el subjuntivo

Among the most important knowledge I have built during my studies in Chile is that of Spanish grammar. As a native English speaker hoping to teach Spanish, my understanding of grammar is of utmost importance. That’s where the real work of teaching or learning a second language is—vocabulary can be memorized, but grammar has to be understood.

One aspect of Spanish grammar that has challenged me as long as I’ve studied the language is the subjunctive mood. It’s not something often discussed outside of language classrooms, because it’s difficult to express exactly what it is or why it’s a necessary part of some sentences. Even Spanish speakers who use it regularly are often at a loss if asked to explain it; they rely on their implicit (unconscious) knowledge of their native language.

English also has a subjunctive mood, but it’s not common. We see it in this sentence: “The company requires that you be first-aid certified.” Notice how the second verb (the one in the subordinate clause) has changed its form. It would be ungrammatical in many other contexts to say “you be first-aid certified,” at least in most English dialects.

So in certain sentences with subordinate clauses, the verb in the subordinate clause takes a different form. This is the subjunctive. Contrary to what some students and teachers of Spanish may tell you, the subjunctive is not a verbal tense, but a verbal mood. It’s a different property independent of tense. The mood used in the majority of Spanish sentences, and virtually all those in English, is the indicative mood. In English the subjunctive form is just the verb’s infinitive. Spanish, in contrast, has a whole different set of subjunctive conjugations to be learned

For my fellow students/potential teachers of Spanish, I assure you there is hope. My understanding of this challenging aspect of Spanish grammar really clicked after we discussed it in my grammar class. I began to notice it more in spoken Spanish, and now I actually feel fairly confident using it (and much more aware of which sentences require it). In addition to this encouragement, I offer these resources, which I have helped me in my study of the subjunctive and Spanish in general:

  • WordReference is my favorite online Spanish-English dictionary. Among its many useful features is a verb conjugator that gives all the forms of a verb, including the subjunctive of every tense. It’s available on the website, as a free app (for iOS or Android), and as a browser extension (for Chrome or Firefox).
  • Verbix is another useful conjugation tool. It can conjugate English verbs, one of the few things WordReference won’t do.
  • Linguee is a different dictionary website. It doesn’t conjugate verbs, but it lets you see words in context, giving examples in official documents that have been translated into both languages.
  • This song, which my professor played for our class, has many examples of the subjunctive in Spanish being used with the expression “Ojalá.” (Listen in better quality on Spotify.)

¡Espero que puedas entender el subjuntivo!

Umeshiba?

“Umeshiba?” I asked little George, in Swahili. (“Are you full?”)

He looked up at me lazily. He is mentally disabled, and he cannot feed himself. His bib has some food on it, but not too much. Some of the children I fed smiled. Others stare blankly. But  after each feeding session, the bowl is demolished, the spoon licked clean.

“Umeshiba?” I ask again, tickling his protruding bellies.

Sometimes that’s the best question you can ask a child in Kenya.

Earlier we went to Mother Theresa’s Home in Huruma (a slum in Nairobi). My director told us to “look for Jesus” in the people we interact with. I saw Jesus in the eyes of Marine and Christine and Moses and little Georgiana. I saw Jesus in the workers and the Sister nuns who devote their lives to this ministry of taking care of the “least of these.” I saw Jesus in Hailey, who made the children balloon hats; and Kelsey, who cuddled the smallest child, who could barely sit up in her crib. I saw Jesus in Jennifer, who began dancing and singing, doing her best to cheer up even the most non-responsive child sitting drowsily in her chair. I saw Jesus in their tiny fingers and smiles and in each kiss on the head. My director said that the human spirit transcends the cerebral cortex, and I couldn’t have put in a better way. Even the simplest reaction communicates that there is someone there, a human spirit, inside. These kids, although limited in many ways, still can experience love, compassion and provision, even if they do not respond in the cosignatory way we expect.

I don’t mean to sound romantic about it. After all, they are orphans. They are helpless. Some have literally been thrown away in trash sacks, are found by police, and handed over to the Sisters. These are what the Bible calls the “least of these.” But it’s not God’s fault. We must realize that we humans do this to one another. As Mother Theresa said, “God does not create poverty. It was created by you and I because we don’t share.”

And just a personal note, orphanages are close to my heart, because I was abandoned as a newborn. I lived in an orphanage, tied to a high chair, until my adoptive family welcomed me into their new family and into a new life. I don’t pretend to understand what these kids have gone through, but I see the redemptive element to their story.

