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Archive for October, 2008

Sneezing Dandelion

Here I am at home when it’s Tuesday night and I really want to be at my Spanish class. I’m also missing Caitlin’s preschool potluck, which is actually quite near where my class is and would have made for a nice little walk after dinner and socializing. James and the girls are there as I write this and, while the quiet is soothing, I wish I was with them and heading off to increase my beautifully emerging Spanish linguistic skills. But, me siento mal 😦 Yes, the little bugs that have caused the bouts of sneezing and sniffling, which have been coming and going for the last three weeks, have finally decided that they love this pregnant body and threw a full blown fiesta on Sunday. And they’re still partying hard. They even pulled an all-nighter last night, though I finally managed to shut them down and get just under an hour’s sleep around 6am.

Surprisingly, I had a good day all things considered. Once I realized I can’t sleep because I simply can’t breathe (or hear very well for that matter), I spent the morning putting the finishing touches to my beautifully purged, organized and color-coded filing system that I worked on during the 7 sleepless hours I had all to myself last night. I’m trying to stay in one spot as much as possible to avoid the huge fits of sneezing that occur when I move from place to place, with accompanying fluctuations in air temperature. I’ve been reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Pigs in Heaven and have it on CD from the library at the moment. So I listened to that as I worked last night and this morning. I’m really enjoying this sequel to The Bean Trees and it helped make ignoring the “party animals bugs” much easier.

But now I’m missing Spanish class and feeling very disappointed. Maybe I’ll go watch one of my DVDs with the Spanish Language Track activated. Last week I watched Ang Lee’s Sense and Sensibility dubbed in Spanish (with the Spanish subtitles showing too) and had a blast (oh, what I do for kicks these days!). Watching Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, and Alan Rickman, and hearing Spanish coming out of their mouths, was not as bizarre as one might think. The dubbing was excellent and the voices suited them. And I managed to recognize some language in there that seems to have penetrated my brain. Some brain cells have been reactivated, yippee!!! Now let’s hope they don’t die a death from sleep deprivation as I weather through this heavy cold…

Image Credit: Grant Brown’s Highly Tooned Creations

Note: For related posts and more about my interest in languages you can check out my language page here.

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Mexico Belize Costa Rica
El Salvador Guatemala Honduras
Nicaragua Panama Argentina
Bolivia Chile  Colombia
Equador Paraquay Peru
Uruquay Venezuela Cuba

Dominican Republic Puerto Rico Spain

With the girls back in school and James loving his new job, I felt like I needed something of my own, something to challenge my brain (which seems to be newly restored after the first trimester exhaustion). I knew immediately that it had to involve languages. I miss learning a language. I had so much fun using my French during our trip last year when James took part in the PBP. I even had on opportunity to use my Japanese when I met three young women from Kyoto at the Louvre. Ah, the thrill of communicating with others in their language.

I’ve been feeling for a while that I would like to start on another language, but which one? Do I just try to brush up on my Irish, which I haven’t used in years and which is very rusty? Do I return to Italian, which I love and have dipped into occasionally just to hear that beautiful language? I have no practical use for it at the moment, though someday I’d like to visit Italy and will probably learn Italian for the pure joy of it even if I never go.

The other big candidate is Greek. I studied that a little over a decade ago, before James and I visited Athens and the Cyclade islands. On both of our trips to the Cyclades I was able to use it a little, though I discovered that, of course, you can get by without (a Greek café owner once said hello to me in Irish, and I have no earthly idea how the guy even knew I was Irish!). But needing a language is not the point. I like to be able to speak some of the language of anywhere I visit. It’s fun and  I feel it’s respectful. My choice finally came down to location.

I have been living in the States for nearly 9 years. All around me there are Spanish speaking people. Signs, magazines, newspapers, books, music, TV and movies are all readily available here. More importantly I have access to native speakers if I choose to seek them out. While training for the Seattle Marathon in 2006 , I needed to stop at a hotel to use the restroom and replenish my water bottle. The only staff member I came across was a Spanish speaking maid who didn’t speak any English. Fortunately, I’ve lived in foreign countries where I’ve struggled with the language for a while and I’ve learned the fine art of communicating with facial expression and gestures when words don’t work. We figured it out, but it has stayed with me. I am living in a country where unofficially Spanish is the second, widely spoken, language. Why not take advantage of this and give it a bash.

So, starting last night, my friend Rosemary and I are now taking a series of Beginner’s Spanish classes. Exciting times! My brain is smiling 🙂

Note: For related posts and more about my interest in languages you can check out my language page here.

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