Thursday, February 18, 2010

Gusto en conocerte

I wonder sometimes, how very long it will take me to answer a confident "yes" when someone asks me if I'm fluent in Spanish. I'm not sure if I've posted this before, or just thought it to myself enough times that I suspect I must have. Because... well, there's no clear line. There's no "this side you're fluent, this side you're not" barrier that I can simply step over one day, or from which I can conveniently measure my distance in inches or feet or miles. No, this is a clear-cut example of how nothing in the world of bilingualism and/or multilingualism is blanco or negro. Everything comes in shades of gris.

But knowing that does not stop the internal questioner. When will I know?! Is it like what they say about finding the one you will marry? "When you know, you just... know... You know?" No. I don't. I really don't.

What I DO know, however, is that I must keep doing what I've been doing all along: Practicing, speaking, listening, writing, learning, interacting... Hola. Me llamo Kristy. Gusto en conocerte.


  1. Hi there. I came across your blog today and just wanted to say Hola! Like you, I have been struggling with Spanish for some time, and was inspired to read your blog. I studied Spanish like most kids when I was in high school, but never thought I would have much use for it. Almost ten years later, I have rededicated myself to becoming fluent. It's been about two years now, and while I have improved quite a bit, I still find myself shaking my head in confusion when I listen to native speakers conversing back and forth. Unfortunately, I can not visit a Spanish speaking country any time soon, so my best attempts at immersion comes from watching telenovelas. Just wondering if you had any advice for a self-teaching Spanish student. Congratulations on your success!


  2. Hey there, James,

    Thanks for the "hola!" Glad you were inspired to read.

    Where do you live? I think the best advice I can give you is to find real, live NATIVE (that is important) Spanish speakers in your area. I happened to meet a lot of people on (ironically) It's a pretty awesome site that connects you with and informs you of local meetups of groups that share similar interests as you. Become part of a Spanish language meetup and go talk to the native speakers. You may even be able to sort out some sort of "intercambio" deal with someone who wants to practice his/her English.

    Other than that, you can certainly practice all you want on telenovelas, which will help the listening bit for sure, but you won't be getting the "field experience."

    If you want some good solo listening tools, may I also suggest listening to Spanish podcasts. I am a member of "Notes in Spanish," to which I am about to post a link. They are fantastic and have three levels: Beginner, intermediate, and advanced. A good deal of it is free!

    Stop by and check-in anytime!



  3. Hola otra vez.....thanks for the tips...I live in Connecticut where there is a substantial Spanish speaking community, but I am a little afraid to jump in the water so to speak. I am very familiar with Ben and Marina from Notes In Spanish...they are great....I post on their forum from time to time....I am going to check out right now...thanks again!

  4. Hola Kristy...cómo estás, iha?

    acabo de leer tu blog entero y tengo que decirte que me encanta! "está bien padre, wey!" como dicen los mexicanos o "hostia, ke mola un montón, tía" como dicen los españoles..pero ya sé que ti también te gusta la palabra "molar"..jaja.
    bueno, haber leído lo de tus experiencias en europa, y sobre todo en españa, entiendo muy bien como es de sentirse atrapado entre el estado de hablar español con fluidez (e incluso casi sentirse como un nativo) y el estado de frustación profunda por tener que pensar demasiado y el miedo de cometer errores linguísticos. Pero así es, hay días en los que el español sale corriendo de tu boca, y otros en los que simplemente no sale nada útil! Pero a fin de cuentas, lo que es importante es superarse a sí mismo y matter what! Your blog is the best example of how daring to travel and communicate creates the best and funniest stories to tell later on. So great! I really enjoyed reading it- not only because it kept me from writing my paper ;), but also- because it sounds so familiar to me!

    Kristy, mucho gusto en haberte conocido!
    Que siguas así!! Muchos saludos desde Duesseldorf,

  5. Thanks, Neele! You read all the ones past this entry, too? That is quite a lot of reading, tía! Y pues, qué lindo sale tu escritura! Gracias mil por el commentario... te deseo un montón de suerte en escribir tu ensayo y que disfrutes muchísimo en Mexico, wey. :)

    Stay in touch! I'll be back to Germany for sure one day!