Compare to my good Spanish classmate Monster, I am a lot more conservative. When his colleagues asked him which level he is at after spending close to three years learning the language, he humbly replied, “Intermediate”. After all these years you are still at intermediate? they would ask. And he would reply, “Yes, intermediate”. To be frank, I have no idea how many levels there are, what the next level is going to be. I feel as though I am still at the elementary level. Because I am still feeling so very inadequate.
The good news is that Cynthia and I have passed our exam. My score is not that great, which means I have to study harder. I treasure wake up calls like this. We humans are the lazy bunch. We need a kick every now and then to get us back on track.
Pre-Advanced 1 started with a new teacher Amelia. Our previous teacher Alejandra is taking a short break and has returned to Spain to deliver a baby. I think it has something to do with the Spanish culture. All our teachers so far at Las Lilas School are lively and warm, cheerful and fun loving. In today’s class, I have put in extra effort trying not to look like a retard (especially when Cynthia was stuck at her week long project management exam preparation course and could not be there to help me answering all the questions). Otherwise, Amelia would be wondering what Alejandra has been teaching us all these while.
Going up one level has certainly come with added challenges. Today’s class’s theme was fitness, or vida sana. No more simple, overused verbs that we have been relying on for close to three years. We now have to form sentences with more formal verbs. Such as fruits and vegetables provides vitamins (comer frutas y verduras proporciona vitaminas), enough sleep rests the body (dormir suficientes horas descansa el cuerpo), and drinking too much alcohol damages the liver (beber mucho alchol dañar el hígado).
What else have we learned today? Grammar, of course. I was not even shocked by yet another new tense to conjugate, with all its irregularity glory. It is affirmative imperative (imperativo afirmativo) and negative imperative (imperativo negativo), which is intimately linked to subjunctive (subjuntivo). In fact, negative imperative takes the form of subjunctive while there are two exceptions for affirmative imperative. I am still struggling with subjunctive (and the rest of other tenses to be honest). How in the world do Spanish and Latino people manage to use grammar of such diversity? Whatever secret they have, I admire their ability to express things around them in such colorful variety.
Some asked: What do you get out of learning Spanish in Singapore? Unfortunately, I do not have an inspirational answer to that question. Learning a language works my brain muscle, which I like. It is a common hobby for Cynthia and I. Developing a common hobby of any type is good for a couple, mostly. And I still believe that learning any skill opens up opportunities in the future.
On a more practical note, last night we had non-stop thunderclaps for one good hour followed by heavy rain. Immediately, I associated the event to one of Prince’s classic “Thunder”. This morning, I have transfered three of Prince’s albums onto my wireless phone and listened to them in our car. When the first song from “The Gold Experience” was played, I instantly recognized that the narrator was speaking in Spanish. It was a pleasant surprise. Not that I fully understood what “Nuestra presentacion especial comenzara en breve. Pero antes un mensaje de nuestros auspiciadores” meant. At least the narration was not that foreign to me, compares to the first time I heard the album in 1995.