明天见! À demain! ¡Hasta mañana! See you tomorrow!

This afternoon I expressed “see you tomorrow” in four languages. I believe this is a sign of things to come, although I wonder if my brain can manage these linguistic transitions. Since I work at a university, I am in that week of limbo before classes start where the summer calm and time for projects is almost up, to be replaced by the hectic semesters of the academic year. In addition to working at the university, I am also undertaking a second bachelor’s degree in Spanish and I start two new courses next Monday.

In addition to the Spanish coursework, my new boss is encouraging me to have private Chinese instruction to go as far as I would like with Chinese, to be undertaken at work with one of our instructors. My original intent with the tutoring is to ensure I am able to be polite and carry on very basic introductions and instructions. Because I know myself, I have a feeling that I will start asking questions about grammar and culture, and then I will suddenly be hooked into going beyond learning traveling phrases. I have a problem saying “no” to anything to do with foreign languages.

And then there is my son, who is slowly starting to use French occasionally despite my best efforts to completely fail at sharing that language with him. I am elated that there is a new student working in an adjoining department who speaks French and Spanish and she is happy to use both with me for extra practice. Today I spoke with her in French and Spanish and I feel empowered to use both conversationally.

I have often complained that I don’t have the necessary resources here in Kentucky to speak multiple languages daily, and yet I have managed to work three extra languages into my daily life just like that. Now, I ask, can I do this? Is my adult brain supple enough? All I can do is try again tomorrow.

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Only three languages? Slacker.

I have had a stroke of luck, and now I will be able to take two Spanish courses: Spanish Conversation and Business Spanish. I had planned to take two classes this semester because the tuition benefit is lost if I don’t use it. Rather than have 4 languages in my head every day, I am narrowing it down to three. I still think I will end up being one of those people who mumbles to themselves as they walk through campus, having one-sided conversations for practice.
Yesterday, my father-in-law greeted us with a French phrase he had memorized from a translation just for our son. It was such a sweet gesture. I still feel a little strange speaking French with our son in front of our non-French speaking families. I don’t want to be rude, having a private conversation that nobody else can understand or enjoy. At the same time, if I accommodate every English speaker around us, I will never be using the target language. I guess I have to get over it, and feel silly in the grocery store, or with family. It’s been a while since I was living as a foreigner, and I suspect that in public those without a refined ear will think I am “not from around these parts.”
A. started crawling last weekend and is already cruising. At this rate, he will be walking before I know it, and speaking sweet words of…English? French? Kentuckian?