Speaking in Spanish is hard for me.
I mean it is really, really hard.
When I speak, if at all, I am forced to speak slowly, carefully pronouncing words that don't quite fit in my mouth. I stumble, trying to make my English tongue do things it simply has been accustomed to doing.
I think more about what I really want to say and the words in my ever expanding vocabulary arsenal that will enable me to express myself. What do I really mean, what is that I really want to communicate? This is language stripped naked, down to the bare bones, and sometimes, I can't even manipulate this simple language.
I speak slowly, communicate more with my hands, eyes, my whole body. Lean in closely, devote my full attention on whoever is speaking -- I can't afford to miss anything. When attempting to reply, I stumble, often confusing tenses, pronunciation, and gender.
In short, Spanish makes me humble in a way that I never could be in English. I often don't like who I become in Spanish. A simple girl, quiet, to herself, struggling to communicate even simple things -- I need deodorant and toothpaste, sir. I miss the confident woman that I am in English.
Spanish makes me apologize. Leaves me vulnerable to criticism and correction. Like the friend, who, after reading my blog, gently pointed out to me that since I used ano and not año in one of my entries, I wished all of you a fabulous, happy new anus. Accents can be the line between clarity and confusion in Spanish, one simply cannot afford to forget them.
Sigh...and just when you think you're making progress.
The completely insane thing is that this stumbling with Spanish doesn't inhibit my ability to read the language at all. And I've become a reasonably good Spanish to English translator. Pero, por favor, don't ask me to do this process in reverse.
Coming to Nicaragua is good for me, because it makes me slow down, learn to accept and own my shortcomings, and not be afraid to admit that I am wrong and start over. Good skills to have in an unpredictable world.