Trying new things is hard

At the start of the month I shared that Sheila and I would be traveling to Spain this summer – We are both so excited about it and I have gone all in on trying to learn to speak and understand spanish.

How? Multiple ways.

1. I am using the duolingo app every night before bed

2. We have the TV on Spanish with English subtitles.

 3. The duolingo podcast – I am not a huge podcast fan, but these are great. Short, quick, real stories. The story is told in spanish while the host interjects and gives context. I have been doing this during my time in the car and while I am not sure it is helping yet, I hope it will and in the process I get to learn about other cultures, which I love.

4. Starting on Sunday we will be trying our best to speak ONLY spanish when we are in the house. This is something I have actually wanted to do for a long time so Sheila could stay fresh on her Spanish. I see this as win win. She refreshes… I learn.

I am not even at a rudimentary understanding of the language. My constant errors on dualingo prove this and it frustrates me beyond belief.  Memorizing vocabulary has been challenging and especially figuring out the way the language works has challenged me.

New things can be hard – I was speaking with my friend Jeff the other day about how hard it is for folks to want to learn new tech. I lamented that I could not figure out the formula needed to get a program to run a task…. Then I lamented about how others are even worse than me. His response really hit home.

“We all train in ways that lower friction in certain paths.  In my head, there’s great joy in the fact that different people sand different paths.  The sadness comes in people that are unwilling to periodically take the road less travelled.  One of my unuseful goals I have each year is to reduce my own rejoicing in ignorance.  For example, it’s okay for “not knowing current sports” to not be a priority, but it isn’t okay to be proud of that lack of knowledge.”

I sat on that sentence for about a week now. It has helped me in the frustrations of not being great at speaking a new language. Sheila loves language. She is incredible at learning and retaining these things. It would be so easy for  me to give up, and let her translate our way around situations.

I want more though, and that means getting uncomfortable. We work with many spanish speaking youth. We want to eventually travel to places like Costa Rica – Peru – Ecuador – Panama.

The thought of the “ugly american” in Europe demanding someone to speak english or the “stupid gringo” in central american speaking loudly (because that helps) and adding an o to verbs thinking it makes it spanish or helps anyone understand them, bothers me enough about others to want to be better.

Yet the conversation with Jeff spurred me to really push hard to do this. I just think it matters. It got me thinking about a lot of things we don’t try and how our defense it to laugh about it and move along.

Our friend Jen just wrote about this yesterday

Our friend Scott wrote about it after tackling a 120 mile race in Florida.

We are surrounded by people who try new and challenging things. I am certain each and every one of them faced the moment when it would have been easier to quit than to move on. Easier to be comfortable than uncomfortable.

I am thankful for people like this who inspire us to try new things.

So there ya go, from now on si hablas español, practica conmigo.



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