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Archive for November, 2008

     Over these past six weeks, I have been experiencing all the drama of a new passionate relationship- with lots of highs and lows, moments of pure joy and contentment superseded by moments of pure frustration and loathing. Somedays, I wake up and can’t wait to continue, I literally long for more; while on other mornings I find that lingering feelings from  yesterday’s encounter have left me dreading what is to come. I am talking, of course, about my relationship with the Spanish language. 

     I can’t quite tell you what I was expecting when I boarded that plane in LA,  and I readily admit that this “not-knowing” was part of the charm. But here it is now, in front of me, and I have found that learning Spanish by these means has become one of the more interesting experiences of my life so far. When something clicks, I am elated- like when I manage to put the le, or the la, or the les, las, lo in the right place.  Times like these are  generally occasions that call for immediate self-congratulations. I have probably confounded multiple service workers in restaurants and cafes by expressing a joy that goes far beyond the normal server-customer bounds. But, alas, I can’t help it that successfully ordering  a tuna sandwich with extra tomatoes, hold the mayonnaise, please, and an agua fresca “para tomar” leaves me giddy.  It has been during these moments that I have learned nothing feels quite better than to be understood (even if all you are saying is “do you feel well,” which, by the way, is “te enuentras bien?”), unless, of course, that thing is to understand. Thanks to the very kind and patient Spaniards around me, the being understood part  has been getting better and better- though I’m positive most of the time I must sound like a 5 year old, or worse. The understanding part is also improving, like a thick fog which is very slowly burning off. I don’t think there is any better way for me to describe how it feels. 

     Taking on this challenge has also been teaching me a lot about humility– since in the pursuit of learning Spanish I make a fool of myself daily.  Like the other night, when I confused “nadar”- to swim, with “nacir,”- to be born, and asked one of my girls “Were you born today?” And I am anxiously awaiting the moment when I confuse “cajones”- drawers, with “cojones”- testicles. I will, of course, report this transgression when it occurs. Perhaps I will just do it on purpose to get it out of the way. 

     Ultimately, and above and beyond the frustrating moments (like learning how to use the 4–count them FOUR types of past tenses in the Spanish language), I am the most excited when I leave a conversation, or a class session, and realize that despite my errors, I was able to fully participate. So, Spanish, though sometimes you infuriate me, confuse me, utterly bewilder and act colds towards me,  I know that it is not you, it’s me.  Alas, it will always be me that has to change, because, Spanish, you are nothing if not constant. And who am I to argue with a thing that has existed for hundreds of years, and will continue to go on long after I’m gone?

    Espanol, te quiero.

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Birthday Update!

This morning I woke up late (like I do every Saturday morning) and was immediately greeted with a chorus of “Happy Birthday to you!” Sung in perfect english by the wonderful Spanish family that has been kind enough to take me in for the duration of my European adventure :). It was a wonderful greeting! In Spain, instead of saying “Feliz Cumpleanos”, or “Happy Birthday,” they more commonly say “Felicidades.” So, it’s almost like “Happy Birthday! And congratulations for making it through another year of life!”

I am very excited right now, not only because it’s my birthday, but also because I am so happy to be finally clearing off the cobwebs and dusting of this blog… which has been so sadly neglected for over a month now. Long story short, my computer died a week before I was leaving for Spain, and it wasn’t completely fixed until after I arrived. Then it took over a month to get here, and had to sit in Spanish customs for awhile. But, many phone calls and faxes to the post office and customs office later, here I am with my Mac again. Reunited, and it feels so good. (Although, I did loose my hard drive, so I would love any kind of music donations!)

Ok, now onto Barcelona. Short response: I love it here. Love it love it. 

Long Response:

It has been five weeks since I left California. During these five weeks, I have gone to 20 hours of Spanish lessons per week, taken the train multiple times per day, bought new boots, gone to three different offices to finish my visa documents, had a cold, had the stomach flu, ate some food that did not agree with my stomach, saw Park Guell, the outside of La Sagrada Familia, La Caderal and the Gothic District, walked down Las Rambles, had multiple meals with a wonderful great big Spanish family (with INCREDIBLE food), drank lots of excellent wine and met lots of excellent people. I know this is all so general, in future blogs I promise to be more specific. But I just don’t think I will be able to adquietly cover a whole 5 weeks worth of Barcelona goodness in on post.

But now, oh blog, I have come back to you, and I promise considency.

That’s all for now, until next post! 🙂

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