13 February 2017

February SOTB Blog Hop- And A Free Printable!

Hey, look at that! I made it to TWO SOTB blog hops in a row! Woo-hoo. As I mentioned last month, this blog hop was started a couple years ago, but me and a group of fellow Mexico-dwellers have tried our hardest to revive it this year. It's February- meaning the theme is "love". I have already written a million times about how much I love Hector, so I won't bore you with that same song and dance. Instead, I thought I'd focus a little bit on my love for the Spanish language. 

I started learning Spanish around 8th grade. Schools still wanted us to know a foreign language and Spanish seemed to be more useful than French in urban Oregon. The class was just basic vocabulary, but I absorbed the words like a sponge. When I headed to high school, I learned to study. I was always an avid reader, but I realized that I needed more than reading the mock conversations provided in my text book. I copied them by hand. I copied verb conjugations repeatedly. I filled notebooks with grammar rules and irregular verbs and nouns. I read the Spanish-English dictionary cover to cover. By the time that I was a senior in high school, I was in a class for native Spanish speakers. I never thought then that the language of my daily activities would one day be Spanish. I learned because I wanted to possess the knowledge. I'd write Hector letters and try to impress him. I'd watch Spanish TV to get my pronunciation correct. 

What I love about Spanish is how incredibly simple it is as a language. It is phonetic- everything is spelled exactly as it sounds. Of course, it can sound completely different in different countries or in different parts of Mexico. Sometimes Hector and I will listen to people and try and guess where they are from based on their accent. Spanish, because of it's phonetic nature and gender-associated nouns, it is a language that is perfect for poetry and music. It is very easy to rhyme, although no one writes me any sonnets. Music is always part of life here in Mexico, as I'm sure it is elsewhere. There is always something playing somewhere in the background as you go anywhere. 

While I conduct most of our daily business with the outside world in Spanish, we still speak English at home. Isaias still struggles with Spanish, even though we do lessons with him. It's very difficult to give up your mother tongue completely, I've noticed. I've dreamt in Spanish, a sign that I'm bilingual- but I still don't feel bilingual. I have a hard time with Tijuanisms and the local slang here. I struggle with being confident in my language abilities. I say the wrong word every now and again, but I try and I keep trying. That's where real language learning takes place: immersion. I copied textbooks and dictionaries until my hands cramped up and I couldn't write any more, but book learning only takes you so far. Immersing myself in the language, and not forcing the other person to use English, has been the greatest education I have given myself. Words are magic, says Dumbledore, and by learning Spanish, I increased the magic in my life.  

To celebrate Valentine's Day and my love of the Spanish language, I made this printable, with free digital elements found here, for you to download and use for a love note, scrapbooking, or home decor. Just click here and save it to your computer.

Happy Valentine's Day! ¡Feliz día de San Valentín! ¡Feliz día de amor y amistad!

What do my fellow South of the Border Sisters love? Check them out in this month's blog hop:

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