I’m currently in Philadelphia for a language conference for work, and more specifically, I am sitting in a restaurant alone missing my husband and baby.
My distraction is to think about the past few days. Two days ago, I interviewed a local woman who is originally from Colombia for my Spanish class. She showed up 30 minutes early, and my language partner for the interview was on time. I held a conversation completely in Spanish for over an hour, and it felt fairly natural. It was exhilarating to use that much Spanish with someone other than one of my professors. I also learned a lot about Colombia. Yes, there is more than drug cartels there!
Just this afternoon, as I was walking though the world’s largest convention center searching for the conference check-in, I started walking next to a woman who is a local French teacher from Canada originally. We spoke for about 20 minutes, and I was so embarrassed because I was doing alright, but kept saying “si,” instead of “oui.”
I explained I am studying Spanish and she said her husband is Spanish and that they always end up speaking a combination of French and Spanish at home because the two are so close and they both speak both languages.
We said “Bonne Journée,” when she found her meeting room, and then I asked someone else for directions. The older gentleman did not speak great English, so I asked him if he spoke Spanish because his accent gave him away. He said yes, and then I proceeded to ask for directions in Spanish.
Now, I know people in larger cities may get this opportunity all the time, but it was, well, exhilarating. I need a new adjective I suppose.
Each of these three people changed their demeanor completely when I addressed them in their native language, and I learned something from each person. This is why I love learning new languages!
There’s that motivation I was looking for!