Before I left for Costa Rica, I had a list of expectations concerning how I would progress in learning the language. The first month I expected to be completely lost. The second month I expected to be able to understand everything, and the third month I expected to be fluent. But what does fluent even mean?
Here's what I've observed in my Spanish-learning experience:
1) First day: Wow! I speak pretty darn well...but can't understand a thing that these people are saying.
2) First two weeks: I was wrong, I'm actually pretty bad at Spanish... I can't understand or speak well. Good thing I'm not afraid to draw pictures and act out what I'm trying to say.
3) After one month: Oh! It turns out that the news anchors are actually saying words here... they're not just moving their toungues really fast and making Spanish noises.
4) After two months: I can understand the majority of what people say, I just don't speak very well.
5) 3 months: I've got this Costa Rican accent down!
6) 5 months: I can understand everything that people say and generally can respond well. I'm way faster conjugating verbs that I was before, I have a better feel of Spanish sentence structure, and the size of my vocabulary has grown significantly.
I definitely don't speak perfectly, but I've improved a lot!