22 January 2011


Well well well, I’ve been in Granada for a little over a week, and so far, so good. I have a forty-minute walk to school, which will be excellent for my legs, heart, and overall well-being, and I see the Sierra Nevada mountains daily.  The Andalusian accent is, well, really fucking difficult. The letters  “s” and “d” have been absent since my arrival, as have several other consonants if they fall at the end of a word. The elderly especially love to use as few letters as possible. What I thought to be Español is E’pañ’o. When my host mom asks if I want more food (to which I usually say no, and she endearingly puts an adolescent male athlete-sized portion on my plate anyway), she does not ask, “Quieres más comida?” but “Quiere’ má’ comi’a?” I would equate the Andalusian accent to Hagrid’s British accent: “All righ’, Harry?”

Meet my Señora, or host mom: Pepita, seventy-year old extraordinaire who gives me obscene amounts of food and constantly yells. “QUIERE MA’ COMI’A? AY, SI, SI COME MA’! UN POQUI’O MA’!” (Translation: “DO YOU WANT MORE FOOD? AH, YES, YES, EAT MORE. JUST A LITTLE MORE!” If I didn’t walk two hours a day, she would make me rather plump. Joining us daily is Natalia, Pepita’s nine-month-old granddaughter. In general, I am not fond of infants, but Natalia is the cutest goddamn baby in Andalucía, y por eso, no pasa nada. The rest of Pepita’s family must share similar sentiments, because they go ape shit over this baby. My first day at the house, Pepita’s two daughters visited, along with her two other grandchildren, and her sister-in-law. With Natalia as the primary recipient of the action and affection, the two grandmothers began to yell in tandem and dance, while the two daughters (who are in their thirties) jumped up and down clapping, and the grandchildren shouted, “Na-ta-li-a! Na-ta-li-a!” while running around. I, the awkward foreigner, sat on the couch smiling politely, not really sure what my role in this family was yet. I still don’t know what my role is, but I held Natalia for a bit today. I’m afraid to talk to her because I do not want to impede her language development by letting her hear my horrid Spanish.  Nonetheless, I eat lunch with Pepita and Natalia and Emi, Pepita’s daughter, every day. Usually Natalia giggles and dances and puts forth a valiant effort in eating wooden puzzle pieces.  

If we were in an interview right now, and you asked me what my greatest challenges have been, I would respond the following way: Adjusting to the accent, adjusting to the eating and lack-of-sleeping schedule (Spanish days do not end—instead, they melt into one another continually), learning my way around (If you’re wondering where I am at any given point, I’m probably lost), and using the shower in a way that does not flood the bathroom (self-explanatory).

I’ve already addressed the accent issue, but furthermore, I need to stop writing and speaking English with my American counterparts. My Literary Quote of the Day on iGoogle once was, “To be fully alive in the present moment, you must die to every other moment.” (Or something to that affect.)  Here, to be fully living and learning Spanish, I need to let English die. I need to quit cold-turkey. Murder it in cold blood. Or do something else using some other metaphor that involves cold temperatures. I need to let it go. The Spanish language is my one true love, and I am cheating on it with English-- that minx.

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