If you would have told me seven years ago my husband and I would be living in Mexico, with our two daughters that I birthed here, I would have suspected that you were using illegal narcotics.
I had one of those almost-laughing-out-loud, how-did-I-get-here? moments yesterday while attending an hour-long, all-Spanish meeting at Lila’s preschool.
Where am I? Whose life is this? Why is it 98 degrees at 6 p.m. in September? Why does is hurt my brain so much to concentrate on what they’re saying?
Even five years ago when we moved here I would have never suspected that I would have been confident enough to voluntarily attend an all-Spanish meeting. At that point, I was still attempting to translate EVERY single word that people said in Español.
My sister finally explained to me that I needed to listen and not translate. That was a huge a-ha moment. (I miss Oprah.)
I am by no means incredible in the ‘ole Spanish world, but I understand quite a lot. Sure, I still need help here and there. My conjugations are usually off, but I try. I’ll have a conversation in Español with anyone, but you just might not know what I’m saying. Praise the Lord that I have hands and that when I get really stuck, I can gesture.
My respect for anyone who speaks English as a second language has grown exponentially since living here. There’s nothing more humbling than moving to another country and not speaking the language. In my opinion, you have a get-out-of-jail-free card for the first year or so… then it’s time to learn. And you know what, ya’ll? Learning a new language and speaking it on a regular basis is hard.
So yeah. I can’t believe I live in Mexico. I can’t believe I had my children here. And I can’t believe that yet again I was the only gringo in a room full of Mexicans. And I can’t believe that I was so ok with it.
By the way, whenever I’m the lone American I am ever-so-thankful for how welcoming this community is. Perhaps the ‘ole U.S. of A. should take a lesson from their neighbors to the south and be just as welcoming to them. (Opening immigration reform conversation now.)
Cabo is lovely for so many obvious reasons, hello 350 days of sunshine per year… but it’s lovely because the people are kind and patient with Gringas like me.
P.S. When Vivienne started fussing during the meeting, one of the administrators of the school held her and took her outside so that I could listen. Um. Hello super-nice, family-oriented culture.