I received an e-mail from a colleague who speaks Spanish. It starts "Hola hermana." I read it quickly and thought, "Why is he calling me Herman?"
I think I have a mental block around Spanish. I had one semester of basic Spanish in college. At the same time I was taking upper-level German classes. I was so confused. In Spanish all the words seemed to run together ("was that a word, phrase or paragraph?") , you can't tell which words are nouns because they aren't capitalized, and on and on. It didn't help that I had a nut-job professor. He never taught us the alphabet or how to pronounce things. How was I supposed to know that a double "l" sounds like a "y"?
On the first day of class he asked us to take out our books. Huh? Who has their books on the first day? You make that mistake once, the professor changes the syllabus and you end up with books you don't need and can't return.
Every test and quiz overwhelmed me. I always wanted to ask if I'd get half credit for an answer other than English. My guess is the answer would have been no.