The Language Is Revealing Itself To Me And Other Insights About Making Connections

I live in a beautiful part of the UK.

It is a medium sized town on the edge of the Cotswolds.  It has a bustling social and cultural scene with some great sporting events too.

From where I live I can walk and be in glorious countryside within 5 minutes.

I haven’t always lived here.

I moved here nearly 4 years ago partly to be closer to the work I was doing then.   And I came here because of a break up of a long term relationship.

So I am not a local.

Which means my geographic knowledge of the vicinity is limited to

  • where I live,
  • my gym,
  • the supermarket,
  • a great cafe I use as a second “office”
  • and the most direct route to the town centre.

However,  my knowledge of the main arterial highways is pretty good.  This is because I do have to drive around the country from here as part of my work.

But once you get into the smaller roads, side streets and alleyways around where I live, I pretty much have no idea.

This means I have to get onto google maps to find out exactly where to go when I do need to get off the beaten track to go somewhere locally,

What did we ever do before the internet?

Recently I went to see a nutritionist to get some professional advice on my diet.  I think I eat really well, mostly guided by things I’ve read or seen others do that make sense.

But I have no idea whether what I consume is really good for me.

So I thought I would get checked out and found a qualified nutritionist locally.

Of course when she gave me her address, I had to go straight to Google.

As it happens she lived on a small road just off a main route I often take to get to my gym.

I must have driven past the end of her road at least several hundred times in the last couple of years and it never even registered.

It had an unusual name too – Kidnapper’s Lane.

I found her place and the appointment went well and yes, the things I were eating are the things I am still eating.

How Does This Relate To Learning Spanish?

That is a great question and here is the answer.

A couple of days ago, some 4 or 5 weeks after my appointment with the nutritionist, I had a revelation.

I was driving down one of the main roads through the suburbs of the town.  I was heading home after a work out and yoga class at my gym.

To give it a bit of context, where I was driving was roughly on the same side of the town as where my nutritionist lives.

I had a Spanish Language lesson on the car stereo and I was busy having an imaginary conversation with a señorita about how many pesos she wanted (an American program teaching Castellano).

Again this is another road I have driven up and down probably hundreds if not close to a thousand times.

I had just gone past a set of traffic lights when my eyes were drawn to the road name sign for a turning off to the right.

It was Kidnapper’s Lane!

In fact it was the “other end” of Kidnapper’s lane from where my nutritionist lives.

“AAhhh” I thought! “I know where that leads to”.

And in that moment there was this “clunk….clunk…whirrr” as a bit of knowledge fell into place.

My brain chemicals had a bit of a surge as the realisation hit home.

My geographical knowledge of the area had just got even better.  In fact it had got more sophisticated because now I knew a connection and a short cut between two roads I regularly use.

It’s a good feeling when that happens.

It is why true learning can become addictive.

And I am finding the same thing is happening as I learn to speak Spanish.

Here Are Some Examples

I will learn a new noun and then a few weeks later I will encounter an adjective relating to it.


Whilst working with my online tutor on the lyrics of Despacito, I had one of these moments.  I already knew the verb “mirar” which means to look or to watch.

In the lyrics of the song the word “mirada” is used which means “the look”.

I could see the link.

It was like seeing the other end of Kidnapper’s Lane again.


I will see a conjugation of one verb with strange additional letters on the end…. and then see those letters on the end of a similar conjugation of a different verb.


There was a similar experience in Despacito.

The word “mirándote” appears at the end of the first line.

Broken down “mirando” means watching and the “te” on the end means “you”.  So mirándote means watching you, all neatly wrapped up in one word.

Later on llamándome appears at the end of a line.  “llamando” means calling and “me” means errr “me”.  So llamándome means calling me.

But what happens if you swap the “te” and the “me” over in these examples?

Well you get:

  • mirándome – watching me
  • llamándote – calling you.


Those good feelings just wash over me as those positive chemicals wash through my brain.

Now this information is in the grammar books.  My teacher could have just told me about the conjugation and the addition of te and me.

But the impact would not have been the same.

That would have been teaching.

This isn’t about being TAUGHT Spanish – it is about LEARNING Spanish.

These Experiences Won’t Just Be Given To You – You Have To Go Find Them

If you follow someone else’s curriculum, the chances are you will miss out on many “Ahhh…clunk….clunk…whirrr”  moments.  Which means you won’t get as many positive chemical brain flushes.

That means the learning experience won’t be any where near as addictive nor as enjoyable as it could be.

I am finding I am making more progress with the Spanish I explore and discover than from any formal curriculum.

Now there are some great resources to use, but take control of them rather than let them take control of you.

The moment you let go of control is the moment overwhelm sees an opening in your psyche.

And that could be the beginning of the end.

I am discovering that learning a language is about exploration and discovery.

Evolution not Revolution.





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