I am coming along good with my written Spanish, but I am still apprehensive to speak it. Actually I can speak it okay, it´s the listening part I have trouble with. Like today, I walked into the bank to pay our rent (here I just deposit the money directly into my landlord´s account). I had practiced what I was to say the whole walk there. "Quiero pagar mi alguilar a Senora Balado" (I want to pay my rent to Mrs. Balado) over and over. I got there full of confidence which then slowly diminished as I had to wait in line. I started getting really nervous, for no reason! Finally it was my turn and I faced the nice young banker and stated my cause.
He then looked me in the eye and said something. I returned his look with one of my own...one of absolute fright and confusion. He then pointed to the slip of paper I had given him along with the cash. He was pointing to the amount and then I realized that he had only said "seiscientos trenta, si" (630.00, yes?) I then said "si" and relaxed a little. I understood him when he asked if I was and if I wanted a copy of the deposit. I walked out of the bank full of confidence and proud of myself as I then walked to my bank to make a deposit into my account. As I entered the bank and saw the looooong line and all the people that may talk to me while standing in it, I looked the situation over and turned around and left. Maybe I´ll try again tomorrow...
After work I was leaving the train and a Asian man stopped me and asked me (in spanish) if we were in Castellon and I immediately said "si, Castellon", then when I stepped off the train another lady pointed to the direction I was headed and asked if it was the exit which I replied "si". As I walked up the stairs out of the station, I realized that when I don´t think about it, I can understand and talk the language (on a very basic level). I walked past a fruit and vegetable stand on the way home, stopped...then backed up and went in. I didn´t really need much, but felt compelled to go in for some reason. Inside was the nicest man. I pointed to the zucchini and said "dos, por favor". He smiled at me and said "algo mas" (anything else). I found the eggplants, pointed and said uno, and then stopped and said "uno berenjena" (which I really butchered since you have to roll the R and the J is pronounced like a gutteral "h") he smilled wider and then he decided that I needed more vegetables and started suggesting tomates, pimientos rojos, and pepinos. I said yes to all and added"para esta noche" (for tonight) and he found the veggies just ripe enough to last a day and proudly showed each one to me before putting them on the counter.
When he was ringing me up he said "Ingles?" and I said "si". and then he asked me where, which I replied KS. He said "oh, Americana". and I sheepishly looked down and said "si". I keep forgetting that "Ingles?" means "are you from England?", not English, do you speak the language. He then patted the bag, handed it to me and said "hasta luego" and I returned the saying and almost skipped the rest of the way home as I was overcome with that same feeling that I had with the train ticket-taker man....really at ease and a sense of belonging.