In terms of the “just go” experiment, I can’t say I’m doing poorly. My most recent survey has revealed that I entertain 31 students over something like 22-25 hours per week. That’s running on almost no plan, coming here fresh and unknown to a 17,000-person town. The phone is still ringing from anonymous numbers, people looking for “huecos” (gaps in my schedule) and by now I’ve passed off several students to other Americans as I can’t possibly field another failing Spanish teenager. In essence I’m making what I did in the US in just over half the man-hours in a country where unemployment for my age range hovers around 40%. The weeks fly by.
My Spanish, which was also rudimentary on my arrival, has since grown and improved steadily. I can hold conversations with anyone about any topic which might come up on an average day, from global/national issues to the day’s weather (an absurdly popular topic here). I have failed to study earnestly, and so am behind my goal of not reading and writing Spanish like a child. Also, I make regular mistakes in conversation but nothing which bars my meaning from coming across. In the interest of keeping it polished I’m thinking of turning to old lucha libre films and/or original literature and SpanishDict.com for support. Maybe South America comes after Thailand for us, so I’d like not to land there green as I was that October day in Madrid.