Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Let's eat a movie!

Those of you familiar with Spanish probably know the difference between "la cena" (dinner) and "el cine" (a movie), but in the heat of the moment it is easy to confuse them -- ask me how I know. It was probably not as big a gaffe as the time I went flying across a lurching train and landed spreadeagled on a very surprised man, blurting out "I am pregnant!".

Me talk pretty one day.

I just spent two week in the Yucatan (Mexico) at Solexico, a language school discovered by Gini Courter, who has arranged discounts for UUs who attend. It is worth the time -- I was only there a week, trying to regain some long lost fluency, though many go who start with nothing. I have no illusions that this will now allow me to function fully as a dual language social justice worker, but it does help create an underlying context and understanding of the issues we are moving into with the influx of Spanish-speaking people into the US, documented or not. Spanish is the fourth largest most commonly spoken language in the world, after English, Mandarin, and Hindi, and after English the most commonly spoken second language. Almost 40% of the people in California are of Hispanic or Latino/a origin. Though most of them speak "my" language, the cultural context of knowing more of "theirs" is invaluable.

The Solexico teachers were well primed by the UUs who came before us -- and clearly intrigued. It provided an interesting opportunity to explain who we were and what our faith was based on in another language. Located in Playa del Carmen (there are others in Oaxaca , Puerto Vallarta, and Guanajuato) the area is safe, easy to get to, and within minutes of world class beaches and eco-parks. Classes are small and pegged to your level in grammar or conversation. My class included Irvin Waller, a Canadian Unitarian from Ottawa who is a well known expert in prevention of violence, so the conversations were pretty interesting.

I realize not everyone is in a position to spend several weeks in a language camp, but most of us can take advantage of learning opportunities that are essentially free (there are many free podcasts on the web, for example). If you have ever thought about brushing up on, or starting your Spanish, do so.

Justice GA is only a beginning.

Next post: a few more January UUA Board items

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