A few hours before meeting Carlos this evening, my stomach was in knots. It was the same feeling I get in my gut on the day of a first date. Except this wasn’t a first date per se; it was a language date. Despite having plenty of friends who speak Spanish fluently, I’ve never actually spoken Spanish with them. Whether out of stage fright or laziness, it’s just never happened. So instead, I joined Conversation Exchange a few weeks back after feeling particularly bold and desiring of Spanish skills. On the site, you exchange messages with people who also want to practice their language skills. I want to speak Spanish and am a native English speaker; my partners desire the opposite.
After multiple messages (a la OKCupid), Carlos and I set up a date to meet in person. Just like first dates, I felt like canceling the entire day. “I am terrible at Spanish. I’ll never need it!” I tell myself all day. And while my back up plan in life is to move to South America, I figured that I can “learn it another day, another time, when I’ve had more practice in the solitude of my own bedroom.”