Even though there is brokenness and sorrow in their stories, there is sacrificial light that shines brighter. From my perspective, these children see the best of humanity. They have been shown great injustice in this world. But they also have been shown great mercy and grace by the individuals who take care of them, the individuals who do “small things with great love for God.”

Behind the walls of Mother Theresa, they experience a good quality of life, one that their senses can enjoy. They enjoy tickles. They enjoy their names being called. They love bubbles. They have simple books and learning materials. The children at the Mother Theresa’s home in Haruma are able to achieve their fullest potential, which is more than many of the children running around the slum of Haruma can ask for.

This work of feeding disabled children, laundering piles of sheets, providing 24-hr medical treatment for mentally disabled children and women is not glamorous work, but it is beautiful work. The love they experience isn’t fuzzy. Most are tied to chairs so they can’t hurt themselves. Some have to be force fed so they have enough nutrition in their little bodies. The workers don’t have the time to be constantly swatting the flies away from their tiny eyes and mouths. The love isn’t fuzzy, but it’s raw, and it’s real, and that’s what makes it beautiful to me.

Lessons that I’ve learned at Mother Theresa’s? Do a thankless job, out of love, not for affirmation. Devote time and energy consistently, and commit to those that you vow to help. I’m not sure yet in which capacity that I will help the “least of these,” but I long to find my “Calcutta”–the place of ministry that is dear to my heart and that I am passionate about; a place that even if it’s hard, it feels like it’s home–like Mother Theresa did long ago. The Mother Theresa children’s home is a little piece of heaven among all the chaos of the slum suffering; it extends compassion to those who are hurting. Maybe this sounds romantic. It’s better– it’s rubbing dirty fingers and kissing tiny heads and rubbing swollen bellies.

(The Mother Theresa quotes are taken from a book called Finding Calcutta by Mary Poplin.)

 

 

 

 

Feminism in Kenya?

During my 7-weeks, I began asking Kenyan women this question: “What does it mean to be a woman?”

Women replied boldly: “Women are the soul of the family.”

“Women hold things together when everything is breaking.”

“Women are a pillar, men don’t do anything.”

One man even said, “Women are everything.”

With these bold statements, however, they also described the innumerable responsibilities they had in their homes. As traditional roles of homemakers, Kenyan women were responsible for all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, raising children, managing shops/small businesses, harvesting food, shopping, church activities, etc. Implications for these responsibilities? Some younger, unmarried women told me they are taught to believe that if there’s a problem in the home, it’s the wives fault, never the husbands. If the kids have bad values, it reflects poorly on the mother. If the kids are spoiled, it’s the woman to blame. When I asked what the man’s role was in the home, one Kenyan said, “to live on the women.”

The Kenyan women I met have immense pressure placed on them by these gender roles, but something that struck me was that they would describe their responsibilities, never their rights. They never complained, but assumed their gender roles with dignity. They unashamedly make bold feminist claims like “Women are strong! Women can do anything!” because they can back up those claims as married/single/divorced women who play major and vital roles in their homes and communities and churches. The Kenyan women I spoke to found their identity primarily in their families, as many in collectivist societies tend to do. Many people in western-culture find their identity in their jobs or careers. I think it’s easy for Americans to do that because ideally your career celebrates you as an individual–your interest, your passion, your skill set–and therefore, a fulfilling career is an extension of yourself. 

I personally find such rigid gender roles distasteful, but I respect the Kenyan women I met who performed those roles faithfully. They were strong, amazing women. They did everything, and they knew it. Even the single moms didn’t blame the men who failed them; they were still faithful to their families, put their kids first, and lived sacrificially. They demonstrated that to be a woman, from a Kenyan perspective, means to be sacrificial, community-minded, responsible, and serving.

 

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Imago Dei in the Slums of Mathare

What does it mean to be made in the image of God?

Genesis 1:27 says “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

It’s a powerful idea. One interpretation that I appreciate is that to be made in the image of God means to be creative; essentially, we reflect his image by being creative. We make things. We think of new uses and new ways. We redefine and reinterpret.

