I’m well aware that the title of this post would not be out of place on the cover of a self-help book; I also considered “Be your biggest fan” and “How to be a more positive person”. Anyway, I hope you can forgive me and continue to the end of the final paragraph!
Following that first experience of Spanish Meetup I mentioned in my last post, I went again about two weeks later. Another few days after that, I gave the German Meetup group a try too. On these two nights, I noticed three little improvements to my language skills. While I hope to one day take them for granted, and I might be the only person who noticed, I want to reflect on them and celebrate them as notable achievements.
Propelled by my new-found confidence from the previous experience, speaking at the Spanish Meetup was a breeze the second time. Not only this, it was the first time I really felt capable of naturally holding meaningful conversation and making strong first impressions in Spanish.
The German Meetup set-up wasn’t the most conducive to personal conversations and mingling as we were all seated at a couple long tables. Conveniently, (and perhaps a little rudely, but I guess we couldn’t wait?), Edwin and I would slip into Spanish when we had something more personal to talk about. I’ve always found “code switching” between German and Spanish extremely difficult as German has usually been my default “channel” when I’m telling myself “foreign language!”, but this was the first time I really felt my Spanish was strong enough to hold itself up.
As I’ve told him on numerous occasions, I find Edwin’s Spanish particularly difficult to understand, what with his mumbling and his failure to roll his r’s! In any case, we were mid-side bar when I realised I was understanding him with few problems despite the constant rumble of chatter around us.
So just a small insight into how I self-encourage, even if I’m still not ‘perfect’ – just a short post with a simple message: Are there things you just don’t seem get straight away? Next time you’re frustrated because you feel you’ve hit a wall, make sure you’re noticing and celebrating all the little victories too. For me at least, a lot of the joy of learning a foreign language comes from the moments when things just seem to ‘click’.