In the past, I have once shared with you two things I wanna try learning: 1) To learn to speak Spanish, and 2) To learn Philippine sign language. After years trying to pave the way for me to try out something new to me, the language gods have answered my prayers and I finally get to study Spanish this November.
This is not going to be the first time I’ll be learning Spanish. Back in the fifth grade, I took up weekly classes of basic school-level Spanish and that lasted for nearly a whole year. Whgile I did not become a fluent Spanish speaker right out of the gate, I did manage to learn a couple of basic phrases and greetings that I still remember to this day. I also have a good hold of how certain words or letters are pronounced so it wasn’t difficult for me to read Spanish texts 70% of the time, especially every October whenever me and my high school classmates had to a sing an entire church hymn in Spanish at the end of a novena (“Adios, reina del cielo…Madre, madre del salvador!“).
Now, my curiosity to learn Spanish became a bit more evident in college when Instituto Cervantes, a global Spanish-language institution that is locally based in Ermita, Manila, had a literay campaign in cooperation with the Light Rail Transit Authority (LRTA) where they would have this signages inside LRT-1 trains containing short poems written in Spanish and translated in Filipino. The Instituto was offering Spanish language classes for those who want to learn it so that gave me a bit of motivation on trying to get myself enrolled into one.
But because I was still in school, I never found a way to make this happen. What’s unfortunate is that while my school does offer Spanish for certain degree programs, it is not, however, offered as a supplemental course as part of the curriculum of the degree I was pursuing.
Right after finishing college, I went on a job hunt so I could really practice my craft and save up along the way. I landed on my first job in 2012 and my salary at the time was sufficient for me to take up Spanish classes at the Instituto. Unfortunately, the nature of my job, where I am on-call for certain events including weekends, shot down that possibility. I moved to another job where my weekends have finally freed up. The downside was that I had a shifting working schedule that overlaps to Saturday mornings every now and then which prevented me yet again from enrolling.
For a time, I was basically unemployed but I actually have saved enough money to finally get the ball rolling on that beginner’s class. But my dad was discouraging me from doing so (likewise on taking up sign language lessons) as he had this belief that I would be better of learning skills that are more useful and “practical”, which I took offence (as he never approved of the course I took in college).
Despite the discouraging remarks, I did have that wanting desire to ultimately enroll into a class but if I’m gonna do this, it had to go beyond the beginner’s course as I don’t think my savings at the time would help sustain my education long-term so I delayed that prospect until I finally gotten myself a job.
An opportunity realized
And then last year happened where I found myself a job of which I happily still have for more than a year now. A few months ago, I was transfered from Quezon City to Makati so I no longer have a shifting job nor do I have to go to work during Saturdays. That’s when I had that realization that I can NOW enroll myself into the Instituto. It helps that the Instituto is now located just a few blocks from where I work (it left its old home in Ermita recently) so a couple of weeks ago, I went there and enrolled myself into a class that is due to begin this November.
The moment I was handled my matrikula, that’s when I realized that I’m actually doing this.
I even wonder myself why I went through all the trouble on doing this in the first place. All I can say to myself is that, I guess I always want to try something new, to challenge me as a person, and to become a better version of myself in the process.
I can see potential in trying to learn and master a new language, opening up new opportunities that would be beneficial to my career if I ever want to work in a country that only speaks Spanish or or be part of an industry where such a language is an advantage to have.
But all in all, I wanna learn Spanish because I wanna speak it the same way I speak English as a second language, a language I never always use in everyday conversations but is a handy tool when it is needed (like writing a blog entry like this one for starters, hehe).
Where do I go from here
I’m thinking of recording my progress by blogging about this and possible even doing a series of video logs on my Youtube channel. That’s gonna take some work but if I am serious about it, blogging would help keep me motivated through the ups and downs as I go into this journey.
If ever I decide to not take up advance classes beyond the 10-week beginner’s classes I enrolled myself to in the Instituto, I found online resource alternatives that otherwise were not available at the time my interest to study Spanish began so I’m glad about that.
It’s still early days though so I hguess we just have to see how I’ll fare in these ten weeks of learning castellano/Kastila.