Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Yo PUEDO hablar espanol!

So, all my traveling and (inconsistent) studying of the Spanish language has paid off! Today, my CI had to do an evaluation and commented that she believes the gentlemen, with a Spanish/Latino surname, only speaks Spanish, based on some information from his chart. I told her that I speak Spanish, although not fluent, I can certainly communicate. She said 'Ok, let's try it."

We walked into the room and she asked in Spanish, "habla ingles?" To which he replied no. And then she said, "Ok, Kim, you're up."


I explained that I only speak a little Spanish and that I am the student and she is the occupational therapist. I explained occupational therapy to him (although I need to work on that part a little bit) and he said he understood. We asked about his home life, his pain level, location of pain, the type of equipment he currently has at home or used before his injury and so on. His pain level was really high so we called in a nurse and I had to translate that exchange, explaining when his doctor would be in to prescribe more medication.

I tried to explain some adaptive equipment to him but he was in so much pain he didn't want to be bothered. Also, some Spanish words I couldn't understand because I didn't know them and other words I couldn't understand because he was mumbling and slurring words together.

I'm not sure if he understood that we were OCCUPATIONAL therapists and not physical therapists because he kept saying the therapists already came and made him walk around. I explained again that we are different so I hope he gets it. We have to see him again tomorrow so I'm going to write down some common phrases for his condition and write another, clearer explanation of occupational therapy. Perhaps he was drugged because he did seem a little out of it, or perhaps the pain was so great that he couldn't think straight.

Either way, it doesn't matter because I SPOKE SPANISH. Ha!

Afterward, my CI said, 'Well, Kim, you did very well. I am very impressed."

I've been doubting my Spanish skills all this time because my listening is not strong and I mix up words all the time and I get nervous. But now I realize I get nervous when someone is correcting or judging my grammar or word choice. In this situation no one was there to correct or judge my level. I only needed to communicate. It wasn't as important that I had subject-verb agreement. When foreigners speak English their subject-verb agreement is not always correct but as Americans we're used to it and let it slide because they COMMUNICATE well. My Chilean classmate told me this about a 1.5 months ago. He told me that he knows his English is not perfect but it doesn't matter. All that matters is that he is understood and he can communicate. He told me I should feel the same way about my Spanish. I would LIKE to feel this way about my Spanish but I get nervous and I want it to be perfect because I don't want Spanish speakers to think poorly of me.

I'll still probably have that thought in the back of my head but now I have more confidence in my ability to express myself and be understood. Now I'm going to REALLY have to pump up my Spanish studies.

This was the highlight of my week!

No comments:

Post a Comment