Joe Friend posted a great wrapup of my long winded language rant from yesterday and added a couple other points: You have to use your new language a lot and you have to be willing to look and sound like a fool. Both are very true. Though if you're living in another country, it doesn't really matter if you're willing to look like a fool or not... you invariably will be one daily.
Here's a true story I always tell because it sort of illustrates life in another country. After about 6 or 7 months here in Spain, I was just getting to the point where I was starting to use Spanish on a daily basis. It's very tiring at first because it's all mental activity all day long. Every word is an effort. So one day, I was beat and sick of Spanish, and decided that I was going to do the simplest thing for dinner after work and just get a "to go" menu at the Kentucky Fried Chicken on the way home, go back and sit in front of CNN International for the rest of the evening. So I go into the restaurant, wait in line - preparing what I was going to say in advance - and then finally ordered my meal using what I hoped would be the last Spanish words I would have to say that day. I ordered a menu number two to go, holding up two fingers and a thumb to make sure I was being perfectly clear. The girl smiled, I smiled and then I sort of drifted off and examined the toys in the display case while waiting for her to prepare my order. When she called my attention back, she was smiling holding two bags for me. Oh no! Somehow I had ordered TWO menu twos to go!! So looked at her in a long pause while I decided whether to try to communicate that I only wanted one order not two... I looked at her for a second, then a thought passed through my mind and I decided to just give up, I paid for my two orders and got out of there and went home to rest my weary brain. What was that thought you ask? Well, while I was sitting there looking at those two bags, I suddenly thought "Thank god I didn't order menu number SEVEN!" ;-) That's a true story.
Joe also asked about the absence of my Spanish weblog. Actually, while chatting with Victor last night, he got me to set up a blog on his Spanish weblog site called Blogalia. So here it is, El Cuaderno de Russell Beattie en espaï¿½ol. There's not a lot there right now, but now that I've got it set up, I'm going to start adding to it pronto.
P.S. Holy Crap! I just was checking my Spanish weblog link and there are 4 comments to it already (and I didn't WRITE anything yet, except hello!). Cool. Thanks! (err. ï¿½Gracias!)