Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Inner Competitiveness

Anyone who has crossed my path over the past couple of months knows that I am taking Spanish classes at UNAM (Universidad Autonoma de Mexico). After having tried out Berlitz and International House, this is my third attempt at learning Spanish since we decided to move to Mexico. And I have to admit that I absolutely love my class over at UNAM – for one thing, this satellite “campus” (i.e., building) where I take the classes is a mere four blocks from my apartment (with Starbucks on the way). Plus, my instructor is wonderful, and the material is interesting and easy to follow. The biggest draw for me, though, was the ability to meet a bunch of other English speakers in my class. Of course nothing ever goes according to the image in my head, so the first day of class I walk in to find 5 Koreans, 6 Japanese women and 4 Haitian musicians – none of whom speak any English.

Despite this little glitch, I really like the people in my class, and am forced to practice my Spanish (and my ever-so-quickly-fading French with the Haitian guys) since I can't communicate in English. I also really love being in a classroom again and learning something that requires more brain power than “The Wheels on the Bus.” So I am really into this class, and despite having to endure Sonny’s teasing about how I need to get a life and am taking this class way too seriously, I want to do really well. No, I don’t mean really well. I mean better than everyone else.

All of a sudden I find myself taken over by this overwhelming need to kick everyone else’s butt in the class. I didn’t know that after being out of school for seven years I still had this petty competitiveness in me, but apparently I do. Must be from all those years of law school and private practice alongside some very serious and aggressive individuals. And the fact that I have not had any intellectual stimulation since I stopped working a year and a half ago. But I refuse to hide this shameful, petty part of me any longer, even though I know that someday soon I will need to reign in this unsightly part of my personality for Asha's sake.

But in the meantime, I’m off to work on my oral presentation, because I must make sure that mine is the absolute best one in the class . . . .

5 comments:

Penny said...

Aah, another ex-lawyer! We just never lose that competitive streak :). As my husband tells me about my learning french - its not a race! I found your blog a little while ago and am really enjoying reading about your new life. You're lucky you can go to classes. My youngest is rather clingy at present so I probably wont go until next year. Enjoy your time off!

:)

Rupal said...

The competeitive thing has been dormant for a while, or at least not so overt, since I had my daughter. So it was quite a shock to feel this way again :-) I have been reading your blog as well - love to read about other expats with young children!

guera said...

What is about ex-lawyers, now Expat Mums, girls? We must have a sixth sense for finding each other's blogs! Rupal, my used-to-be-not-bad French is fading fast too - Guerita keeps asking me how to say things in French and I have to think really hard! Although its helped with learning Spanish, I think the Spanish is crowding the French out. When we first moved here I found myself speaking some really weird Spanish/French combination sentences... like syaing 'aussi' instead of 'tambien' without even realising it. Good on you for having lessons, I have been very slack and now have the babysitting issue so probably won't get around to.

Rupal said...
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Rupal said...

Guera - Perhaps that says something about the profession??

The Spanish lessons keep me sane because they give me more confidence in speaking, even though I can still only speak in the present tense (i.e., yesterday I go to the market). The Spanish has crowded out the French for me as well, though I still tend to use the wrong article & pronoun (el vs. elle is taking some getting used to).