They say that you never truly learn a second language until you're fully engulfed by it. I have never experienced that more than I do now on a regular basis. I've never lived anywhere where Spanish can always be heard, often more than English.
I had prided myself on my three years of high school Spanish, and then three years of college-level Spanish for so long... until I moved to Miami. What a wake-up call! It's difficult when you are actually trying to actively engage in conversations. I feel like I'm constantly translating in my head. The Cuban accent is particularly hard for me to understand, but lately I have noticed a change in that it is getting a little easier.
Whenever I see Israel's family, there's usually a lot of translating going on. And when I try to speak Spanish, I usually just say very short sentences. This hasn't been like a lot of relationships I'm used to forming, with so little communication. But despite all that, we've been able to form a bond, and I truly do love all of them a lot.
It's amazing that despite language barriers, you can still get along well with someone and learn about their personality, though it may not be through verbal communication.