Adam in Barca

Practicar español
August 18, 2009, 4:32 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Wow! I feel like I blinked and suddenly two weeks went by. Sorry for the lack of updating. I got pretty sucked into life here, which I suppose is the best I could ask for.

I realized I never posted a photo of my street. Here it is, the charming Calle de Perill (Perill is Catalan for “Danger”). It was a bit overcast that day, so sorry for the poor lighting:


And here’s a photo of one of the local markets I buy groceries from down the street:


After focusing pretty heavily on research in July (my second project was on Antoni Tàpies, who I’ll do another post on later), August has been more about writing poems, practicing Spanish, and trying to live like a local. I’ve made enough local friends now that it’s possible to go almost an entire day without speaking any English out-loud, which is exciting and also interesting psychologically. (Sidenote: my Spanish is still very, very intermediate. But, I can at least struggle through basic conversations.) After talking with a friend in a cafe for an hour or two, half in Spanish/half in English, for example, I might come back to write or send an e-mail, and find myself accidentally including random Spanish phrases, like “dímelo” or “vale” or “vamos a ver.” The more I learn, though, the more I realize how much I lack. It seems everyone in Europe speaks 2, 3, 4, or even more languages, and as someone who speaks maybe one and a half, I’m intrigued at how the mind of a polyglot works.

The other night, I was sitting in a café with two Catalan friends, plus an Englishman, a Frenchman, and another American. At any moment, there may have been three different languages going at once, depending on who knew English, French, Spanish, or Catalan. Or take my run-in the other day on the train with my friend Hansol, who is originally from Korea, though she has lived here for two years. We ran into a classmate of hers, who is Italian, and though none of us are native-speakers, we conversed in Spanish — before switching to English when her friend realized I was American. It’s probably second-nature to most Europeans, but I find incredibly fascinating. (This is also all probably obvious for anyone who has ever studied abroad, but I’ve never lived in a Spanish— my only foreign language—country before, so it’s all quite new to me.)


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