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The last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy, between design work, normal work and some traveling. I got a chance to go to a conference in Colorado and attend classes (the nerd inside me loooves classes!) and to get there we had a little road trip, just to get to see a bit more of the towns on the way and the places around.

But this post is actually not about our trip but my experience with some classes I took while being there =] and this is the background story:

When Ken and I got engaged, I realize that I was going move to California, way far from my home country Chile. I was going to face one of my biggest fears, speak and communicate in English. I had practice under my belt but not any formal knowledge, I pretty much tough myself through music and movies. So even though I was comfortable enough to talk to Ken and his family I did not feel capable to write or speak in a more formal way (or with random people, because I was always scared that they might not understand me). I, of course, wanted to get a job here, so the pressure to plan our wedding an get better in English was on. While searching for wedding inspiration was how I got introduced to the blogging world. To me it was a great idea, organize my wedding planning ideas and at the same time practice the language I was going to be immersed in just a few more months.

That was the begging of my blogging journey and the beginning of my -blog-to-learn- experience. Sometimes I catch myself saying things incorrectly BUT many times I don't even notice, but I still just hit the publish button because I know I am not perfect and if the spelling check didn't catch it, many times you all still understand what I mean. But I've had to work with myself to accept the fact that I will make MANY mistakes and that even now, almost 2 years later, I am leaning all the time.

I am a perfectionist by nature, I always push myself to give the best at whatever I'm doing. But that also plays against me, and my confidence when it comes to my communication skills in English (I think I'm pretty good in Spanish :P ).

Now to what I really wanted to share =]

As mentioned, this past week I attended a conference with my boss and good friend Bonnie. And it was my very first experience with classes in English and most importantly my very first public speaking class in English. I started really scared but ended the class SO happy and confident that even though my accent will always give me away, I've reached a point where I no longer have the fear of not being able to communicate because of my native tong and that makes me feel really good and confident for the first time in a really (I mean REALLY) long time.

So even though, it will take me a long while until I get confident about my writing, at least one of my deepest fears is finally off my shoulders, and it feels AWESOME!

That was what I wanted to share with all of you =]

It took me a little outside-my-comfort-zone experience to realize it, and I am so happy I did!



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Joy Kelley is a Chilean Designer & lettering Artist. Mom to 3 little boys. Crafter. Pattern lover. Color obsessed. Lemon pie dependent. And the hand behind the HowJoyful Studio & HowJoyful Shop. Read more about her & the blog here →

12 replies
  1. Kim
    Kim says:

    I think you’re doing great! Of course you’re going to make mistakes! I remember when I had my first oral exam in French when I studied abroad. I was so nervous that I didn’t sleep at all the night before, despite preparing for weeks and weeks. The morning of, I actually set my alarm for PM instead of AM and missed the first twenty minutes of the class and almost missed my exam! (Exams are mini presentations for half the class period usually, in front of your classmates and professor. You do a presentation and then are asked tough questions on your topic. Mine was a portion of a very difficult 16th century text!) I made it to the exam in time but my professor was not happy. But in the end I had a partner, a native French speaker, and actually did better than him on the exam! My grammar and vocabulary was off at times, I’m sure, but my professor was really proud of the work I had done. The next semester I did an oral exam without a partner in front of a lecture hall of 100 students and they picked me as the best out of the whole section! Learning your mistakes and how to fix them really is the key! Keep at it!

    And of course, if you ever have any questions– ask away! I have a degree in English after all!

  2. kelsey
    kelsey says:

    Oh, I’m so glad that you’re gaining confidence!! I know that learning a new language is hard, especially when you’re self-taught. But, I always think you do a great job. :)

  3. Betty Kelley
    Betty Kelley says:

    I’m so happy for you! You do a fine job, and believe it or not, I LOVE when you write (and sometimes not so perfectly), and because of that I can always “hear” your accent even though you’re writing English words (does that even make any sense?). I am trying to learn Spanish and it is sooooooo hard. I admire you more and more especially knowing your English has been self-taught…….. simply AMAZING! I’m glad your confidence is continuing to grow. One day you’ll be speaking publicly perfectly, but NEVER lose that accent! ;) Love you DIL!

  4. Katie
    Katie says:

    Oh Joy – you are doing great! I honestly think you are fabulous for being able to take on a second language like you are! I took French classes for years, and for one school year we had a French foreign exchange student living with us. When her parents traveled to the US to pick her up, I remember being terrified to speak French with them, even though I was 100% competent enough to carry on conversations. It is so intimidating: I applaud you for continuing to learn…of course you are going to make mistakes along the way…but that is how you learn! :)

    P.S. – those hot air balloon photos are so cool!

  5. Anna
    Anna says:

    Joy: You are doing such a great job, don’t worry about those mistakes because as far I’ve notice you are better than me LOL

  6. audrielle
    audrielle says:

    your doing amzaing! i would have never guessed english wasnt your native laungage. i just came across your blog through your wedding dress on burdastyle. im lovin thhe blog! i have a great friend from brazil and when she came here she knew none! now she speaks it beautifully and even now knows spanish. your doing great! i had a taste of what you feel i went to panama as a teenager for two months, its hard but great learning tool to just be emmersed. good job

    Pins, Needles, & Kids

  7. Paulina
    Paulina says:

    Yo tambien soy chilena y de casualidad encontre tu blog, la verdad es que te entiendo completamente el cambio es gigante yo tambien lo estoy viviendo, pero si no tratamos nunca lograremos nada ;) Sigue adelante lo estas haciendo muy bien. Me encantan las cosas que haces eres muy talentosa (:

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