I’m learning Spanish late in life. Let me re-phrase that. I’m re-learning Spanish late in life. My immigrant grandparents spoke only Spanish, so I have a little early childhood experience of the language. And I can still roll my R’s well enough to impress my classmates. But I haven’t spoken Spanish since I was five so I’m verrrry rusty.
I signed up for Spanish because my future daughter-in-law and her family are from South of the Border and I thought it’d be enlightening to know what they’re saying about me when I meet them. Just kidding. I just want to impress them. And, also, I’d like to visit Spain, the land of my maternal ancestors, before I croak. I figure knowing the language will be a plus in a strange land. My helpful boyfriend insists all I have to be able to say is, “Donde está el baño?” Why bother with all the rest? Nice.
There are about 15 of us in this class, all at least 60 years old. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Well, that’s not entirely true, but it sure takes a lot longer! Much has been made of keeping the brain juicy in your golden years by learning a new skill. And we’re trying, God help us. We’re trying. But it’s more like trying to bring an old dog back to life.
I mean, we have enough trouble trying to remember our native tongue. When I talk to someone these days, a particular word I’m after often circles endlessly, just out of reach, before it decides to land. But, still my classmates and I give it our best shot.
Our colorful instructor is a jolly, pot-bellied, florid-faced fellow fluent in Spanish and French. He favors plaid shirts and is half blind, sticking his nose right into the textbook, speaks in a booming voice, and loves to tell stories–his favorites being a little R-rated. And if you ask a question, don’t expect a short answer!
It’s a hoot and a half. I don’t know how we ended up with so many comedians in the class, but we can’t go more than ten minutes without cracking up. There must be something in the air ducts. Or maybe we just need some comic relief to keep our overheated brains from seizing up!