I retraced my bike ride from yesterday, this time Rafaela accompanied me. We even went to REI again like I did yesterday. She was excited to ride her bike, Maria, and I was excited to see the beautiful lake again at the foot of the mountains. We watched the ducks swim around for a while before heading back. Today was her mother’s surprise birthday party, we had to be at Rafa’s aunt’s by 2:30 and she wanted to take me out for some good vegan food beforehand, we were fully booked for the day.
Rafa asked if I was ready to be the outsider at the party, the only person who can’t speak and understand Espanol. To be honest, I was excited. I’ve been so inspired to learn the language since I’ve been on the road meeting all sorts of bilingual people. It seems silly to me to only know English. I know there’s situations out there where the true meaning of a statement gets lost through translation or doesn’t even translate at all. To hear something in another language and to understand it only in that way is fascinating to me.
I met her cousins, aunts and uncles in the backyard around the patio. The band was warming up, singing and playing songs en Espanol and any conversation I heard was foreign to my ears aside from a few words here and there. After we successfully surprised her mother the party went on non-stop. Everyone ingested the food and the music, the beer and tequila and danced into the dusk. I did my best to talk to friends and cousins en Espanol. Luckily, they all spoke English so I could fall back on my native tongue and they could tell me how to say certain things. I feel so lucky for the experience.
Language is an extensive puzzle, una rompecabeza, that we can allow to keep us separated or we can help each other understand as best we can. I’m certainly no expert in Spanish, nowhere near fluent, it will be a work in progress. It’s sad how much opportunity to learn I’ve wasted instead of embraced. It’s never too late to learn something new, even if all you learn is that you want to learn. That’s where I’m at, I want to learn, I wish I felt this way in high school. Oh well.