I don't even remember a time when I couldn't speak English. I guess I used to say things like "pop-pickle" (popsicle) and "pa-sgetti" (spaghetti), but other than that, English came pretty easy, thanks to that good ole LAD.
And if you're reading this, it's likely that you didn't have to work very hard at it either, since it's probably your mother tongue.
Spanish, on the other hand, has been a monster challenge, to say the least. There are a bless-ed few that are able to learn it and speak it within months of submersion, but the rest of us really have to struggle and fight for it. I'm probably...oh...in my eighth or ninth year learning it. I still stumble and pause to search for words, and feel clueless when the old people mumble.
(Note to self: don't mumble when you get old.)
Anyway, so I was talking about English. After stumbling and bumbling my way through the Spanish-speaking world all day long, I get a sigh of relief when a few dozen brave Spanish-speakers step onto our territory (known as "The English House") three times a week to give English a shot.
Now, when it comes to English, I'm an expert. Sometimes I don't know the grammatical/linguistic explanation for why we say things the way we do, but, I'm still a fluent English speaker.
So, while we think Spanish literacy is really important, and we take lots of time focusing on that, we also have about 35 English-learners in our house throughout the week.
With Spanish literacy we have to do everything free, travel to them, and continuously encourage them to keep coming.
With English classes, they come to us, they show up early, and they even pay us.
(We charge a dollar per class per person. It helps us pay for literacy expenses and rent, keeps the whole town from showing up (if classes were free), and gives the students accountability and ownership so they'll take the class seriously).
Next...F is for Friendships