My Therapist Said…

I’ve been stressing out lately about things…. the wedding, living in Mexico, money, not having much independence… just general things in life. Every week myself and my husband go to a therapist and we just talk about stuff that makes me anxious and what I can do to improve my life. My husband comes to translate because although my therapist understands a lot of what I say, I don’t think his speaking is as good. I don’t mind because I tell my husband everything so he knows beforehand what we’re going to discuss.

One thing I’ve been stressing about is learning my Spanish every day. “Today you need to learn this Aisling…..Oh you still haven’t done it, you’re going to have to do extra tomorrow.”.

Tomorrow comes “Don’t forget you have extra to study today….you’re going to be way behind in everything and won’t learn anything”.

And yet I still don’t do it. So I pressure myself to learn this, do that, write this out, study this grammar, and then there’s just so much that I need to do that I end up abandoning everything.

Then I feel bad for not doing anything all day.

So my therapist was telling me maybe leave studying Spanish for a while and see how I get on. I do want to continue studying though, so he recommend that I to do it in a more fun way. So I’m going to try and do that.

He also advised me just to relax more and do more of what I enjoy. I don’t do many things because my bloody head is constantly thinking ‘You have to study, you have to study… study… study… STUDY!!!.’ So I feel I shouldn’t be watching videos on YouTube because I really should be studying instead.

But my therapist made sense, and from now on for the foreseeable future I’m just going to relax more, stop worrying about Spanish, and just do what I feel like doing. Do stuff that makes me happy.

When I want to and feel like studying then I’ll do it. I’m going to try and not get annoyed at myself if I don’t.

You know it’s just that I know I’m not very good at languages. I know it. I know I need to put pressure on myself. Just doing nothing isn’t going to make the language stick in my head. I’m definitely not gifted with languages that’s for sure. I don’t mind that. I just want to see that my efforts are creating results, and at the moment I just can’t see it. For the time I study and the effort I’m putting in, I’m just not seeing results. My husband says he can see I’m getting better at talking, but I just can’t. So it’s annoying. I’m determined to learn it. I know one day I will speak fluently, but just now it’s difficult.

So, for the time being I’m just going to take it easy, do what makes me happy, and not stress as much. And we’ll see what happens!

Aisling

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What’s the plan for 2019?

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Well, I don’t know 100% yet….. I’ve been thinking of a few goals that I want to achieve, so I hope I actually do achieve them.

-Learn Spanish. Next year is all about Spanish for me. Study Study Study. For me, this is the main goal of mine. I really want to be able to tick this one off!

-Exercise more. With my wedding only a few months away, I just want to look better and feel better in myself. I just want to be healthier.

–Find a job I like. I don’t even really know what I want to do in my life, even being aged 28. But I just want something that I’ll enjoy doing. I don’t want to wake up and begrudgingly have to go to a job that I don’t like.

-Save money. First I need a job, then I want to save some money. We have been spending our money on travelling rather than saving for the future. Which…. I really don’t think will help us much when we’re older. (and having no savings to actually live)

Of course I still wants LOADS more things, but I think for me these are the important things that I want to achieve. I’ve no idea what will happen next year for us; will we stay in Mexico? Move to Ireland/ Spain…even France could be an option for us. Yeah It’s great to have the option of moving to all these places, and I know that maybe if you have a child or have a stable job that you love, then it’s hard to just ‘move up and go’. But at the same time I would like to have that ‘this is where I’m going to live indefinitely’ feeling. I want to come home to my own house, watch television on my own tv, and have my own bedroom. I don’t particularly enjoy living out of a suitcase either.

Plus I’m 28 and I just feel like it’s time to start thinking of settling down.

So, we’ll see how 2019 turns out!

Aisling

 

 

Loving The VIP Cinema

We don’t usually go to the cinema very often, mainly due to the fact that many of the films don’t appeal to us, but because I was feeling down the past few days, we decided to go to the cinema to cheer me up. We wanted to see the new Wreck it Ralph film, but unfortunately it was only in Spanish. We kept looking and we found that the new Fantastic Beasts film was out, and in English, so we decided to go to that one!

We noticed however that this was only being shown in the VIP cinema, but we decided to go anyway, and experience it!

So we arrive and the VIP cinema was apart from the main one, and the employees had fancy suits on them and everything just looked expensive and fancy! We pay and then we look around the sitting area; theres a bar with beer, fancy seats, and it was just very posh compared to the normal cinema. We went ahead and bought popcorn, two drinks, nachos and cheese in the normal cinema, and then walked to the VIP which was right beside it. We didn’t know it at the time but if we had bought the food and drink in the VIP area, it would have been more expensive, so lucky us! We go into our room and I was shocked with the seats! They are huge! They are all grouped in two, so you can sit beside your friend etc.

