The language barrier has been interesting. I can read signs, and my vocabulario is slowly returning. (The verb conjucations seem to be lost, so I´ve been glancing at my verb book to refresh--but it´s hard to remember which to use when, so I usually take the simple, wrong approach). I can make myself understood, and generally understand for the most part, but I´m still frustrated. I think I´ve never felt much motivation until now to actually speak and study Spanish beyond earning an A for a class.
I´m good with language, but insecure when it comes to speaking. I´m starting to get over that out of pure necessity, since I´m the one out of the pair of us who can read, speak, and understand most of the Spanish that comes my way. Those Spaniards with English skills usually switch to English when I start having problems, though I´m always careful to start by speaking Spanish, and usually respond in Spanish until I can´t figure it out. It´s worked so far.
I´ve become increasingly aware of language, both mine and those around me. Surrounded by the rhythms of a language I have to concentrate to understand, I´ve discovered how much language plays into our everyday lives. How often we use it to communicate, to achieve our basic needs, to connect to both old friends and new acquaintances. It´s a pretty cool thing, our ability for language.
Right now, I´m listening to a loud argument in some sort of Germanic language. Our hotel is actually mostly Australians, Spaniards on holiday, and Dutch or German or something. I´ll expect to hear Spanish, and it won´t be. Quite strange, really. The loud protester is the same one that we saw get into a lame bar shoving match (not really a fight), and I don´t really want to turn around to see exactly what is going on.
Well, I´ll write more about actual Spain soon (probably when I get back, and I can illustrate with photos!) It´s pretty nice, this españa, and it´s been pretty nice to us so far. We had a fantastic new year´s, and I hope you all did too!