Sunday, April 18, 2010

Otra Vez

He wasn't that old this time, but I'll bunch him in with the others...

I went to a beach town to meet up with Mom, Dad, the staff from the daycare, and people from the boards of directors. We stayed in a gated community, and as I entered, the guard had to sign me in and check my car information. I knew that this guard probably spoke English, and so this was a good time to practice speaking in Spanish, knowing that if all else failed, I could go back to English.

I told him I was here with a certain group, and he asked if I knew what house we were in. I told him, the number of the house, and that my mom had told me that number. He instructed me to put my name on the first line of a page full of boxes, and asked me when I was planning on leaving the compound. I responded, and immediately his next question was "and where did you learn your Spanish?", as if it were next on a standard list of questions. I responded, "here", and he clarified that "here" meant Mexico. I said yes. He said "Eres Americana?" and I smiled and said, "yes, I am American".


Every learner needs affirmation of their efforts.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

why i run

I recently ran my first race. Before that, I swore I would never run a race. Most people didn't know how much I ran, or that I had been running for a while now (3 years, seriously). People seemed surprised, and when I admit that I'm used to running, I often receive a look or response of disgust/shock/pity. It's hard to describe to someone who doesn't run, what running feels like. I know how ridiculous this sounds, because if you had told me this 8 or 10 years ago, I would have had the same response. But I have found, in my short 3 years of running, some major reasons why I run. It seems like the list continues to grow all the time. Here we go - in no particular order.

*It makes me feel strong and healthy. I can't say that I do too many other things that make me feel this way, and I never felt this way while I was growing up. I started running to lose weight. That didn't happen. Instead, I gained a new appreciation for health and taking care of myself.

*Because I can. God gave me this fully-functioning body, and sometimes the thought smacks me across the face that not everybody can do this. I should put it to good use, take care of it, and enjoy the motion.

*Our bodies are amazing. You can train your body to do incredible things. I never wanted to run. Now I can run 7 or 8 miles without thinking about it. I shared with my mom one day about how strange it feels to be able to get up, run 7 miles, not be panting at the end, and not feel sore afterward. I have trained my body to do that. It's almost beyond my comprehension.

*Feeling free. Running is a free time. I get to be by myself, I get to focus on my goals. I get to move freely. I run when I'm angry (those are the long runs), I run when I'm happy, I run when I'm stressed.

*Setting goals. I get to set my own goals and achieve them -- and guess what? Nobody else has to know about them!

*Great legs. I mean... I don't want to brag or anything...

*Good hobby. Sometimes, I don't use my time wisely. In fact, I think I don't use my time wisely most of the time. But running is wise, and a good hobby.

*A morning run. There is something about it. A sunrise, the dew, the breeze, the quietness, the birds, the rush, the adrenaline. Starting off a day with a run is wonderful. Especially in Mexico.

*I have my famous cookies to eat.


Old Mexican men are my new favorites. It seems that if I ever have the chance to strike up a conversation with an older gentlemen, he will inevitably ask me where I learned my great Spanish. I attribute this to the surprise factor of me actually speaking Spanish, and perhaps this generation of Mexicans is not used to Americans taking the time to learn Spanish. Whatever the case, I can't help but smile and feel great for the opportunity to answer that question! While I am often frustrated that I didn't learn more grammatical correctness from school and books, I'm still a little proud that I've picked up my Spanish from conversations, from friends, from the people. However, I am often too embarrassed to speak in Spanish, especially in front of certain people. A lot of times I have to prevent myself from deferring to someone who is bilingual, or someone who speaks better Spanish. And too often I have to remind myself not to give up, that I actually can speak a good amount of Spanish. So to have some people understand me completely, ask where I learned my Spanish so well, and genuinely be kind about my Spanish - big deal for me.

Not to mention my favorite taco stand owner, who is always interested in my latest running habits, tells me how great I look lately, and asks me, "But, you're so skinny! How do you not have a boyfriend?"

Maybe I just need to wait around to be vieja. :)

Saturday, April 03, 2010


"For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement
that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed."
Isaiah 53:2-5