I asked on Twitter if you guys would like to see a post in Spanish (which the answer was yes). Then, I asked what you guys would want me to do—whether it was a review, a list, Q&A or other (which only one person voted for that and said Puerto Rico). So I’m going to be making a review in Spanish which will most likely be published on Monday (if not, on Wednesday).
So here, I’m going to talk about how I know Spanish which I did shortly talk about in Languages That I Know and Why I Know Them, but I’m going to talk about the full story and how I struggled and still struggle to this day with the language. As you may have seen on Twitter, I am Puertorican by blood meaning both of my parents were born and/or raised here. I’ve been living here for almost a decade now—actually more or less a month after my birthday is when it will be 10 years.
English is my first language which came from countless hours of me watching TV as a kid because my family would talk to me in Spanish, but I didn’t learn the actual language from them. I could understand what my family would say, but I had no idea how to respond to them. The second school that I went to (we moved a lot so I had to change schools every once in a while or the school that I would go to would close down) was a bilingual school where it was 70% in Spanish and 30% in English, but I could only learn how to read very basic words and only count in Spanish after being in that school for a year before it closed down. Afterwards, I would try to have a conversation with my family, but I would be making mistakes left and right which would cause them to laugh at my mistakes because it seemed rather stupid and I would (admittedly) make up words in hopes that it would be the right way to say it.
Fast-forward to about a week or two before my 13th birthday. We had recently moved into a trailer park and my mom would go to the hospital frequently because she would be feeling pain in the area where the liver is very frequently. Back then, she would make frequent trips to the doctor/hospital because she was diabetic. I was coming home from school—by then I was in 7th grade, and I was in my room until my mom had come home and called me and my dad to talk with us. She spoke 2 words in Spanish since she knew I could understand what she was saying, but it was those two words that anyone in any language would dread hearing: “Tengo cancer” (I have Cancer). Since she was diagnosed, she decided to have me and my dad move to Puerto Rico since most of our family lives here, and because my dad couldn’t work because he’s disabled.
While I didn’t mind having to move here (since I understood that she wanted me to have at least a comfortable life) I didn’t want to go to a school here at all. Why? I felt like so many people were going to be making fun of me and my lack of knowledge in the language. Despite that, I was put into a cheap catholic school that’s known to be very strict—especially because it’s filled with nuns—which I studied at from 7th grade to Senior Year of High School (it’s a school that’s Pre-K to 12th grade). When I got in the school, I was terrified of even saying hello. I had no idea what the teachers were saying (other than English class). It was incredibly difficult. I remember crying a lot because I couldn’t understand anything. I also had to try my best in learning without my mom around because she would be spending most of the time in the hospital getting treatment.
I did meet a few people who did know English and I’m still friends with them to this day. They really helped me understand the material and I started to learn the language bit by bit. I did say curse words rather often at first because it’s always the first thing any linguist (at least the ones that I know) would learn other than hello, goodbye and thank you. By the end of my first school year, I was able to read certain paragraphs. Was I able to understand them? Only around 25%, but it was an improvement nonetheless.
Nowadays, when I talk to people—especially in an UBER—people would point out my accent (since I have a slight United States American accent when I speak) and ask me where I’m from. Though there are a few people that still get surprised when I tell them that Spanish isn’t my first language and say that my Spanish is very good (which makes me incredibly happy to hear). The college I go to is also mostly in Spanish except for my English Literature and Foreign Language Classes (of course). I still mess up every now and then when I speak and when I write, but looking back, I’m really happy with how far I’ve come with it.
The reason why I wrote this story time is so you guys can see that despite learning a new language might be difficult (well, my circumstances were completely different since I had to literally dive into the huge wave of learning it), it still is possible. So no matter how hard it may seem, don’t give up. It will definitely pay off in the long run.
As for Monday’s post, I’m going to write it completely in Spanish as I have mentioned in the beginning. I’m thinking about putting a translator widget (despite it not being accurate per say) since I’m afraid the post would be too long if I were to translate it word by word myself. I’m only considering adding a translator though. If I do decide to write the English translation, it will be in italics after each paragraph. Let me know what you guys think of either. Also, there’s a poll on my Twitter that’s still going on about what kind of review you’d like me to write, so if you could vote on what kind of review you’d like to see me write in Spanish, I would very much appreciate it.
That’s it for today. I hope you enjoyed reading. Until next time, keep your paws and bowls of ramen up, everyone! Nya! 🐾
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