I had my moment (*queues Rebecca Black*). To be exact, that moment when you’re learning a new language and everything just seems to click. Two months in Mexico and a lightbulb just went off. Don’t get me wrong, I am by no means fluent, I just feel confident and comfortable that I can communicate what I need to in some form or another.
From stories told by peers, there are two common ways this presents itself: dreaming in the language (usually an indicator of fluency) and being approached by someone asking for help, such as directions (suggesting some level of believed comprehension/competency). Mine falls into the latter.
I remember it vividly despite it being a rather mundane moment. After an exhausting trip to the state of Chiapas, I was sitting at the kitchen table with my host mom listening to her recount the story of her phone getting robbed while sipping her cafecito. Obvious exasperation in her voice, she pulled out her newly purchased phone telling me she couldn’t find WhatsApp and wondering if I could help. It’s safe to say, WhatsApp wasn’t on the phone. She did NOT understand and so the rabbit hole began.
For the next hour, we went back and forth. First, we needed a gmail account. The account creation process was tedious and just as we were about to complete it, she remembered a notebook somewhere with an account written down. Success. WhatsApp downloaded, success. Sign into WhatsApp, success.
Sadly, as WhatsApp opened, we discovered not only had all of her conversations been deleted, her contacts never transferred. She panicked. I immediately dove into how we can regroup her contact list: TELCEL (her cellphone provider), contacting friends listed her notebook for help, etc. Amidst my rambling, she just looks at me with a smile and asks, “When did you get so confident? You’re talking so much.” Funnily enough, I instantly shut up and realized. Wait, she’s right I CAN speak Spanish. Silly me.
Going from sobbing in my room on the first day at my host mom’s place feeling like I knew nothing to this moment felt a bit like whiplash. It’s funny how insecurity hindered me for so long, but the confidence I have now is just a reminder of my growth. With one month left, I am excited to see where my conversations take me.