May 26, 2010 | Spanish
Just Six More Days of Spanish
A flashcard-studying, Spanish-news-watching kind of day.
I have mostly abandoned the grammar books. Not entirely, but the focus of my Spanish work in the past week has been studying flashcards, watching Spanish-language television, and reading El Diario, the Spanish-language newspaper here.
Most of my news these days is therefore coming to me from Spanish-language sources. Today I read a tragic story in El Diario about Mexico and the drug wars and the many traumatized orphans of Juárez whose parents have been lost to violence. I have also been reading a great deal about SB1070, in Spanish, and I am getting both TV and print news about Mexico-U.S. relations—from a Hispanic point of view.
Yesterday and today I taught writing classes at a New Jersey company. I took car service both days, both ways, and each of the four drivers spoke a different language (or rather, languages). My driver this morning told me he was from Kurdistan. He speaks Kurdish, Turkish, and English, and he and his wife are raising their two children to be able to speak all three as well.
I asked him numerous questions about Kurdish and his language background. He was very nice about my grilling him, but at one point he looked at me in the rear view mirror and said, “Do you ask all your drivers these same questions?”
I could not tell a lie. I confessed that he was not the only person I had ever asked these types of questions. I said, however, that though I was indeed inclined to ask questions along these lines, I hadn’t previously asked the exact same questions. I said that our conversation was unique. He smiled and said he would tell me anything I wanted to know.
Tonight Brandt and I bought a picnic blanket and went to Great Lawn in Central Park, where I studied my flashcards and he prepared for some auditions tomorrow. This is a special time of year, because it is warm enough to be outside in the evenings, and yet the mosquitoes still haven’t quite figured things out. I despise mosquitoes. Unfortunately, they do not despise me.
My Spanish vocabulary is definitely much bigger than it was before I began this review at the start of April. I wish I had learned more, though. I still have six days. I have to squeeze in as much as I can before I go to Greek.
As I was writing this last paragraph, a mosquito flew in our window and bit me.