Brown Girl's Burden
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Mother Tongue Tied

I don’t speak Spanish.

There, I said it.  It’s out there. Done.

Sure, I can say my last name with the requisite rolling ‘r’s, but that seems only to confuse the issue.  Rolling the shit outta that ‘r’ when I introduce myself by full name causes Latinos and non-Latinos alike to assume I’m a fluent Spanish speaker.

I am not.

Once my ‘secret’ is out, I experience something akin to the (insert number here) stage of grief: shock, incredulity, disappointment or (my favorite) pity. ¡Pobresita!

In recent years, my tolerance for this reaction has lowered. So much so that I’ve taken the affirmative step to do something about it.

I am the proud (and slightly apprehensive) owner of Rosetta Stone’s Spanish, Levels 1-5. Woo-hoo (Blur-style)!!

Will it work? No, I mean, will it really work?  Will I be speaking in rapid-fire (ahem, fuego rapido) fluency by the time I get through Level 5?  The commercials I’ve seen for the past ten years tell me so.  Now, I’m ready to believe it. We shall see.

Cards on the table here; I’m not ENTIRELY a lost cause. ( I don’t think, anyway.) I did take Spanish I and II in high school (those pesky Texas credits requirements) and close to 4 semesters in college (those pesky Texas credit requirements).

But it didn’t take.

Throughout my life, since I was a first-grader in Houston enrolled in a bilingual program that was really for English-acquisition for Spanish-speaking kids (not the other way around), I didn’t take the process seriously.  I was content to complete class assignments, content to roll those ‘r’s’, content to answer in English when spoken to in Spanish, and content to linguistically trip through asking for directions down Argentina way.

Honestly, though, the time’s come for me when the desire, the time, space and will are intersecting. I’m going to give this Spanish-thing a real, honest try. That’s the difference, I think.  And that’s how I succumbed to Rosetta’s siren call.

I’ll let you know how it’s going.

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