Something new happened to me as I was walking out of my Tuesday/Thursday Spanish class this week: I forgot what language I should be speaking.
To set the scene, I was exiting Gore Hall after my 305 Spanish Conversation class ended this past Tuesday. My professor for this class is from the Universidad de Granada. As a side note, after now having two professors from this Spanish university, I just have to say, taking a class with someone who was born and raised in Spain makes me want to buy a plane ticket to the country more than anything.
But back to the current story: after leaving Tuesday’s Spanish class, I literally forgot that I was now walking around the University of Delaware campus…in America. Not Spain, not even our neighborly Puerto Rico: good ole English-speaking, French-fry eating America (or, as some might prefer to say, “A-MUR-ica”).
After the shuffle of papers, pens, books, bags and backpacks signaling the end of my 12:30 p.m. class, my mind was distracted with normal, day-to-day thoughts like, “I wonder what my in-class assignment is going to be for my Broadcast Writing class in fifteen minutes,” and, “Do I have a snack with me?” Except – and I’m not positive about this – I believe that I was thinking in Spanish (*cue shocked gasp from the audience*).
It’s not totally far-fetched, since I’ve been doing it (“it” being “thinking Spanish thoughts”) more and more since the semester started a week ago. To give a tad more background information, after switching my Spanish minor to a Spanish Studies major about a year ago, I started playing a hard-core game of catch-up, or more specifically, “time for Caitlyn to take three Spanish classes per semester in order to graduate on time and not have her parents roast her alive for being indecisive throughout most of her college career.” Weirdly enough, although I had the same course load – three Spanish classes a semester – during both semesters last year, this fall is the first time that I’ve noticed myself thinking in Spanish, and even *wait for it* dreaming in Spanish once last week.
Again, usually I have a pretty firm grip on realizing when to speak Spanish, i.e. Spanish classes and random interactions with other Spanish speakers, and knowing when to speak English, i.e. every other instance in my life. Not when walking out of Gore on that fateful Tuesday, though.
Here’s how it went down: some arbitrary guy in front of me held open the door on the way out of the building into the day’s blazing sunshine. Blinded some by the glare, and not at all having a grip on my language/country, I started to reply, “Gracias.”
I did stop myself before completing the entire word, so it was more like a startled, “Grac—,” but still, the damage was done. I then relied on my normal defense mechanism: running away.
In retrospect, it’s one of those situations that ends up being more funny than embarrassing. And, after thinking about it, I was almost proud in a strange sort of way; it was almost as if I had auditioned for the part of Spanish major and finally made the cast list.