Érase una vez you understood it all, lo que decían. There was a time cuando you could eavesdrop facilmente, when riding the bus era una lección en listening. You remember el sonido of the monkeys calling roll until late at night, the smell of café con leche simmering por la estufa. You stall when you can’t think of the right word in your native tongue. You question what makes it “native.” Y sometimes the words arise in dreams, your subconscious recordando lo que you forgot. It’s a certain manera de ser. Repeat after me: que practiques. Que no te olvides.
credit: EOI Fuengirola
Marta Moreno is pretty much one of the best teachers I have ever met. We met in 2006 when I was working as a bilingual educational assistant at en elementary school in La Cala de Mijas, Spain. Marta teaches English at the Escuela Oficial de Idiomas in Fuengirola--just across the street from the apartment where I lived. Once a week, my American friends and I would join her for a bilingual "teatro" club with several of her Spanish students who were in her English classes. Marta organized these classes on her own time with the help of Amy Nickerson, a fellow American who, like me, had come to Spain as part of a national bilingualism-in-the-schools project. Each week we'd perform little skits in English and Spanish, in part just for kicks, and in part to engage that language part of our brain that was still transitioning from English to Spanish.
Marta and I often talked about writers and artists we liked in various languages, and by the end of the year she had become a wonderful friend and resource. This year, she emailed me to say that she and her class at the EOI were making an international magazine. She was asking around her international friends to see if we would contribute a short piece about the cities where we lived. I passed her along some notes about San Francisco, along with some photos. Today she emailed me to share the results of their year of hard work, and it is really well done:
Whether you speak English, Spanish, German or French -- whether you're an armchair traveler or a Trotemundos (Globetrotter), you'll love the work they've done.
Y a Marta y su clase de escritores, disenadores y artistas: bien hecho!