Mi nombre es

When I started to learn Spanish, it wasn’t by choice. I was in the third grade at a school in Colorado and once a week, my class and I would all march down to the Spanish room to endure an hour of learning the basics.

I hated it so much, to the point where I would pretend to be sick just to avoid that hour of torture. I wasn’t good at it and I think that’s why I hated it. As a little girl who strove for excellence in everything, Spanish holding me back was unthinkable, unacceptable and unappreciated.

Thankfully, the program was cut the following year and shortly after that I moved to Plano where I was overjoyed to learn they didn’t teach Spanish in elementary school. It seemed there would be no more Spanish in my future. At least until seventh grade, when my parents forced me into Spanish I.

The work was so pointless. We spent the class period constantly memorizing an endless stream of new words and I just sat there, in my seat paralyzed. It all went over my head. I was so awful I didn’t even know how to ask to sharpen my pencil, let alone go to the bathroom to escape my misery.

I’ll admit, part of my horrid skill might have been the fact that I couldn’t see the board. I spent the class doing my math homework. I never bothered to learn the words. But the reasons for my failure didn’t matter to me. I had never had to study for anything and I wasn’t about to start.

In eighth grade, I had a change of heart. I got better. In fact, I got really great. I wasn’t the star of the class but I wasn’t the chump of the class anymore either.

Learning anything is difficult. It takes work and effort and an actual desire to get better at something. For me that first year of Spanish, stumbling over unfamiliar words and writing them out fifty times each, wasn’t worth it. But still I stumbled and recited the words and somehow managed to retain enough information to continue to the next level.

Learning is a part of our everyday lives. Even just sitting in Spanish class stubbornly refusing to try, I still learned something. I still gained a basic understanding of the language.

I was too proud to accept I was not good at something. In some ways, I still am. I just needed to grow up a little to see I couldn’t be great at everything.