We found our seats and I was surprised at how fancy it was. There was a light beside us, a moveable glass table to put things on, the seats can recline so much and you can relax with your feet up. There’s even a place to charge your phone! The middle part of the two seats can move out of the way so it becomes a sofa. It was so cool.

Then we see that there is a menu and you can press a small button and a waiter comes and takes your order from the menu they provide. They have all sorts; burgers, sushi, salads, desserts, beer. We didn’t order anything else but other people did while watching the film. The waiter would quietly come, take the order, then reappear with the food on a tray.

The seats were also really really comfy! I just loved the experience. These tickets were pretty much double the price of the normal cinema, but we don’t expect to do this much. Maybe once or twice a year maybe? I don’t think we have any of this in Ireland. (From what I know anyway, maybe in Dublin there might be).

But anyway, I really enjoyed the experience. The film was terrible by the way! If you love films that are supposed to be full of action but are instead just minutes and minutes of dialogue and about 4 actions scenes, then this is the film for you! I was actually pretty bored watching it, so I wouldn’t really recommend it, but…. being a VIP was good!

Aisling

A Mexican Birthday Party

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So one of my fiancés aunty just turned 70, so all her family and relatives were invited for a small party in one of my fiancés uncles restaurants. Now I’ve been to a few of these ‘gatherings’, and on a few occasions I really didn’t enjoy myself.

I’m not saying the people at these gatherings are terrible people, they are not at all! They are all just so nice, friendly and every single one of my fiancés relative are lovely people. I’m very lucky to be joining such a loving family. So it’s really not about the company.

My problem is that I can’t speak Spanish well enough to communicate. Well I can speak some Spanish, but I definitely cannot give my input on anything other than ‘What’s your favourite food’, ‘What did you do yesterday?’… etc.

I usually feel sad when I’m at these parties, just due to the fact that I can’t talk. I can’t join in. I can’t give my opinion on anything. So I usually just sit there, look around, and smile when there is a joke being shared. I just feel so uncomfortable. That’s why I usually get anxious going to these events.

So we arrived in Mexico city and we met everyone and thankfully I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all. I really enjoyed the day. Although I still didn’t understand pretty much anything, I wasn’t as anxious or stressed when I didn’t understand. I think this was due to the fact that there were about 20 people in the room. Usually I get more anxious when it’s a smaller group.

So I think thats what helped the situation a lot. The thing is I want to talk to people, I want to make jokes, I want to join in, I want people to see the real me, and not the one that just sits there and doesn’t do or say anything. My fiancés family don’t know what I’m like, and I really want to show them. So it’s difficult. I feel like they see my body but not my personality.

I suppose I want them to see ‘Look, this is who your nephew/cousin is going to marry…. sometimes she’s funny, she enjoys talking about this or that… she seems like a nice person, I know why Rafael is with her’.

I guess I just want to seem interesting, because when someone doesn’t speak your own language, it’s hard to get to know that person and find out what they are like. Then you kind of ignore the person because whatever you say to them they won’t understand, so you just keep away from them.

And I don’t want people to think that of me. I think my fiancés relatives are beginning to see what I’m like though. Most of them speak English so that helps ALOT! But you know, when they are together they just speak Spanish.

There are a few more gatherings (Mexican families LOVE family gatherings) so I hope they will go ok too. I just wish my Spanish was great, and I could blabber to all of them. Not perfect, but good enough that I can speak fluently, confidently and get my point across. That’s all I want for the moment.

It’s very frustrating… and these are the times when I really miss Ireland and being able to speak English to everyone.

Aisling.

Learning Spanish in Mexico: My Study Routine

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I’ve been in Mexico since October and I’ve tried to keep studying my Spanish and talking in Spanish as much as I can. But it’s hard sometimes!

Usually my daily routine goes like this:

In the morning I’d usually do 2 wheels from Duolingo. It’s not too taxing for me in the morning and I like seeing how my wheels change colour when I’ve studied them. I’m going down my tree turning every wheel one colour, so the whole tree will be green/blue….. Then I go back up to the top and start turning them another colour. It depends on the theme/ grammar point in each wheel, but usually 2 wheels will take me between 30-45 minutes to complete. (Especially the harder ones which are lower on the tree, also if I keep getting them wrong).

I also sometimes read some Duolingo Stories, but these are really when I’m in the mood. I don’t feel like they help me much for studying, but some stories are interesting to read. 