My team went to Mathare Valley today, one of the oldest and biggest slums in Nairobi. We are told that 70% of Nairobi’s population lives on 5% of it’s land area. There, we saw people picking through trash, looking for things to sell or things to eat. It’s not that they can’t create, or are not creative people, but they have no means to create. They are focused on merely surviving. Four-year-old children are sent from their little metal homes to search for a meal for the day–they were made in the image of God, yet scavenge around in trash for food. Some mothers give their children beer, because it makes them feel full and sleepy, and it stops them from crying for food. The crime of the slums, as one staff put it, is that in the fight for survival, people in the slum cannot create, make or dream. They were made in the image of God, yet they scavenge around in piles of trash. Even 4-year olds are sent to the street to find something to eat for the day. Some children sleep on a chair. Some children believe that it’s okay to hit girls. Some 13-, 14-, 15-year old boys will be dead in the next month because of gang run-ins with the police.

Our director said, “Children grow up believing that the world looks this way, that the world smells this way (garbage), that the world feels this way (abuse, beating). They cannot climb the ladder because they cannot even get on the ladder.” As victims of violence, abuse, neglect, or abandonment, they cannot even touch the ladder.

In Meru Country, the place I spent 3 weeks with a host family, many people pick tea leaves everyday. It’s hard work, but it puts food on the table. Most people in Weru (the town I was in) don’t have running water or electricity, but they have a mosquito nets and their gardens and some have a cow for fresh milk. They’re working, they have some means. Many people would say that they are in poverty, but it’s enough.There is a drastic difference between Weru folk who have work, and those in the slum picking through trash. My standards of poverty have definitely shifted.

(I’m actually back from my experience in Kenya, but I kept a daily journal and I also posted email updates for my friends, family and donors. I wasn’t able to access this media website in Kenya, so here are my blog posts.)

estadounidense

I’ve heard that studying abroad changes one’s relationship to their native culture and home country. But I didn’t expect for that to be such a prominent part of my experience in Chile. My relationships to the United States and to my own identity as being from that country have shifted significantly during my first experience living in another country.

For instance, I’ve been irritated for years by the fact that the English language doesn’t have an adjective signifying “from the United States of America” that could not also be interpreted to mean “from any part of North or South America.” Over time, the usage of the word “American” for that purpose seemed more and more acceptable to me (as in American values, American cinema, American military, American imperialism, etc.) Over time, I accepted that the alternatives I thought more appropriate (the most promising among them the noun “United Stater”) were extremely unlikely to be accepted into common use, and all but forgot about the matter.

In Spanish 201, I learned a Spanish word that distinguishes between U.S. American and the more general meaning of American: “estadounidense,” which comes from the name of the USA in Spanish: “Estados Unidos de América.” The cognate “americano” is understood as referencing the United States in most contexts, but I made the deliberate choice to use “estadounidense” to refer to my national identity while in Chile. Especially after talking to some Chileans about the subject, it seems inaccurate and disrespectful to speak in such a way that claims the only Americans (o americanos, si se habla español) are those that come from the US.

This is one of many ways I’ve become more aware of the United States as a global influence—in many cases, a negative one. I’ve become uncomfortably aware of the aggressive exportation of US culture abroad: many fast food restaurants that originated in the US can now be found in the majority of nations in the world, along with the health problems their food tends to exacerbate. Holidays are another type of cultural icon US companies push on other parts of the world. My Chilean family doesn’t celebrate Halloween, but by their own account, they are among few that do not partake. When I listen to Chilean radio stations, I hear chart-toppers from the US just as often (if not slightly more) as music in Spanish.

The general trend seems to be that culture from the United States takes root elsewhere in the world because it can be bought and sold and someone (most likely a corporation from the US) makes a profit. For the first time, I can see firsthand how my home country affects the rest of the world, culturally and economically, and there are many negative aspects that can’t easily be seen from within our United States.

At the same time, I’ve become aware of positive aspects of my own culture and nation in ways I wasn’t before I traveled internationally. From the Chileans’ admiration for artists from the United States, especially those associated with the ’60s counterculture; or inventors from the US, like the Wright Brothers or Steve Jobs, I’ve gleaned a new image of my nation. As a country, we stand for diversity and innovation. Ours was the society that brought the world the electric guitar, the Internet, and sent human beings to the Moon… I’ve reaffirmed the US-American values I do identify with, even as I critique other aspects of my country’s legacy.

I know I’ll return from Chile with a different answer to the question, “What does it mean to be from the United States?” as well as to the question “What does it mean to be an American?”

