Mother Tongues & Childhood Dreams


It’s been officially two weeks of studying abroad in Madrid, Spain. The first week started off a bit rough as I mentally processed that I’m here among other things. It was a week of trial and error, attempting to find the best method for balancing school and social life. But I’ve come to realize what I needed the most was time alone which I’ll dive into in my next post.

As the start of the second week rolled in, I started to process the fact that I’m here. None of this is in fact a lucid dream. I’m actively listening, writing, talking, and seeing Spanish. My host family’s knowledge of English is slim to none. As I expected and hoped it to be, I have no other option except to communicate in Spanish. I’m so happy to get back to this.

Growing up, I was raised in a bilingual household but it started off with Spanish-only. It’d been the only language my parents really knew. The same applied for me until I started attending school. I attended bilingual classes mixed with native and non-native Spanish speakers. Some knew it by heart while others stumbled over their words.

It wasn’t until high school that I was exposed to Castilian Spanish. Around the same time, I started dreaming about studying abroad. I vividly remember watching Danielle Jordan’s study abroad videos. I started thinking about studying abroad but there had been no history of that. Not within family or friends that I was aware of. It was a dream that I kept inside my head. Which says a lot considering how much of a talker I am.

As I started attending community college, studying abroad seemed more attainable. My study abroad program is a month long which isn’t too much or too little time. The FEA Breakout Scholarship being one of the many contributors to making all of this possible.

Now years later, I’m in Spanish 201, an intermediate Spanish class. We’re all in the same class yet we’re all at different levels. Spanish is the mother tongue of some, for others it’s not. But as far as I know, Castilian Spanish is relatively new for all of us. Maybe the closest exposure we’ve gotten is watching ELITE or listening to ROSALÍA. It’s a learning experience that differs for each one.

As for me, I’m still writing new vocabulary from Spanish-speaking films and shows like Las Chicas del Cable. It’s an old study technique that I carry with me here. I’m able to listen and write in Spanish. Doesn’t get mentally-draining either.

On top of that, I’ve grown more confident in my Spanish-speaking skills which is the part that I felt I lacked in. Just the other day, I presented on the Museo del Romanticismo, concept of Menú del Día, and the Autocine Madrid Fever. I felt so proud of myself for being confident as I spoke out loud. By the end of it, I realized I wasn’t as bad as I originally thought. I guess I’ve come to further learn that personal expectations and insecurities can be the roadblocks hindering me from pursuing or even dreaming opportunities. It’s really up to me where I go from here. What I expect or want vs what I think and do.

Well here’s the end of blog posts but I wanted to say thank you to my family and friends. Not only for kind words but simply being there. It gives me comfort knowing that you’re still there. I can’t wait to come back to all of you. Finally, I’d like to thank my younger self. The fiery passion and strong will from them still lives inside me. I’m doing this for you and now me.