While most of my friends were partying during our early years and engaged in unmentionable activities (at least that’s what I heard), I had my head buried in books. Sometimes I lost in conversations with old friends because I wasn’t present when they had some of their most harrowing adventures. In my early 20’s I was fixated on history, biographies and languages. I never dreamed that all those years of reading, studying sans an objective, just for the love of learning, would one day prove to be beneficial.
When I complete my tour of Brazil I go immediately to Mexico. I’ll spend 3 weeks in Mexico visiting schools there and celebrating “El Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead).” If you’re unfamiliar with the Day of the Dead then just do a quick internet search. It is an amazing tradition in Mexico.
When I first moved to Los Angeles in the late 80’s, one of the first things I noticed where I was living was the high number of people surrounding me that did not speak English. The majority of them spoke Spanish and most were also from Mexico. I began teaching myself Spanish in order to be able to communicate with those around me. Back during that time I figured that, if there are a huge number of the population that speaks Spanish then maybe I should learn a little something as well.
I was so driven to acquire fluency that I even attended a local community college for a couple of years to get the rules of grammar, syntax, verb conjugation and cultural literacy under my belt.
The reason why I’m explaining all of this is because I had no clue at the time that language would play such a pivotal role in my life. I explored language for the joy of it. I immersed myself in cultures for the pure fun of it. I would love to say that I had some intellectual pursuit in mind or that I had the foresight of wisdom but that wouldn’t be true.
Anyway… here I am preparing for a trip to tour both Brazil and Mexico to share my music and stories. Had I chosen to do many of the things my peers were doing during our youth, I would not be in the position I am today to exploit my acquired skills/talents.
There is a Spanish dicho (saying or proverb) that I’ve always held on to whenever it I reached a point of exasperation with attempting to gain language fluency: Poco a poco se van lejos (little by little one goes far). I’ve subscribed to that philosophy in many areas of my life and it has really served me well.
To say that I’m excited about my upcoming trip to Mexico would be an understatement. I’m hoping to explore some of the ancient Aztec structures, hear the Nahuatl language spoken regularly and visit some of the battle grounds where Gaspar Yanga fought for liberation.
I think, when I return, that I will have so much more to share with my dual immersion schools and billingual audiences.
I’ll keep posting while in Brazil and Mexico and, hopefully, you’ll share your comments with me as I travel. I look forward to it!