I used to speak Spanish well.

The timing was bad. My best year speaking Spanish overlapped the year I lived in France. I spent an unreasonable amount of time flirting with the Argentinean director of the youth housing in Paris, after a summer of sangria, salsa dancing, and getting over Eduardo. Eventually, though, I had to speak French. And while that was great for my French, I lost my facility in speaking Spanish. I could have practiced more in recent years–a lot more–but it is about more than the language.

The thing with languages is that once you really understand them, you realize that you are someone else when you are speaking them. You can translate a few sentences well enough, but then, a story is another thing. You can translate it, but it probably would not be told the same way in the other language. So, you start talking, and the story becomes what it becomes, and if you are speaking French, the story is not what it would have been in English, or in Spanish. So, the language is a diving board–and you have to climb out onto it, first. You have to jump before anything really happens.

I have been too lazy, or too afraid, perhaps. I am ready to jump. Again and again.


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