For the first time, I think of those as two separate identities.

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Dear Princeton, Accept me as your graduate student. Sincerely, A Young Astrophysicist.

I am spreading my wings professionally and socially. I have met so many new people and learned so much. I have been working on my galaxy project still but trying to balance it with tours of the East Coast. I went to Philadelphia for a concert with the KONGOS and Strumbellas, building life long relationships with people from all different scientific fields. I have gone above and beyond what I thought I would accomplish via networking this summer. I went to Yorktown Heights to visit IBM and learn about their condensed matter physics. The photo below shows one of the condensed matter labs.Photo Jun 30, 3 33 19 PM

We toured Princeton and saw Einstein’s house. I was able to see the Physics and Astrophysics buildings on the campus. Below are photos of me at Princeton. The three in the photo in front of Einstein’s house are physics majors from other universities, also participating in the Research Experience for Undergraduates this summer at Rutgers. I left the campus with goals of being a graduate student there in the fall of 2017.

For the 4th of July, we all went to the beach to unwind. It is safe to say I am making lifetime friendships. It is wonderful to see what happens when you make 40 scientists live, work, and play together for a summer. We are all from different fields, yet we all get along tremendously and have spent the summer talking about life and science. Photo Jul 04, 8 19 51 PM

I will end this post on yet another high note. I have been offered a Teaching Assistant for the Fall Semester ASTR 362: Observational Astronomy course with my research advisor at UM. I will be happily helping to shape 13 minds. I will get to teach them Python, observing, and how to produce a great scientific paper. This was my favorite course my Sophomore year at the University, and now to get to teach it makes me beyond happy. I only have a few more weeks at my REU, and I have a feeling I will be leaving it with a longing to come back to the East Coast and to see my new found friends again.

“The Argentinian Melting Pot”

While abroad, our group is taking two classes at the University of Belgrano with two professors there.  One of our classes is related to culture of Latin America and within Argentina specifically.  Another aspect of discrimination she had discussed with us was the way that Argentinians behave around all the foreigners that live around them in the city.  There is a large population of Chinese who own many of the supermarkets, a lot of Italian influence, and also a neighborhood named after the amount of Jewish people that have immigrated to the area.  She spent a class discussing how these different cultures are referred to by many as slang terms like Chinos or Jews.

As we’ve spent much time in all different parts of the city, these areas of certainly distinct and carry their own value within the culture of Buenos Aires and even Argentina.  These areas are unique to the city with the kinds of foods that are sold, the people that live there, the way the neighborhood is designed, and sometimes even the language spoken within the corners of the streets.  These districts have their own identity and after hearing about these areas from locals like our host families, discrimination can and is present among fellow Argentinians with different original backgrounds.

I think because of what I have learned from my host family and around the city, I am becoming more interested in the idea of discrimination between groups that may not necessarily be “indigenous,” but rather groups that are considered “minorities” within such a large city.  This other aspect of discrimination is something I never thought about before arriving abroad, but I think it is another important part of racism and discrimination within places that contain more than one different culture.  We like to the think of the United States as “The Melting Pot,” but while abroad, my eyes were definitely opened to how much influence all countries have on one another and the kind of changes they create.

When thinking about my final project, I am wondering if there is a way I am able to combine some of my ideas with what I have experienced.  With three weeks left in the semester and in Argentina, I’m hoping to visit more distinct neighborhoods to learn more about the diversity of Buenos Aires and all that it has to offer.

 

 

Thoughts…

I have been in Spain now for about 10 months, and things are finally beginning to wind down as the end of my study abroad draws nearer. Exams are over (phew!) and most of the other international students are leaving sunny Málaga to return to their home countries and continue with their normal lives. I, however, have extended my stay until the middle of August, which leaves me with a fair amount of time on my own, as most of the people I have come to know are already gone. The thought of returning home is bittersweet for me…I love it here. This year has been a whirlwind adventure of travel, new people, new experiences, etc. Not all of it has been great, of course. But these are the things you learn from the most. But I also long for the mountains, nature, and the freedom of Montana. What they say is true–you never really know what you have until it’s gone.

