I'm not going to pretend that it's not hard for me here with the language barrier. It's fucking hard. It's not so much of a problem in the studio upstairs but anything downstairs and outside of it is so much more of a struggle. Right now we're working on the new collection for next season's campaign and with more things to do comes more things that need to be communicated to the patternmakers and I have to grab someone to take with me downstairs to translate as I explain my designs. I'm kind of getting used to it and some days are better but others it can be so frustrating and I feel like a child with no control or independence. It's just harder to do much on my own. The other day I got so sick of waiting for someone to help I just went down by myself after a few minutes checking on Google Translate before. And it might have been ok if the patternmakers didn't just fire back a hundred questions at me in response. Ugh GOD. Maybe that's not the point anymore. At least I tried.
In the mornings I turn on the TV so that I can listen and get used to the language. I'll turn on the subtitles in Spanish so that I can practise what words I can pick out and compare the pronunciation with the written form. In the beginning, even the news was pretty tough to get through so I found the children's TV channel and watched the cartoons and listened to the over-dramatised, over-exaggerated and over-pronounced voices everyday while I ate breakfast. I'd say that Dora the Explorer was the best choice for actually learning anything but even as I write this I'm struggling to remember actually what I might have learnt and instead what's actually coming back to me, more naturally, is that Bob Esponja is the Spanish translation for Spongebob Squarepants. These days I still keep the TV on but I've tried to pay more attention to the Spanish news and in the end it's just been washing over me like background noise. My thoughts will wander and I'll get distracted and I'm not so sure how much just listening is helping me anymore. I want to watch some movies that have been dubbed over in Spanish so that I can focus more on the language if I've already seen it in english but things kept getting in the way (ok Facebook can be super distracting) and I'm too exhausted each night after work to commit to anything other than Skyping Mumma before bed.
On Saturday though, I went to see a play with Jess. In Spanish. About Freud. Holy moly it was tough! Which is to say that I could not understand a thing except in a way I guess I didn't really expect too. Ok so I did want to go to see how much I could pick up (which was literally nada) but also to experience the language in a different context outside of work and ordering food. Maybe I thought I would be able to follow a little with it being a play with the acting - you know, like a visual performance - to help carry the story. Except that there was no story and there was no plot. It was one scene, the same scene, for the whole play - just a conversation with two people - a debate between Freud and a Professor about Christianity and the war and that's as much as I know from what Jess was whispering in my ear. And I might have gotten a little bored towards the end but since it was about Freud (or more a conversation with Freud) I could assume that even in english I'd still find it boring towards the end. I mean it was never so much the context of the play that made me want to see it - mostly because it was such a good price (super duper cheap) to see something at the local theatre (literally a 3 mins walk from my apartment) which was so beautiful inside that it could rival some of the ones in London. And the atmosphere. Just being inside with the rest of the audience and sitting on those velvet covered seats reminded me of how much I missed seeing shows and plays. And so I might not have understood a thing but it still made me want to go again. I couldn't pick up what anyone said and yet I didn't let it wash over me like I let the TV blend into the background. I listened and I paid attention because this is what I paid for. It was my reason to make the effort except without the pressure or frustration. Maybe that was the point.