In case you’re not a Spanish speaker, the title of this blog post translates to “my Spanish is very rusty.” Although I studied Spanish for eight years straight and in that time lived in three different Spanish speaking countries (Costa Rica, Spain and Mexico) having some incredible language adventures along the way, my verbal Spanish skills are “drying up” as the English idiom goes. While I watch Spanish channels like Telemundo and Univision alternating between crazy morning shows (daily astrology reports are just as common as the daily weather reports) and even crazier telenovelas (Spanish soap operas make American soap operas seems normal) in addition to reading Spanish news and novels (I recently finished La Vida Secreta de las Abejas-The Secret Life of Bees), I don’t really have opportunities to speak Spanish myself save for talking to myself which is just, odd.
The last time I was in a Spanish speaking country was in 2008 when I visited Cancun, Mexico, the gringo playground (at least in the hotel zone you’ll hear a lot more ingles than espanol). While I did get to use my Spanish concerning problems with our reservation for a tour to Isla Mujeres and also chatted it up with the tour guides much to D’s consternation (hey what can I say, Latin men seem to like las pelirojas-red heads and I like any situations where I get to use my Spanish), that’s been it. I’ve certainly traveled enough a lot since then (Ireland, France, Belgium, Hawaii, a Caribbean cruise) but obviously none of those destinations speak Spanish. And while I’m looking immensely forward to our trip to Portugal in a few months, I’m somewhat intimidated by Portuguese. While on paper Portuguese looks remarkably similar to Spanish, pronunciation between the two languages is
very completely different.
As I’m forever looking ahead, I can’t help but daydream about possible places to travel to next year. I’ve been thinking more and more about wanting next year to be one of my bucket list trips, a trip that isn’t just a trip, a trip that is on par with “dream worthy.” While I’m dying to visit Peru, specifically for the sole purpose of seeing Machu Picchu (and yes, I do know there is more to Peru than its most visited site), $1500 plane tickets and my fear of altitude sickness ruining a trip (I’m a sea level person after all) are somewhat intimidating to me. While I know that plane fares can certainly go down (at least I hope), altitude sickness is a constant. So then I think of another dream destination-Turkey. But visiting Turkey would be the farthest thing from using my Spanish. You see how much of a dilemma it is?
There’s certainly plenty of other Spanish speaking destinations I want to visit (las islas Galapagos, Colombia, Panama, Guatemala, Argentina’s Patagonia region), none have the same allure for me as seeing one of the most iconic sites-the ruins of Machu Picchu rising from out of the clouds. So yes I know if I’m ever going to make it to Peru it’s a matter of “manning up.” But seeing the Blue Mosque, the Hagia Sophia and the lunar landscape of the Cappadocia region have just as much of an allure for me.