Learning Curves

  • Because I’ve been so busy with work in the recent weeks, my good intentions of learning some basic notions of Spanish have gone out the window for the most part. I say “for the most part” because I did occasionally look up a few words and read a few basic online lessons on conjugating the very important verb ser and memorizing possessive adjectives. However, in the last week or so, El Poema has taken on the role of drill-master; in fact, after tonight’s session, he has even given me some homework! He understands that the best approach for me is grammatical; there’s no use in throwing a lot of vocabulary my way if I don’t first grasp the mechanics of the language.
  • What’s more, the Queen of Sheba‘s daughter, Ms. R, who majored in Spanish at university, has offered to tutor me as well. She’s invited me over for dinner at her new abode on Friday night, although I doubt that occasion will double as my first tutoring session with her. But I’m looking forward to working on my Spanish with her, as she’s coming at it from the perspective of someone who, at one time, had to start from scratch. While I doubt I’ll be able to hold much of a conversation by Christmas, at least I’ll be able to grasp little bits here and there, and I’ll learn some more while I’m in Mexico. For as Ms. R said to me on the phone last night, Spanish speakers, particularly Latin Americans, are extremely generous towards those who express a genuine desire to learn the language — in terms of teaching as well as tolerating bad, bad grammar from someone who’s at least trying.
  • As I mentioned in an earlier post, some positive shifts are afoot at my day job, although I can’t be specific about them just yet. But I’m already having to learn new things there, too, and I’m loving it. There’s more and more variety and, yes, more and more responsibility, but that motivates me because [a] there’s never a dull moment and [b] just when things start getting routine, another new routine comes along and the job becomes new again. At least, that’s how a “glass half full” kind of guy like me tends to look at it.
  • Being in a relationship that is SO long-distance requires some learning, too. I’ve done the “long-distance thing” before, but not so far and not with someone who has inhabited my being as profoundly as El Poema. A lot of the learning revolves around acquiring flexibility so that we can think ahead generally but not get bogged down with details that are too time-specific. And that can be hard when the urgent desire to be physically together becomes overwhelming emotionally. Yet — perhaps paradoxically — we’ve individually come to realize that we each need a lot of personal space, so we’ve learned that not communicating for a few days in a row is not a statement on how we feel about each other. It’s just that the communication sometimes only reminds us too much of the distance, which on some days makes us sadder than on other days.

On Thursday, it will be exactly two years since the evening Ex Friend came to visit me with some KFC and who, upon hearing about my plight at the time, encouraged me to apply for what has turned out to be my day job. Two years, and almost nothing is as it was back then. So far, my 40s are turning into my blessed decade.

For indeed, two years ago, if a friend had asked me, “Are you happy?” I might have answered “Yes,” but with much hesitance and a whole bunch of qualifiers. But two years later, I wouldn’t flinch and answer with a resounding “Yes!” For even though everything is not perfect, life is pretty damn sweet right now, and my happiness is both visible and audible these days. So, each and every day in the last while, I thank destiny for the bounty it has graced upon me: a bounty of learning about so much, including myself; a bounty that not only inspires so many hopes and dreams, but that provides the means of achieving those hopes and dreams; a bounty that is so large that one would have to be an unspeakable ingrate not to be deeply grateful for having received it.