I Can’t Roll My R’s

Mi professora habla a la clase.

She talks fluidly, with ease in her own tongue. The language is beautiful to me. And I listen eagerly, trying to soak up every detail, sound, word. Spanish is like music to me — music that I cannot ever get enough of.

And then she talks of la romanización y las romas. And she rolls her r’s so beautifully. Again and again and again. I know I shouldn’t be jealous — she is from Argentina, after all. I was born and raised in Canada with English as my only tongue for the first fifteen years. But I can’t help but wish I could speak Spanish as well as mi professora.

I don’t know why or how exactly that this language became my love. It started as duty then grew into interest and then fell upon passion.

But sometimes, I feel that this passion is purpose less. I’m studying theatre. I want to be an actor. I cannot see where Spanish will fit into my life right now. And I can’t speak well — my upper-level class is killing me slowly, I leave every class discouraged, and I can’t roll my r’s.

I don’t remember learning how to talk. I’ve always been able to speak, as far as I can remember. But now, as I sit in class every Tuesday, its like I cannot talk again. I struggle to produce what I want to say in words. I open my mouth but nothing comes out…

I feel stupid and awkward. Like the cat’s got my tongue and walked off with it. I am humbled, quiet and down trodden.

And I’m realizing that’s what learning a new language is about. Its about being humbled. Its about learning how to learn. It is re-learning how to be and speak and live.

And that is hard. Difficult. Impossible, almost.

But it is necessary for me, I’ve decided. As hard as it is. As humiliating, as agonizing, and as much as it makes me cry every Tuesday night.

There is something magical and strange that keeps me there, sitting in the spinny chair, uttering words that don’t make sense, sputtering mistakes, and trying to roll my r’s.

And so, even though it doesn’t entirely make sense, I will stay.

Por siempre.


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