I really feel like I have changed as a person over the course of my study abroad here. Arriving as one of the only Americans studying at the University of Málaga, I was forced so far out of my comfort zone. I consider myself an introvert and I have never been extremely outgoing nor exceedingly social. But being thrust into an entirely new society and culture surrounded by people I didn’t know really doesn’t give you the option of sticking to old habits. And I am so thankful for this. I made lifelong friends with people from all over the world, learned new languages, and truly gained a more broadened and global perspective on things. Not to mention the level of independence I feel I have acquired here. I came to Spain 19 years old and a little intimidated as I didn’t know anybody studying in the same city as me! The longest I had gone without seeing my family was about 5 months in high school when I participated in an exchange program in Argentina, but even then I was living with a host family. This was something entirely different. I found myself a flat with a few other international students, opened a bank account, and got myself a phone contract. These things may seem insignificant, but they are things I never had to do on my own before. I was truly living on my own and supporting myself for the first time (not counting the dorms) and in a foreign country! Not having a car was rough for the first couple of weeks, but I soon worked out how to navigate the bus and metro system. I think the thing that really made me feel like I was becoming my own person, though, was the travel I did. I took trips all over Europe (and technically Africa) on my own or with friends. I visited Gibraltar, Morocco, Sweden, Portugal, England, Scotland, and countless cities all over Spain. My favorite, however, had to be the England and Scotland trip, as I went completely alone. I was a little scared to travel alone, but I am so glad I did. It was so liberating! I planned my trip according to my interests, I could do things at my own pace, eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and it gave me the opportunity to meet new people and do things that I would not likely have done had I been traveling with others. My favorite memory has to be of the night I met a Scottish guy staying in my hostel in the highlands and we ended up going to hear some traditional Scottish music. It turned out to be one of the best nights of the whole trip, and it was spent with complete strangers! I definitely recommend solo travel to anyone and I will be going again for sure! I think it is incredibly beneficial and everyone should try it at least once in their lives.

Over the next month and a half I will be mostly alone, something that made me a little uneasy before, but now I know that I can make the most of my short time left here in this wonderful country! Ya falta poco.

Hasta luego,

Annalea

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Kia Ora!

Kia Ora! (Hello!)

Ko Rehana tōku ingoa. He tauira o te whare wānanga o te ūpoko o te ika a Māui. Kei te pēhea koe? (My name is Rehana. I am a student at Victoria University. How are you?)

Te reo Māori may seem like a strange thing to learn while studying abroad, but I found it incredibly useful–especially when taking a Māori culture and society class alongside it!

The Māori language was an oral language before missionaries started creating a writing system in their schools in the early 1800s. Kaumātua (elders) passed down their knowledge and traditions with stories about the atua (gods) like Māui who fished up the North Island with his hook, or Ranginui (Sky Father) and Papatūānuku (Earth Mother.) These myths shape the worldview in Māori culture and also provided examples for what is tikanga (the right way.)



Some of the coolest experiences I had in my Māori classes were at the Te Herenga Waka Marae. A Marae served as a communal space to celebrate the Māori culture and language and can be used for religious and social events. My Māori 123 Class (Culture and Society) had the opportunity to participate in a Pōwhiri, basically a welcoming ceremony for guests onto the Marae. My lecturer responded to the tangata whenua (people of the land, the hosts of the Marae) Karanga calls. Then we listened to the whaikōrero (speeches) and waiata (songs) before proceeding to the Hongi greeting where two people close their eyes and press their noses together to share the “breath of life” (coming from the myth where Tāne, the forest god, created Hineahuone out of clay.) I do apologize to anyone I headbutted during the Hongi!



A few weeks later I was back at the Marae for my Māori 101 (Language) class, where we would stand up and recite, from memory, our mihimihi to the Marae. A mihimihi is an introductory speech, starting with where you are from, including landmarks such as mountains and rivers, and then naming some of your family members before finally saying your name. In the Māori tradition, knowing where you’re from and who your relatives are was more helpful to figure out who a stranger was than simply learning their name.

My mihimihi went something like:

Nō Seattle ahau. Ko Rainier tōku maunga. Ko Sammamish tōku awa. Ko Yasser rāua ko Johanna ōku mātua…

Even the language has cultural significance. As you can see, I use ōku and tōku to describe possession of my parents, mountains and rivers. These are in the “o” category because they are important (elders, immovable landmarks, etc.) Also, nō Seattle ahau literally translates to “I belong to Seattle” rather than just “I am from Seattle.”

I am continuously surprised with the Māori language’s integration within Pākehā (Non-Māori, European Kiwi) New Zealand. It could be the simple “Kia Ora!” greeting on Air New Zealand flights, the Haka chant by the All Blacks, and the Māori half of the national anthem.

