Since I have been looking for work, to no avail, I have realized that there is a big job market for bilingual employees. At first I was overjoyed at this since I am after all Latina. Then I realized that my Spanish, while impressive to my American friends, is not good enough to be worth any money. Sure, I can order food at Don Pedro's, my favorite Mexican place ("por favor, dame un torta sin pincante con mucho aguacate y un soda pina para tomar") and I can keep up with a novela, the Spanish equivalent of an American soap opera. But to help customers with needs would be a challenge. When I worked at a bank and later a credit union, I was able to help "lo gente" with no problem because I'm fine with numbers and money. I think I can speak money in no less than 8 languages. That, and food and bathroom. But I think if someone came in needing help to solve a problem, I'd get lost between "Hola" and "Tu intiendes?".
I have many family members and friends that are fluent that I've reached out to for tutelage, but their lives are as busy an my own. I can't expect them to drop everything to teach me my own language. So, I've decided to teach myself Spanish. I have been using it more and more on a daily basis, lord knows I watch enough novelas, and I recently rediscovered a dusty CD-Rom of beginner Spanish. This is what I've learned so far:
1) I can speak and understand more than I thought
2) novelas are every bit as annoying as American soaps
3) I'm not a beginner, I can introduce my amigo Juan to my amiga Josefina and offer them cafe or chocolate
I have considered taking a class at my local technical school. Unlike a private tutor, I won't have to pay anything upfront. I'm still weighing out the pro's and con's. I know that being bilingual won't automatically land me a job, but it will definitely make my resume more impressive. Besides, it's high time I learned my own damn language.