Living in Cuba, in the mid ‘90s I still remember the first time I heard something I was unable to understand. I remember I was a kid, and one night while watching television I realized there was a new tv show on. But this was different because people on the show were saying things in a weird way and simultaneously some letters appearing at the bottom of the screen, that even if I was able to read, I wasn’t fast enough to keep up with the speed.
Trying to figure out what was happening, I asked my mother about that, and she answered: That is English… English? -I asked again- yes, English she answered. That is a different language, we can speak Spanish, but there are many more languages in the world, with different words, different sounds, and even different rules. It is complicated, but maybe one day when you grow up, you will be able to learn and communicate in another language.
Years passed from that moment, I was growing up, going through the education system, learning more and more about my mother tongue (Spanish), and having more contact with the English, after all the US cultural influence in Cuba was huge, the songs, the movies, the magazines. All of those were exciting things to me. Because they were literally coming from another place in the world and I needed to decrypt that, understand and know what they say, what were the songs singing about, etc.
Even living in Cuba, there were so many things to learn in English, books, movies, technical manuals, even the labels in everyday use products and food. But something was preventing me to understand all those things and was the language barrier. I was able to get a glimpse of another world, but that was not enough, I felt I was ready to learn. (to be continued)