Bilingual signage is also common, such as Victoria University’s logo. In Māori, the school’s name is “Te whare wānanga o te ūpoko o te ika a Māui” which translates to “the school on the head of the fish of Māui”


As you can tell, Māui is a pretty important demigod here. Victoria Uni has a sculpture of his hei matau (fish hook) out in the main court yard. Pounamu (New Zealans jade) amulets with Māui’s hook are also common, said to give the wearer good luck and protection when traveling across water.


All of the Māori culture and language that I’ve experienced has been a treat. As student minoring in anthropology, I soaked up the new words and the cultural significance of the Haka or Pōwhiri, the difference between tapu and noa, the patterns of intricate jade and bone amulets that were worn by Māori and Pākeha alike.

But by taking classes at Vic, I learned this was hard earned and it’s still a process to protect and promote Māori culture and language. Language revitalization movements surged in the 1970s and 80s when Māori realized they were losing their language. More political activism followed, including the creation of the Waitangi Tribunal to deal with historic land claims and breaches of the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi with the Crown (a treaty with very different translations of sovereignty between the English and Māori versions.)

It’s not all stuffy academics, either. New Zealand also has Māori radio and Māori TV that was launched in 2004, and then a te reo channel in 2008 thanks to the Waitangi Trib declaring te reo a “taonga” or “sacred treasure” that is protected under Māori sovereignty in the Treaty of Waitangi.

As a journalism student, and someone hoping to get a career in media, this also fascinated me. Early Māori newspapers like Te Hokioi were important to communication and coordination of activism, and now modern media is continuing the fight to make sure Māori narratives stay on air.

So it all connects. Te reo and Māori history, history and language revitalization,  Māori and media representation…

If you’re ever planning on visiting New Zealand, of course go to Queenstown and bungy jump. Of course take a kayak for a spin out in Abel Tasman and go visit Hobbiton. But also take a moment to learn some Māori, take a moment to learn the main characters in their mythology and why the rituals are they way they are. You won’t regret it!

Ka kite! (See you later!)

La primera semana

I’ve only been in Chile for a week, and I’ve already learned so much.

One of the most important things I’ve learned (or realized) is how well I know the Spanish language. Before I left, friends cautioned me that Chileans speak very quickly, use words unique to their dialect, and sometimes don’t pronounce the ‘s’ sounds that end words. All of these factors tend to confuse foreigners, they told me. So I arrived in Chile worrying that I wouldn’t be able to understand anybody, I wouldn’t be able to say anything anyone would understand, et cetera.

All of those fears proved to be unfounded. Since arriving in Valparaíso, I’ve discovered new levels of competence: I’ve gotten to know my host family on a personal level, ordered food and drinks, asked for directions several times, and engaged in complex conversations about abstract topics. For example, the second day I was here I talked to my host mother about the environmental toxicity caused by lead and copper mining, which exists both in Butte, MT and some parts of Chile. It’s exciting and satisfying to apply my prior knowledge from three years of Spanish classes at UM in these real-world contexts.

Through this language learning by immersion, my understanding of Spanish grammar has developed significantly. I’ve observed a change in the way I mentally organize my knowledge of Spanish verb morphology.

In every class or educational software that I’ve encountered, Spanish verbs are taught in their tenses, in order of increasing complexity: first students learn to conjugate verbs in the present tense, then the two aspects of the past tense, and from there on to more tricky conjugations, like the present subjunctive or past perfect.

This is the way I’ve become accustomed to conceptualizing Spanish verbs. But after a week of speaking almost entirely in Spanish, I notice I tend to think of verb endings in groups based on person: first person conjugations I use to speak about myself, second person conjugations for asking about my conversation partner, first person plural conjugations to express something about me and my friends, and so on.

I imagine this is because in actual conversation, I’m far more likely to need to switch between thinking of different tenses within the same person, than to call to mind the different forms of a certain tense for different persons. This type of metacognitive learning will no doubt prove useful when I am teaching these grammatical and linguistic concepts one day.

This is just one particularly interesting thing I’ve noticed about the process of learning a language in an immersive environment. I’m sure that as I spend more time with Chileans, I will gain more insights into their language and culture.

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I took this right before landing at the airport in Santiago.

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A view of Valparaíso.