Friday, April 5, 2013


Standing in front of a group of scrutinizing eyes, delivering a presentation in a foreign language is one of the most uncomfortable experiences a person can have. My first exposición was yesterday, and, much like a stomach flu, I felt absolutely horrible during and directly after the incident. Students were whispering, tittering and giggling as I attempted to conjugate verbs and make my sentences coherent. Did I have something in my teeth? Did I say something idiotic? Probably.

Who knows what came out of my mouth? The most important thing for me was that it made sense. I was so nervous that I didn't even look at my notes. I just babbled on for ten minutes (at the time, I was sure it was an hour). Afterward, the teacher looked at me with pity: "I know it must be hard with the language and everything." I felt myself turning burgundy. Though she meant well, the comment made me feel like the idiot in a class full of geniuses. I wanted to bury my head in my arms at my desk.

When I sat back down, I turned to an American classmate, Denise, and I grimaced in emotional pain. She smiled and commented that I did really well. I brushed it off as comforting words and continued to sulk.

I stayed in the same classroom, being forced to face the teacher for another class period (she teaches two out of three classes I take).  Another American friend, Alexis, came to the classroom, setting her books down next to us. Denise told her about my presentation, saying I did well."She didn't even use notes," Denise added.

That made me reevaluate my performance; maybe I actually did well for a foreign student. Maybe being too nervous to read off my notes actually demonstrates how far my Spanish has come since August, when I arrived in Spain. I could analyze a piece of literature off the cuff in a foreign language! Who knew I'd ever be able to do that?

Basically, now I have to work on seeing the progress I've been making since I've lived in Spain. I usually only see the mistakes I make, but it's time for me to consider my improvements because whether I see it or not, they exist. During the next presentation I give, I'll be sure to look at my performance from an objective viewpoint and hold my head high afterwards rather than hide it in my hands.

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