Tags: bilingual, English speaking, Spanish speaking
When I was in middle school, I had the opportunity to take both a Spanish and French class. The purpose of this was too choose a language I wanted to continue to take throughout middle school and high school. It didn’t take me long to realize that Spanish was the right road for me. Even back then there was talk about Spanish becoming a dominant language in America and I was going to be prepared. Little did I know that I would fall in love with the language, speak it very well, only to lose it all.
Learning language aligns directly with my love of writing. I wasn’t the type of student who took on extra credit or really did anything more than I needed to to get good grades (hey! I had a life to live) but I actually voluntarily handed in extra credit assignments for Spanish — I translated Alanis Morrissette songs. I just loved the language, and was lucky enough to have two great teachers that made it easy to learn. My high school teacher taught me Spanish all four years, and when it came to junior year and I was a hair away from qualifying for the Advanced Placement course, I went before a committee to fight for my opportunity, and won.
My ability to speak, understand and write Spanish was validated in a way when I took placement tests for college. I received 6 college credits just from taking the test, which I breezed through. But when it came time to sign up for my classes, they told me that I would be starting at the junior level, and as a freshman in my first term, I couldn’t take a Spanish class. This was the beginning of the end of my Spanish career. By the time second semester came around, the damage had already been done. I did end up struggling through a Spanish minor with classes that were filled with native speakers and readings in 19th century Spanish literature, but my ability to communicate in Spanish has jumped ship.
Nowadays, I can understand some Spanish and speak a little, but not the way I used to. If I were in a situation where I had to use it, it would come back, I’m sure. But it wouldn’t be easy. But in America, nearly everyone speaks English. It’s not like in Europe where most people speak two or three languages. So I don’t foresee an emergency situation while I’m in the homeland.
Instead of taking Spanish my freshman year, I took Linguistics, where I learned that the ideal time to learn a new language is between the ages of 3 and 11. While this may be true, if you are immersed in a language, you will likely learn it no matter your age. The challenge is keeping it.
Tags: divorce, engaged, life time partners, long term relationships, marriage
Last week, I poked my head into a colleague’s office — a man who I knew was on vacation when I made my engagement announcement to my company and I knew he’d be happy to hear the news. I also knew he would join the ranks of those giving me advice, and his advice would be truly genuine and meaningful because it would be more about my pending marriage rather than my wedding. If this man could speak with every couple in the world that was considering divorce, he would singlehandedly reduce the divorce rate significantly. I know I won’t be able to repeat word for word what he said to me but I wanted to share a few things that really stuck with me.
He told me that the person you marry today will not be the same person in 10 years, 20 years, or 30 years, and I won’t be the same woman either. We will experience things that will change our lives and change who we are. We will be broken down and built back up. Our relationship will change. Our priorities will change. We will make decisions we never imagined we would make, or have to make. The beauty of marriage is being able to grow together, to change together, to accept the changes, and support each other through the good times and the bad.
He said that he mourns the end of his friends’ relationships. Happily married for 20 plus years, he can’t imagine throwing all of that time away. You can’t celebrate your children’s accomplishments together, or your grand children’s. You give up having someone to share your life and memories with, the one you built so much with.
I’ve heard him talk about his wife and relationships many times, and it’s amazing to see how much he still loves her. It’s incredibly admirable and something to look up to. He told me about his wedding day, how they really made it their own. How he sang a duet with his professional opera singing wife even though he has no singing talent at all and how he replays that moment in his mind all the time. He told me the officiate of the ceremony was a very wordy man. When the officiate spoke he waited patiently and nervously for the moment to say “I do,” and how he spoke too soon. The officiate wasn’t done with his shpeal yet so he was going to have to say it again. When the officiate was really done he said “I still do.”
I still do. He and his wife had that saying engraved on their rings.
10 years from now, 20 years from now, 30 years, I want to say I still will.
I still will.