Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Spanish immersion steps it up a level

 So as some of you may know, I’ve been doing Spanish immersion month in Feb to prep for my week of boot camp the first week of March.   Partially, this involves significant dedicated listening practice (about an hour a day of active listening with more casual listening - tv or music - when I have time for background noise), and partially this involves making as many things in my life Spanish as possible.  

I started by making FB Spanish — that’s not really all that much of a challenge given I could prob also navigate reasonably successfully in Greek ;)   I loaded a Spanish novel to read on my kindle — also not super challenging as I picked one targeted to B2 learners, which is exactly the level I’m “officially” at (usually when I read I go up a level, so this feels v easy, definitely nowhere near as challenging as the “real” novels I’ve read - even if they target tweens ;).  Note, I don’t actually speak anywhere near this level.  I just test here cause online tests don’t involve speaking *g*  But for the other three parts of language, it’s actually correct.

But then I also made my phone Spanish.  And I admit, I had NO concept of what that would mean to my life.  To recap, since then I’ve had:

  • Alexa in my car, now speaks Spanish.  Which I love!  Cause really, awesome practice with instant feedback on whether it was understood.   But yeah, was a surprise, and a disturbing number of things I have to think of other ways to say.   Eg - in English I tell her “skip this song”, but I don’t know how to say ‘skip’ so now in Spanish I tell her “next song”.  Pretty much the opposite of fluent, but slowly slowly becoming competent.
  • Wikipedia is in Spanish.  Yeah that was thoroughly unexpected ;)   And made my “quick lookup” much slower than anticipated.
  • My Fitbit is now in Spanish.  The app, the physical watch, AND the email report they send me every week.  lol this was more challenging than otherwise as I had only *just* gotten a new-to-me fitbit the week before.
  • On social media, when people post in other languages (I get posts from a fun number of countries/cultures/languages), instead of those other languages automatically translating to English, they now translate to Spanish.   I honestly was fairly oblivious how much behind-the-scenes translation was happening until now.
  • Bitmojis are in Spanish.  This one makes me sad, since nobody I send bitmojis to understands Spanish.   Also, it very much highlights my complete lack of colloquial Spanish as I have no idea how to search for things — and they’re things Google Translate isn’t going to help with.   Like I know lol = jajaja, but what does WTF translate to?   I really wanted that one today.   Because often there are images with no text that would still suit, but I need to be able to search for the text I want.  So this is proving to be a frustrating exercise, but I’m disproportionately pleased when I get it.  I found a good teacher one for C’s first day, so I was happy about that :)
  • Work email and Webex Teams...  You got it: Spanish.   I had a definite moment today when it told me I had a P&PM Reunion.  I was like 'Really?  That project only ended on Friday, do we actually need a reunion so soon?'   Until I remembered....  Reunion in Spanish translates to meeting ;-P    And it was one I could cancel *because* said project finished on Friday ;)

And today’s adventure…  Google maps.   By this point, I didn’t even really notice the app itself being in Spanish, like with FB, I can pretty much navigate the app without any of the written cues.  Connected to the car and started driving and…   Directions in Spanish.

This is what the first few seconds felt like...
But it got better :)

Sigh, followed by an eye roll, and eventually a laugh because well, I wanted immersion and here it is.   Fortunately, I know the words left and right and they don’t sound anything remotely like one another, so even if rapid-fire Spanish syllables get lost, I still knew which way to turn.  Unfortunately, one of the gaps I’ve noticed in my listening exercises is the ability to accurately recognize numbers.  Even when I’m listening for them, I get them right maybe 50% of the time.  Which makes the distance to the left or right turn a bit of a question mark.   And then the HUGE challenge is that Spanish Google Lady does *not* read English street names in any way I could even pretend to understand.   Like even leaving my block, where I knew fully well the name of the street, I couldn’t pick it out.   So I was relying strongly on a combination of my faulty ability to understand numbers, and the fact that Google Lady always reminds you right before it’s time to turn ;)

However, Spanish Google Lady and I made it where we were supposed to go on the first try, so I was pretty pleased at that.  And the new pizza place was very much worth the challenge ;)


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