I don’t get many opportunities to practice speaking Spanish these days. I don’t get many opportunities to speak at all these days. It is theoretically possible for me to get through my work day without speaking to anyone.
(This came up in one of Tuesday’s interviews. A concern was raised that the position I’m applying for requires meeting with people, and I’m “the quietest member of the team”. I pointed out that I spent 12 years at the front desks of the busiest medical centers in the city, and that I communicated with people from various cultures, social statuses, and levels of English proficiency. I pointed out that it just happens that my current position does not require constant interaction. I said that if I were talking a lot, it would mean that I wasn’t doing my job. Maybe I shouldn’t have added that last part, but I did.)
I’ve recently discovered a band from Vancouver, Canada named Pacifika. They perform songs in English and in Spanish – mostly Spanish, I think. I was listening to a song of theirs called “Chiquita” today. I was amazed at how many Spanish words I picked up. (It helped that the lead singer enunciates clearly.)
I picked up words like “naranjas” and “sonrisa”, and even the entire phrase “Caliente como el sol al mediodía”.
(In one of the lessons in the Spanish class I took at El Centro de la Raza, the teacher played a song in Spanish. When the song was over, we had to call out words we’d heard. It was a fun lesson.)
At lunch, I did a search for the lyrics for “Chiquita”. It was tough search, because Pacifika doesn’t seem to be a widely known band. I did find the lyrics, though.
I had very little difficulty reading the lyrics. They start: “Azul / Como el cielo que veo / Desde tu verde jardín / Y blancas / Las nubes de vainilla / Que forman mi alegría”. I misread “veo” as “I go” instead of “I see”. I guessed (correctly) what “vainilla” means. I had to look up “nubes” and “alegría”.
This is how I translated those first lines: “Blue / Like the sky I see / From your green garden / And white / Vanilla clouds / That form my happiness”.
Somewhere, my Spanish lessons sunk in.