Today I was assigned to speak in the Sacrament Meeting in one of the Spanish wards in our stake. I stunk it up. Badly. Like, my baby’s diapers level of stink. I’d like to use the excuse that it’s been 12 years since I’ve spoken to a large group of people in Spanish, but that’s not true. It’s my second time, my first being a few months ago at the Spanish branch in Staten Island, which went pretty well, considering. But today? Unbelievably bad.
What went wrong? My Spanish sucks. It’s like there’s something in my head that has painted over 75% of the words I used to know leaving me standing there like an idiot trying to figure out how to say the simplest thing, everyone staring at me in silence, then I delay with a, “como se llama…” (how do you say…) and a “pues…” (well…) and a “bueno…” (okay…) ending with a “el no estuvo feliz.” (he wasn’t happy.) It reminds me of my first area in the mission, me trying to avoid eating the gross food in front of me by saying I had a stomach ache, but didn’t know how to say that, so I strung together some words I did know, “mi estomago no está feliz.” (my stomach isn’t happy). Yes, I felt like an idiot then and I felt like an idiot today.
It’s funny because I’ve never been one to be nervous teaching or speaking. I actually enjoy it. Ever since my seminary teacher allowed time at the beginning of every class for anyone to get up and share anything they’ve learned, which I often did, I’ve always enjoyed sharing my thoughts. I guess part of that is evidence in my original desire to have my own blog.
I was talking with my wife last night about the various differences (and pros and cons) of teaching and speaking (she had to prepare her youth Sunday School lesson while I was preparing my talk). At first I was saying I’d rather prepare a lesson because you just need a solid outline and some solid questions and assume the class will fill in the rest, which usually turns out to be a solid lesson. Speaking you have to come up with the outline AND the filler. But then I thought about how once you’re done speaking for 15 minutes it’s over. And today, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.