I was reminded of it tonight: There is nothing quite like successfully making a friend in another language. There really isn't. Makes me nostalgic for Madrid and her bars, beers, patient friends, and complete strangers, that made language acquisition possible for me years ago. Occasionally, when I step back from myself and hear myself blabbering on like an idiot, barely aware of the words before they leave my mouth, I am taken aback by how far I've come, remembering the sense of elation, accomplishment, awe, that first overcame me the moment I realized I was speaking without stopping. It was the first moment that I really felt like I could talk to people and it might perhaps be worth their time to listen. It reminds me how my students must feel upon crossing that barrier... and the frustration they must feel before reaching it.
It takes awhile... and it's hard. But it's worth it.
It's soooo worth it.