I finally get it!
When I was in high school I took two years of Spanish. It was terrible. My teacher was amazing. She was from Columbia and really had a passion for teaching us her language, but I had some sort of mental block about it and barely passed my classes. When I started working at a Mexican restaurant in my Junior year I realized that I couldn't hold up a conversation in Spanish to save my life. On my trip to Cabo San Lucas I realized that I could ask where the bathroom was but if someone told me it's location I wouldn't have a clue what they said. I worked for four year at the same restaurant and when I left there I really felt like I had a good handle on the language. Learning it in a classroom full of gringos was not something that worked for me, but when I got out and started speaking with actual Mexicans on a regular basis I was finally able to learn. I recently tutored a friend's daughter, who was a Spanish as a first language student, in reading and writing English and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. It was especially rewarding because I was able to relate completely with her struggles because I had been in the same situation so recently.
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