I planned this trip a little over a month ago; about a week before leaving on my week long cruise vacation, a fond memory that you can now view all the postings for under the tab at the top of my blog marked Travel. My grandmother's in her late nineties, with another birthday marking the calendar of the end of this month. I've always known that my heart's desire was to sit with her and learn more about my family, but something about this last year passing had me nearly desperate to get down to her home town for what is probably a once in a lifetime visit.
Me hace espanol? No, no me have espanol. Um poco, si, para no infrequencia. Hopefully you could guess that I don't speak spanish, only a little, and very infrequently. Understandably, since my return from lala land onboard the Navigator of the Seas, I've been immersing myself in the written and spoken language of our southern neighbor.
There are times when I feel quite confident attempting the use of the few words phrases I've learned to say, and yet, whenever I'm given the chance to converse, some part of my brain shuts down and my mouth literally gapes open and shut like a fish while I mumble half syllables with no conviction. Needless to say, I don't get asked for help more than one time!
For a people seeker like myself, the realization that seemingly the entire plane of people I'd waiting and travelling with are somewhat off limits to me due to my fear of failing to communicate effectively was a huge blow to my confidence. I don't know that I've felt quite that lonely in such a huge crowd in a long long while, but you know the shared grins of my fellow sitters in the terminal were a big comfort and even though they probably could tell I was evesdropping up a storm they were still pleasant towards me.
I know that hand gestures and the spanish translation book(s) I've brought along will smooth out the awkward silences and slow understandings of the week to come. I know that my family will be so pleased to have me trying that they will laughingly overlook my language shortcomings. The photos and crafts I've brought will help me to learn to speak about the people and hobbies that are important to me, and the familiar bonds will be strengthed, just as my biggest hopes wish for... and just as the suns rays finally peek through the cloud cover to herald a new day, understanding despite our language limitations will come.
With shared hugs, the exchange of my inherited smile, or just a shoulder rub of happiness- mixed in with those 100 awkward pauses or so.