Then we usually have lunch and I try and speak Spanish, but usually I just eat in silence because I’m not particularly talkative even in English! But this is a good time for some listening practice, as my fiancé and his parents LOVE to talk, so that’s good for my listening! I know I need to work on this though, so I’ll try and make an extra effort in speaking during this time. 

I find that after lunch is the most difficult time to study. I’m tired (maybe due to lunch) and just want to take a nap really! So I end up usually just procrastinating during the hours of 2pm-4pm. So again, another thing I need to improve on. 

Later on in the afternoon I sort of get my energy back up again and I start studying grammar. I have one book called ‘Collins, easy learning; Spanish Grammar & Practice’ and it teaches basic spanish grammar. What I like to do is read every thing that I’ve studied before in the book, and then start a new grammar point. I try and understand it and then do some written exercises which are in the book. I get my fiancé to go through them and explain to me if I got something wrong. 

I have another easier book to use which I switch back and forth. This one is a classroom based book with dialogues and what not. 

It’s starting to get dark outside now and I move onto something else. I’ve set each day of the week (bar 1) where I learn 10 new words . So maybe on Monday I look at my calendar and see I have to learn nouns, so I learn 10 nouns for that day. I have 5 things to learn; nouns, adjectives, verbs, tenses and tense conjugations. So first I will learn my nouns, then I will review everything that I’ve learned from these 5 categories. For example,  I’ve lots of nouns that I’ve already learned so I go back to the beginning and re-read them all. Sometimes It’s boring but I realised I remember pretty much all of them just by reading them everyday. 

The same goes for adjectives and what not.  I think maybe I could push to 20 words per day, so I think I might slowly increase my new vocab. At the beginning I was learning 30 words everyday and by the end, having to learn so many made me dread that time of day! So now 10 is very easy for me. 

So all that takes me a while to do, but It really does help me. I’m not stressing myself if I forget an adjective or tense, because I know I’ll review them tomorrow and the next day, so they will stick one day!

After this, I might dabble a bit with some listening practice by watching YouTube videos. I usually do this sporadically during the day. 

Then, I have a list of questions in Spanish on my computer and I have to write an answer and learn them off by heart. The latest one I learned was ‘Que hiciste ayer?’ …’What did you do yesterday?’. So I try and write it in spanish, and then my fiancé comes and corrects the mistakes. It’s great having him nearby to fix all of my errors! After that I try and learn every sentence off by heart, until I know the whole answer. Sometimes It’s difficult as I’m using tenses that I’ve haven’t studied yet, but I don’t want simple answers, I want answers that are complicated and so I learn new vocab and tenses. 

Sometime during the evening I try and spend an hour speaking with my fiancé about a topic in Spanish. I’m grateful he takes the time out to help me with my spanish, as he’s busy doing his own things. 

I might also use another book which is an Irish exam paper. There are two levels, higher and ordinary,  with higher level being more difficult. In it there are exam papers that student’s do for their Leaving Cert to get into University. Every practice exam paper has stories to read and then questions to answer underneath. I enjoy doing this and I can notice they are getting easier to read, especially when I remember reading them while I was in China! 

Finally, I like to read at night so I downloaded some free spanish kindle books to read. I really enjoy reading so this isn’t a chore for me at all, unless it’s super difficult! I’ve watched some tv shows in Spanish with the family but I lose interest after a while because I just don’t understand anything. Watching a film in Spanish that I’ve already seen before in English helps though, as I already know what it’s about so it’s not as bad. Plus sometimes a programme/film will be in English with Spanish subtitles, which I would rather not watch! 

So anyway, theres my day of learning Spanish. I try and speak Spanish throughout the day but I know I need to stick in extra speaking time, but it’s difficult as I’m not a lover of talking. I know I’d improve faster if I spoke more, so I’ll try and make an extra effort with that. 

Aisling

Worrying

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So with my latest posts, I was talking about how I enrolled in a Spanish course in a university here. My second time going was a bad experience, you can read about it here: No, It Didn’t Go Well

We decided to go and meet the teacher and explain to her that the level is too high. So, it turns out that the other two students that were in the class have been studying a year at the university, so they use Spanish every day because their course is in Spanish. So that is why their level is so good! I’m guessing on their free mornings they come to have class just to strengthen their Spanish. So I was worrying and wondering how I was stuck in with them when they were supposed to be ‘basic’ like me. Unfortunately the teacher never told me this, so I couldn’t understand why they were in my class. Apparently theres only two levels available to take, so they just came to the lower class. Maybe they have class before or after so 10am was the only time to go.

The teacher said that I can continue going and just observe the class, so I can improve my listening at least.

So the day after I had class and I just couldn’t go in. I just sort of had an anxiety panic attack. I just didn’t want to go in and have to sit there while the the others are blabbering away and me not being able to understand anything. I just hate that feeling.

