Friday, October 24, 2008

A night in Mexico

I have such fond memories of Mexico: the purple bougenvilla that cascade like waterfalls down stucco, the taco vendors on the street, the music, the hot sidewalks, the booming discos, the people who welcome you like a long lost family member. Last night I was able to revive my love for Mexico, and practice my ever failing Spanish.

I met Mireya one year ago on http://www.meetup.com/, a place where people can get involved in social groups. She is a slender, dainty woman, beautiful, who used to be a ballerina in Mexico. I wanted to practice Spanish and she needed to practice English. We hung out a few times but I lost touch after moving to Bainbridge. This week she wrote me out of the blue on Facebook, and we decided to meet at Twist in Belltown, with another Mexican woman, who's currently a disc jockey on an AM Spanish station in town.

The first hour I spoke little, and mostly listened and asked simple questions. I understood the majority of the Spanish, which made me happy, but when I tried to speak my brain couldn't quite communicate with my mouth. The words felt like thick, cotton puzzle pieces, heavy and awkward. I couldn't roll my "R's" like I used to, or speak rapidly and with confidence. It changed a bit after two Cosmopolitans, but I know I need to practice. Luckily, now I have reconnected with these wonderful Mexican women, who I hope to see once a month or so.

After that, I met up with David's sister and we went to see Linda Ronstadt, who is a quarter Mexican and was celebrating los "Canciones de mis padres," or songs of her parents. There was an incredible mariachi band, complete with sombreros and tight pants. Mexicans at the Paramount Theatre behind us whistled and sang loudly, as white people turned and glared, hissing "SHHHHH". Like we can't let these Mexicans enjoy their own songs in Seattle. I didn't give a rats butt if they sang out loud like that. We were all having fun. I wonder what those crotchety ladies would have done if I started whooping and hollering in Spanish. Trust me, I was tempted.

I had a lovely evening, which reminded me how much I connect with, and love the Latino culture. David's family is Mexican (Tex-Mex), but it's a bit sad that none of them carry on the traditions, or even speak Spanish. Back in the day, his parents were ridiculed for speaking their native language, so they never taught it to their children.

Someday, I want to learn Spanish well enough that I can teach my own children to speak, and they can whoop it up to mariachi whenever their heart desires.

2 comments:

McJumpguez said...

I totally know what you mean! It was amazing watching Juan Gabriel here in Portland, absolutely amazing (and that blog is forever lost in myspace blogs.)
I'm privileged enough to have had my parents teach me Spanish, so I hope my insecurities don't get the best of me and I can teach my children my parent's language.

Paula said...

Uncle Bill and Aunt Barbara took a Spanish immersion class in San Miguel de Allende (?). You and David might like to do that! Definitely, many non white cultures seem to have the groove going (and which some of us white folks are lucky enough to encounter and have it expand the groove in us). My favorite story was an African guy whose dance class I play for. He said he saw a policeman sitting in his car looking stern, and said, "I just wanted to go out there and get him to shake it!"