situation, so unique. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t feel they could teach what they wanted because their command of the material limited them. There are plenty of non-native Spanish speakers in the world, but they all seem to be a lot more fluent than I am.
It’s all making me feel so hopeless. Should I abandon this course and start off in a new direction? I don’t want to do that, but I also don’t want to stay where I am. I’m ready to move on. I can’t teach this low level Spanish my whole life. I feel stagnant, and frustrated, and sad.
Is this yet another goal I will never achieve? Another dream I’ll be chase after my whole life, but never quite catch? Like minimalism, and financial responsibility, will I always be striving for something and never feeling like I’ve achieved it?
A dream always out of reach…