I Must Be Crazy…

I think I may be out of my mind.  Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but with all the things going on in my life today, my most recent idea is surely one to raise an eyebrow to, at least given my particular circumstances.  Let me go on and try to explain and we’ll see where it gets me.

This afternoon, I was reading a Facebook post by someone who was discouraged with his Spanish progress.  He felt like no matter how much studying he did, he would never achieve the level of fluency he wanted, although sometimes I think our goals of fluency are a little obscure.  What is fluency anyway?  We all say we want to be fluent, but at what point does one become fluent?  I have been practicing Spanish since 2008 and some days I feel like I can say I am fluent, and other days I laugh at how little I really know.  Learning a language is not easy and being able to call yourself fluent is really a matter of opinion, but I hate to hear other people be so negative towards their own abilities.  It got me thinking about how far I have come, and from where I started.  I speak pretty good Spanish now, but what did I sound like back in 2008?  If I wanted to start from scratch today, what would I do, how would I start?  It got me thinking about learning more languages.  Back in 2011, I tried my hand at Italian and French.  I enjoyed them both quite a bit, although I got much further along with Italian than I did with French.  It wasn’t that French was that much harder, but that I began French a few months later than Italian, and then I decided that it would be better for me to stick to Spanish only for the time being, as Spanish was my one true love and I didn’t want to risk backtracking my Spanish while I tried to learn Italian and French.  I always say I want to go back to it, but I am always a little hesitant to start mixing languages, although I have read many stories of people who practice two or more languages at a time.  In fact, they say learning multiple languages helps offset the development of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia in adults, which are two diseases I have a great fear of.

I certainly don’t want to try to learn multiple languages right now, but the idea of diving back into Italian is starting to appeal to me quite a bit.  I want to use it as a way to show the people who doubt their abilities that if you set your mind to it, you really can do anything you want  Of course, I am deciding to do this at a rather tough junction in my life.  I have heard others talk about how they never give up on their dreams and those who truly want to accomplish something will find a way, but I don’t know that I can call learning Italian a dream of mine, rather a fun hobby to take up and I can not sacrifice my time with my new and growing family just so I can say a few key phrases in a third language.  Look, I only want to spend an hour a day on this but as I look ahead just to the next few weeks, I don’t imagine I will have even an hour a day to myself.  My mother is coming in a few days and I have a wedding to take part in.  Veronica is on vacation for the next several weeks and we plan on spending quite a bit of time together, and while she has proven to me that she at least writes in Italian very well, somehow I doubt she wants to spend her vacation teaching me a third language.  Believe it or not, I still don’t have a job, but I do have something hopeful in the works, and if that pans out, it would limit the amount of free time I have.  Perhaps having a more structured day would help, I don’t know, but if we get to September and I am still unemployed, there will be a lot more to worry about than whether or not I can ask for the bill at a restaurant in Italian.  I’m trying to keep a positive outlook on this prospective job.  Unfortunately, I am not sure adding Italian to my resume would help me here in Spain.

In November, our daughter will be here and obviously she will take precedence over all, but I wonder if caring for her will allow me the time to practice a bit.  No, I am not going to talk to my newborn daughter in Italian, but perhaps in the moments we have together, I will find a little time to read a bit or study my Anki deck.  Late night feedings may provide just the time I need to try my hand at Italian once more.  Veronica has said we need to maintain our lives.  While having a baby will change things, we still need to be independent adults from time to time.  No, it won’t be easy, but I think she and I should discuss how we want to work out a little free time for one another once our daughter arrives.

If I do jump back into learning Italian, I am going to try my best not to become obsessed with it.  I tend to overdo it when I take up a new hobby.  I have plenty of listening exercises on my computer that go over the very basics of the language; the alphabet, basic vocabulary, things of that nature.  I will try my best not to attempt to write the next great novel in Italian before I can list the days of the week.  Slow and steady wins the race, right?

OK, so I may go at least make a plan of study, just to organize my thoughts and see if this crazy idea is even feasible.  Given that I spent about six months studying Italian and it is very similar to Spanish, I am hoping a lot of the early stuff will come back to me and I will be able to progress beyond the basics fairly easily, but again, slow and steady.

Anyway, that’s enough for now.  I need to go study a little Spanish before Veronica gets home.  Perhaps tomorrow I’ll give Italian another shot.  It would be interesting to see if over the next few years I could become reasonably coherent in Italian, French, and maybe even Portuguese (another secret love of mine).  I know they all stem from the same roots, but telling people I can speak five languages would be really cool.  All right, until next time…

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~ by James on July 14, 2016.

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