This trip has made it very clear to me how the brain associates certain situations and people with certain languages. For example, kids who always speak German with Dad, French with Mom, and English when they're all together, have NO problem keeping the languages straight. You can even throw in a Russian-speaking nanny and the kid will speak all four languages.
But start to mix it up? Then things get complicated... If Mom starts speaking German, or Dad starts speaking French... Then you're bound to have a confused kid for a while. It will all work out after a period of adaptation, but it won't happen right away.
That's what's happening to me. The American, who is used to teaching French and Spanish, but lives in Moscow, and is in Italy with her Russian school. Uh, yeah. It's messy. Throw in the German tourists I had to speak with this morning so they wouldn't sit at our students' tables and you get A VERY MESSED-UP TAMARA.
My colleagues think it's a hoot! My brain simply registers that I'm not speaking English, so I then think I'm using the right language. But I keep sitting down to conversations between the hotel staff and my Russian colleagues, when I'm supposed to translate. They all sit there with poker faces, curious how long it will it take before I realize I'm speaking Russian to the Italians and vice versa!
At the end of the day, though? I'M LOVING IT! I am SUCH a language geek! I'm amazed how my Italian has come back and I'm having so much fun with it.