Sunday, October 16, 2011

#6 Move to a Country that doesn't Speak English

When I got to Montevideo after 30+ hours of travelling I was exhausted and re-learning Spanish, which I have hardly used for a year and a half, was the last thing I wanted to do, but it was my choice. So Challenge #1 become fluent or at least be able to understand and talk to people. I had clearly underestimated how much you forget in a year and a half of not speaking a foreign language.

The first 2 days I couldn't really speak or understand Spanish, by that I mean I couldn't. A word here a phrase there was it. Oh and forget about being able to talk and be understood that wasn't happening. To say I hated being the equivalent of a dumb and mute idiot the family shuns is putting it exceptionally mildly. So that said, the third day in Montevideo the Spanish slowed down, so I could tell the difference between words even if i didn't know exactly what they were saying. I still couldn't speak Spanish well, so I was more like a kid first learning how to talk, but it was progress. The next day I was so fed up with not being able to talk I left the house and went for a walk detailed in this post(#7 Walk at Night by Yourself).

Somehow when I got back I understood them perfectly, well except words I never knew, and I could talk! Best feeling ever! I've never felt so frustrated or stupid, but now finally I could show them the family I wasn't retarded. If that hadn't of happened I'm fairly sure I would have been on the next plane out because there is no way I could of survived without the level of Spanish I know now. My Spanish isn't near perfect, but now I can communicate and people understand me and I can understand almost everything except slang. They never teach that in Spanish Class, probably because they don't want us speaking Spanish like a sailor.

As a result I believe that in the endless debate of what makes humans different than animals I would put Communication(Oral and written). Sure some animals can make short noises or mimic what they hear, but I doubt at anything near human level. In Spanish I could do roughly the equivalent the first few days a word here and there, but I couldn't actually develop thoughts. I think that is something that makes us human. What do you think about this? Please Comment below.

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