P: What was the thing that surprised you most about this experience?
A: Other than hearing you speak English for the first time right now? *laughs*
You make connections between things that we went over in class and then you go to the museum, “oh that’s what that is”, or you go, uh, downtown and “oh, that’s what that is” or you see “oh that’s the dance we were talking about? You know, it was like reading a text book, but live. *laughs*
In the classroom you get used to the tone of someone’s voice, their gestures, their manner of speaking and in school everyone tends to enunciate and speak slower and then you go out in the street and you ask someone a question and you’re just like “what?”, you feel like “oh my god, were they speaking Spanish cuz it didn’t sound like any Spanish that I knew”, so that was definitely a challenge.
It’s just a different kind of people that live here, and even the ones I couldn’t understand, you know, still super nice. I think they knew I couldn’t understand. It’s just, they… it helped take away some of that fear of taking the first step. While at the same time I built my ability to listen and comprehend and get my brain and my mouth to dance together. *laughs*
So I get impatient with myself too, so it’s nice to have that energy and be able to absorb some of that. And it takes some of that fear away as well. And between the staff here and my family who’s been above and beyond the call of duty, um it’s just been an amazing experience.