July 3, 2010 | Greek

International Swimming

At my gym's pool, many languages are spoken.

Today I once again did a combination of Rosetta Stone and Pimsleur. These days I am learning how to say things like “towel,” “plastic,” “concert,” and “Unfortunately, my husband does not like to travel. He prefers to stay at home.”

I try to do Pimsleur when I am doing something else, such as stretching, or roaming around the city. Since you need to be at a computer for Rosetta Stone, it does not permit multitasking. Therefore, I have to be strategic about my studying schedule.

For example, this afternoon I did Pimsleur on my way back and forth to my gym’s pool. The pool I am using right now is in a large Times Square hotel, which means that swimming is an extremely international experience.

Times Square Was Hopping

Times Square Was Hopping

Too Bad It's Not More Colorful

Too Bad It’s Not More Colorful

Today I shared a swimming lane with someone from India, a pleasant and loquacious male-to-female transgender, while in the adjacent lane was a new Korean acquaintance of mine, a charming woman I met on a previous visit to the pool.

Times Square was packed this afternoon. Now that parts of it are closed to traffic, it is an amazing place to visit. It makes me happy to see how radically it has changed since I first arrived in New York in 1990.

Instead of strip clubs and other dicey establishments, there are architecturally appealing corporate headquarters and many stores selling chocolate, toys, shoes, and everything else an international traveler might want to buy.

Yeah, it’s commercial, but one shouldn’t romanticize danger. Pickpocketing and other crimes have declined dramatically, families can roam around with small children without being overwrought with anxiety, and aesthetically it has made the leap from scary to beautiful.

Back to a previous subject now. I don’t mean to belabor this point, but today, although I noticed less chocolate, there was way too much cake in my Rosetta Stone lessons.

Things like: The girl has some cake. The woman has more cake than the girl. The boy has the most cake of all. All with accompanying photos of increasingly large volumes of delicious-looking cake.

The situation is getting ridiculous. And I am feeling a little vulnerable right now because of my involuntary vacation from running.

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