I fell in love with Spanish when I took my first trip to the Dominican Republic in 2003. I loved it so much, in fact, that in my year between Bible college and university I took a basic Spanish course. When I started university, I knew my two required language classes would be in Spanish. I stopped taking Spanish #1 because I didn't need any more language credits, and #2 because it was hard on my average (this is the more likely culprit . . . no matter how much I loved it, I couldn't learn it fast enough or well enough in 3 month blocks). When I signed up for Beyond Borders/Intercordia, my only really strong desire was to be placed in a Spanish speaking country. I am currently reading Eat Pray Love, and if any of you have read that, I can relate to the author's love for Italian because I feel pretty much the same way about Spanish. It's just so cool-sounding and fun. However, that does not make it easy. For example, pronounce this word: once. Good. However, en español, it is pronounced own-say (more or less anyway). Those university level courses I took were back in 2005-2006. I remember some, but not a lot. Verbs are especially tricky, because there is a different conjugation for every personal pronoun, and they all sound at least a little bit different. Here is an example of that
tener - to have
yo tengo - I have
tú tienes - you have
él/ella/usted tiene - he/she/formal you has
nosotros/as tenemos - we masculine/feminine have
ellos/ellas/ustedes tienen - they masculine/feminine/formal you plural have
When we first arrived in Quito, we were given a 3 hour Spanish lesson. That's it. If I hadn't learned a little bit of Spanish before, I would have been totally euchred. I think I have learned a fair bit of Spanish in my time here, but I would say I am nowhere near fluent (though I would one day like to be). In any case, I still love Spanish and hope to keep learning it when I get back to Canada. My favourite number is ocho (eight). I have a ton of favourite words, but three of them are bailarina (don't know the exact definition but I love that it kind of sounds like ballerina, and I know it has to do with dancing), contigo (with you), and conmigo (with me).