Saturday, February 7, 2009

School, Week Three

I was in school, I wrote two papers, read a lot of stuff in Spanish, didn’t know what I was learning quite frequently, and that’s about it.

School is good, but school is school. I’m learning tons about Spain. It’s history, religious life, literature, relations with Latin America, and how to properly form sentences.

I think the two toughest classes are 20th Century Spanish Literature, just because this involves reading a book every two weeks and writing a paper analyzing it, having never discussed it in class. Fun times. Latin American politics is tough too. I have a good background, but the teacher speaks at lightning speed. So, by the time my brain catches up to what she said, she’s moved on to the next point. This class just might kill me.

I love my theology class. Technically, its Spanish mysticism, but right now we are talking about Plato’s theology and how this transitioned into the ideals of St. Augustine and later Christian theology. The teacher is a good mix of Dracula and Mr. Bean. Thoroughly entertaining. He also speaks slowly, very slowly, and when he uses a word that’s more than two syllables, he will use two or three other words that mean the same, so you have a good chance of knowing at least one of the key words in lecture. For this class we’re also reading Las Moradas by Saint Teresa de Jesus. It’s really interesting. Something I know nothing about.

What else, The history of Spain since 1936. Three weeks and we still haven’t gotten to 1936, so this should be interesting. But it’s been helpful. I now have a better understanding of Constitutional and Parliamentary Monarchies as well as current election procedures in Spain. We have just finished talking about Spanish industrialization and what not, bringing us to the Second Republic in 1930. I like this class because it’s applicable to now. The 2.000 years of history is Spain is important, but in the modernized society I am living in, the last 80 years or so are more applicable to understanding the current economy, government and societal structure.

I’m in a grammar class too, which is boring, but a lot better than a US grammar class. We break down the structure to understand WHY sentences are written the way they are. It’s a good course and I’m learning a lot, about grammar and colloquial Spanish. It’s easier too because there’s not a lot of reading.

You have to understand, these classes are NOT like US Spanish classes. This isn’t “learn the language” this is “you know the language, now go to school.” Imagine your 4 classes right now. The reading, the papers, the homework, the boring lectures, the tests, everything. Now imagine that they are in a completely different language. This is my life. School is boring and hard in English. Now I have to translate my notes before I can study, because I write down what the teacher says, even though I may not know what the words mean, because they’ll be on the test.

I LOVE IT. I’m frustrated every minute of the day. I am afraid I’m going to fail. I still cant communicate my thoughts, but I’m learning. I now so much more now that I did three weeks ago. Words that I learned in class now have meaning. I am relearning them by listening. It’s weird. Babies learn to speak by listening. I get it now. I’ve heard words ten times, not knowing what they were, but by the eleventh time, using context clues, I know. Now they are a part of my vocabulary. It’s really quite cool to think about. Sometimes I don’t even realize it’s happening. All I realize is that I DON’T know something. I forget to think about what I DO know. Which, my friend Melissa keep reminding me, is more than I think. I hope that I can just work up the confidence to start speaking more and let the words in my mind come out. Because until I stop being so mute all the time, I’ll never get comfortable using them. YIKES! I am waiting for it all to click. Hopefully soon. This is getting ridiculous…

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