Tuesday, January 11, 2005

i have to learn how to speak spanish

last sunday was perfect. earlier in the afternoon when byron l. was with us, we skipped the museum and had a leisurely brunch. then we wandered around, talking ideas and eventually stopping at the angelica movie theater for tea. byron l. had dinner plans, so john f. and i went someplace else to see "the life aquatic." the acoustic bowie songs that were sung in portuguese left us in such a great mood that we went to virgin to get the soundtrack before we headed home but i got sidetracked in the gospel section because i found a three in one tramaine hawkins box set and some early andre crouch.

john f. is from new jersey but his parents are columbian and because they never bothered to learn english, he speaks both english and spanish fluently. he also speaks some french and he's learning japanese, thanks to his girlfriend who's a model from tokyo and who'll be relocating here in the spring.

on new year's day when i finally woke up, i made a list of things that i wanted to do in 2005. one of them was to learn a foreign language. but writing it down and wanting it very much isn't enough to make it happen. there has to be a viable plan of action. being with john f. and listening to him speak spanish (and understanding most of what he said) made me realize that i don't need to go to a foreign country to learn the language. that's been my excuse for years. i need to get a textbook and learn words and phrases. i need to join one of those groups that just sits around and talks. i need a class. something.

i want to go to cuba. the entire island has been pulling on the inside of me like a gigantic magnet for years now. i don't know why i feel like it belongs to me. i have this persistent daydream that occasionally seeps into my thoughts as i sleep at night: i'm wandering around in cuba dressed in vintage clothing, learning the language and singing, and i'm dancing. i also want to go to mexico city and make a music video for my cd with abraham castillo. and i want to sing and write songs with manu chao. and alejandro escovedo.

"what are you doing to learn the language," john f. said in his usual point-blank way. "you're not working at it." he's right. i live in a spanish neighborhood, for crying out loud. hardly anyone ever bothers to speak english, especially the children and the old people. i understand a lot more than i let on, that's for sure.

it's january. i have 11 months. by the end of the year, i may not be fluent but i can at least be conversational.

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