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I’m currently staying in a house with dancers from all over the world, who speak French, Spanish, German, Arabic, and (fortunately for me) English. There are probably more languages represented as well. I am quite envious of the multi-linguality of my housemates. Estudié español en universidad, pero recuerdo muy poco. Un bailarín de Colombia no habla Inglés, y estoy triste que yo no puedo hablar con él. Und ich spreche etwas Deutsch, aber mache viele Fehler und ich mich in Verlegenheit bringen. Wie schade! Ich habe eine fantastiche Gelegenheit, aber bin so dumm darüber.
In the US most non-immigrant Americans have very few opportunities to practice other languages, and that is to our detriment. My husband and I have often said we want to have “Deutscher Mittwoch” and try to only speak German with each other on Wednesdays, but we always fall out of the habit. I also firmly believe that every American should know at least some Spanish. Over 50 million people in the US speak Spanish — that is almost 20% of our population — and the number is growing every day. It just makes my blood boil whenever I hear someone say, “If you’re gonna live in America, you need to speak American!” Oh bah, humbug!
I’m also noticing that I naturally fall into some of the speech patterns of the people around me. Here in the house, I notice I use fewer contractions. I’m not doing this intentionally, it’s just that I’m sensitive to the way my housemates speak and subconsciously try to integrate myself. I’ve noticed this in other communities as well. When I’m around kids I use more slang and say “ain’t” far more frequently than I normally do, and when I’m in the rural community of my youth, I fall right into the Pennsylvania Dutch accent. And since I am hardly ever around professors anymore, I realize I use fewer “intellectual” words. I don’t miss the incessant hoity-toity attempts at one-upmanship through language, but I do worry that I’m losing some of my active vocabulary.
But for now, I delight in hearing so many languages, and try to catch familiar words and phrases. Our world is so marvelous in its diversity.
I can now cross ‘visit the Grand Canyon’ off my bucket list. It was really not my bag — too touristy. We did a bit of the Bright Angel trail, and passed quite a few folks who should not have attempted that hike. Heat stroke is a real thing, folks! I’d like to visit a smaller canyon, paddling through the base. Now that is on my bucket list. The highlight of the GC for me happened as we were driving out of the park. A female elk stood by the side of the road, so I slowed down as we approached. She took that opportunity to walk right across the road in front of us. You do you, elk lady!
We also hiked up Kendrick Peak, which is 10,422 feet tall. We climbed 2600 feet in just under two hours. I felt quite accomplished because I’ve never hiked to such elevation before.
Another trip highlight was Sunset Crater. Geology lessons all over the place! And the pueblo ruins were a great bonus.
I have also fallen in love with Ponderosa Pines. They are the awesomest.