20 years late to the game

So, I’ve been with my husband for more than 20 years (married for 18). At the time we met, I was in college and taking a forced class in foreign language – I chose Spanish, as it seemed the most feasible pick. As it turns out, my hubby is from Mexico, so it was a good decision after all.

You’d think that being married to a Mexican would have prompted me to learn his native language quicker, but since he was becoming increasingly fluent in English and that is the primary language here in the U.S., it wasn’t as imperative that I speak Spanish as it was that he master English.

Then we had a child and hubby did pretty good at consistently speaking Spanish to him for a couple years. But our son had delayed speech (which we found out later was not all that uncommon in bilingual households), and hubby – afraid that our son would never speak English – stopped speaking to him in Spanish. We found out years later that our son is dyslexic and this probably accounted for his delayed speech more than anything else.

So now here we are, many years later, and with a second child who is 13 years old (our firstborn is now 16). A few months ago we started having bilingual bible studies with some Latino friends, and this has helped to spark my interest (as well as that of my kids) more substantially in learning the language. Plus, our children have a huge family in Mexico that they don’t even know and can’t even communicate with.

It’s imperative that we master this language. I’m kicking myself more and more for all the time we wasted in not pushing ourselves to learn it – and at the lost opportunity for the effortless bilingual skill our kids would have had if hubby had just stuck to speaking his language to them.

Thus has begun my journey towards fluency – or at least, a more effective ability to communicate in Spanish with my husband, his family, and our Latino friends. I’ve been trying to speak Spanish consistently to my kids – I just hope that I don’t pass along too many errors to them along the way – and I’ve found it’s true that the more you practice speaking it, the easier it becomes to slide into the routine. And I’ve discovered over the past couple of weeks that I am beginning to think more in Spanish first before I speak.

I’ve been reading the Language Hacking Guide and one of the suggestions given is to start a blog of our experiences. So that’s the purpose of this entry. I hope that I can keep up with it but sometimes I have consistency issues with blogging, so we will see.

Fingers crossed.

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