This is my first post in a series of exposés regarding the trials and tribulations of a white girl and a Hispanic boy falling in love.
#1 Learning the Language
Mario was born in Ecuador, and until the age of 19 he had little exposure to English. He did take English classes in school, but just like Americans take French with no real purpose for future use, Mario didn’t care much for the language. That is until he visited Chicago and fell in love with the Windy City, deciding to make it his future forever home. English not only became a necessity, it became a priority. Two years of English language classes, two college degrees later, and here Mario is an English language speaker, but very much still an English language learner.
Because of this, there have been multiple times that our conversations are “lost in translation”: “I love fuck music!” he said once.
“Um…While that’s great babe, I don’t really know what you mean…”
“You know, Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, fuck music!”
“Ohhhh! Folk music!! Let’s practice the long o sound now,” I said through fits of laughter.
My other personal favorite is his affinity for hillbillies and the use of the word “hilla-billy” when he explains how much he loves tv shows about them.
And while these sayings are endearing in English, I’m certain that I won’t be quite so cute learning Spanish. Because Mario’s parents and his entire family speak Spanish, it would behoove me to begin the treacherous uphill battle of learning the language. I took French for 5 years, so I at least have a grasp of the Latin scheme, but I literally know 10 words in Spanish. Not much of a conversation can take place when hola, como estas, and gracias are the main phrases I can say with a Hispanic accent.
If this 3-month long relationship progresses into a full-blown affair, I will be meeting his parents this summer, hanging around his family often, and potentially having kids who’ll speak Espanol. That means, I better learn! So for now, it’s being taught a Spanish phrase a day from Mario, reading every sign I see in Spanish trying to match words in English, and beginning an online language course. It’ll be hard, but trying new things is what you do when you’re falling in love, right?