It was Herman Melville who once said, “We become sad in the first place because we have nothing stirring to do.” Perhaps my present general discontent with my existence stems from a complete and utter lack of language education. For six consecutive years of my life, I was in Spanish class every day; I studied to the point of fluency. For one wonderful year of my life, I was in daily French and Spanish classes with two wonderful instructors whom I enjoyed endlessly.
Now that I am fluent in Spanish, one of my biggest fears is losing my Spanish through nonuse. As with many things in life, it is difficult to attain but painfully easy to lose. Similarly, I consider myself to be conversant in French; I only studied it for two years however I was able to augment classroom instruction with my own personal studies to rise above the curriculum. I purchased several Portuguese instruction books during the winter but have generally fallen away from my Portuguese studies because I have been so busy. My forthcoming trip to Italy presents a wonderful opportunity to jam as much Italian into my brain as possibly in the next eleven months.
In short, I have a lot of language to maintain and no real methods by which to maintain. I do a lot of reading in Spanish but not a lot of speaking/writing. I had a Spanish pen pal several years ago, perhaps it is time to re-examine that opportunity? I don’t yet consider myself adequately versed in French to have an intelligent conversation or make any sort of contributions to the Francophone world but I have been plowing through Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot series which is peppered with just enough French that I feel linguistically stimulated.
As for the Portuguese and Italian? Perhaps I would be better off waiting until I can take some classes in the fall. Either way, I am excitedly passionate about picking up both languages. It will happen in due time.