Last Thursday was rough because I was feeling very frustrated. At times, I feel so behind the other students in my class, becase am not used to having six hours of Euskera instruction every day. I know it´s not good to compare yourself to others, but I do. And I was trying so hard to understand, and I was just NOT understanding. (I think it had a lot to do with me being upset. I would get frustrated about one thing, and then it would just build, one thing after another, until I couldn´t take it anymore. ) I want to know everything about Euskera. I want to be able to speak it fluently. I want it so bad I can taste it, but it isn´t going to come overnight.
After stepping back and evaluating what we´ve done here at this barnetegi, I realize that we accomplished in two weeks at Maizpide what it took us an entire semester to do at Boise State. We´ve already had 60 hours of Euskera instruction! 60 hours! Not counting breakfast, lunch, dinner, visits to the cafe and day to day interactions with people in the town of Lazkao. There is so much opportunity here to practice speaking and listening. Euskera is everywhere you go. The interactions with the bartender at the taberna, the clerk at the grocery store, those day to day events you don´t think about until you are so far away from the language you are used to. Even the directions to use the washing machine are in Euskera!
Sometimes I feel overwhelmed, like I´ll never know it all, I´ll never be able to read and understand the signs on the road, but as my instructors have told me time and again, pixkanaka, pixkanaka. Little by little it will come. And it´s true! This morning in class we were given article to read. It had some blank spots for us to fill with the correct word. The assignment was not only to fill in the blanks, but also to explain the content to our neighbor, who was given a different article. Now, usually assignments like this take me FOREVER. I stop and search for every little word I don´t recognize. But today was different, because I didn´t stop at every new word. I have learned that it is easier to make sense of something if you just read it through several times before trying to understand every little detail. Each time I read it, I understood a little bit more, and was able to figure some words out based on their context, rather than relying on the dictionary. Same goes with listening. When I just quiet my mind and let the words come it´s much easier on the brain. You walk away with a much smaller headache.
Today is Monday and I just finished my morning class (well, I missed the first one, because our alarm clock failed to go off, so we slept through the first bus ride out of Bilbao). Anyway, I am here, well fed, and ready to learn! Lunch was great today 🙂 a stew with potatoes and beef…mmmm. That´s one thing I´m really going to miss about this place. The food. And the good times we have while eating. We all just sit around and speak Basque to eachother. Well, really I just butcher it, but the butchering has decreased since I first arrived.