On Wednesday I arrived to class and chat chat chat was all I heard. Again I couldn’t understand much. She asked me some questions and I ‘tried’ to answer, but when the others are talking I just can’t understand. Yesterday I went in again and there were 4 male students, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t understand about 80% of the class. Honestly. It was very difficult for me. They were laughing and joking about something and I just sat at the side just doing nothing. I couldn’t participate or anything.

So I came out of class a little down again, thinking ‘Is this what I have to deal with 5 days a week? I have to worry every morning about going in to class which I shouldn’t have to worry about. Every class I’m anxious that she’ll ask me something and I don’t understand. Maybe they’ll be chatting about a topic and the teacher will ask me “So Aisling, what do you think about climate change? and I’ll be sitting there like an eejit because I didn’t have a clue what they were talking about, never mind giving my opinion on something more advanced than talking about myself’.

These are the things I think about. And I know it’s stupid. I know I should just go in there and try. But I can’t try because I can’t participate. I don’t understand anything they say, so I can’t even try to say something.

So for this week I went in 2 days, today (Friday) I woke up and just said to myself “Nope….not going in today”. And I didn’t. And do you know what? I feel absolutely great today! I’m not worried or anxious about the class. I’m not annoyed at what I didn’t understand. I’m not sad after it and thinking “Oh I said that wrong, I should have said this…” I feel wonderful today.

Anyway, that’s my dilema! Either go to class and struggle, but know that I’m getting something out of it (god knows what because at the moment I feel like the only thing I’m getting out of it is stress). Or I could just not go and be happier, but then feel annoyed that I’m not going and at least trying. It’s a tricky one!

I don’t want to feel like I’m giving up. I really don’t. But the class is just so difficult for me. If it was the level that I’m at and I just didn’t go, then yeah I would be giving up. But this situation is different, so it’s harder.

I’ve also started seeing a therapist for my anxiety. I’ve wanted to go while in China but it was expensive. So I talked about how the class went to him and why I worry a lot. So we’ll see how that goes!

But anyway, today I feel happy and worry-free. So that’s good.

Aisling

No, It Didn’t Go Well

My last blog explained how I started learning Spanish in a university for 5 days a week. Today was the second time I went and let’s just say it didn’t go very well.

Yesterday it was only me and this only guy, and it went ok. The teacher went over some simple stuff and I thought it went fine. The guys Spanish was much better than mine but sure I’m in the basics class, he can’t be that good.

So I arrive to class again and theres another student there. And blabber blabber blabber was all I heard…in fast spanish that I didn’t understand at all!

The class went like this: the teacher asked a question to the other two students. They talked fluently and fast. Then it got to me and I didn’t understand what she was asking. She repeated again and, yet again I didn’t understand.  Aw it was so frustrating.

So while the two other students were chatting away, I just did nothing and stared into space because I just couldn’t understand anything they were saying.

Also the attitude of the teacher annoyed me aswell. She didn’t try and use her body to help me understand. She just repeated the question again, maybe swapping one word out for another.

One question she asked me was “Give me a suggestion on how to put on weight”.

The word I didn’t know was ‘to put on’, so of course I didn’t understand the question. Then asked me “Give me a suggestion on how to lose weight”. Again I didn’t know what the word for ‘to lose weight’ was. Again there was silence.

I feel like I just annoyed the teacher because I couldn’t understand her. So for the rest of the class she just sort of chatted with the other two students about god knows what. I just felt useless.

Now I’m not annoyed at myself. (Usually this is the case), I’m just annoyed that she told me that this was a basics class. I’m basic…. the other student’s are definitely not! They seem to be intermediate.

The book she uses is basic, and it suits me fine, but todays class was more like a discussion on this and that, and I just don’t have the Spanish for that. I admit it, I need to learn basic beginner Spanish.

So I left the class upset and just feeling down about the whole thing. I don’t want to have to worry every day about going to class. I really don’t. My aim is to be happy in life, and I know this will just worry me and put me down. Thankfully we don’t have class tomorrow, but I’m already worrying about Mondays class.

I’m seriously considering not going, because I don’t want to worry myself. I want to be able to go without worry and knowing that I’m in the same level as everyone else. I want to enjoy the class, and today I certainly didn’t.

I don’t even feel like the teacher likes me that much. It might just be me but I just felt like today I was annoying her because I couldn’t understand and I was slowing the class down. She should have known that the class was too advanced for me, she did an interview with me to assess my Spanish!!

So I’ll see what happens. But at least I’m not annoyed at myself. My spanish is just lower than theirs at the moment.

Aisling