When I arrived, I was very careful when speaking. I would have to think what I wanted to say, carefully translate it, and stick to words that I already knew well. I could manage some small talk, but not much more.
Now? Now it's getting interesting. At the dinner table we've had discussions about current events, economics, soccer, politics, and traditions from both here and the US. Rather than carefully planning my simple sentences then speaking, I've started spitting out my thoughts as I think them. My grammar has been all over the place- and I often use the wrong word, try several similar words, or have to stop and ask- but I can clumsily manage to convey a wider array of ideas. My family and coworkers have been very patient with me and have helped and corrected me many times. I am so thankful for all they are teaching me.
I've also noticed my thoughts have started mixing languages. Today as I was writing notes for work, I found myself switching languages multiple times in the same sentence or mid-list. A few times I've managed to entertain my fellow YAGMs by switching languages while speaking, too. I'm sure I'm not the only one in our group that's been doing this.
I can only hope that my Spanish will keep getting better and that, just maybe, one of these days it will finally start to sound better too.
I should probably dust these off again.