FùtbolNiño de El Salvador El Salvador Fans

After finishing grade school, I would rarely remember Señora Ruiz or those Spanish lessons that were forced upon our class.  In high school I would give up Spanish for French because I was obsessed with Vogue, fashion, and romanic visions of traveling abroad..and my name is Chloe.  French has not yet stuck.  There was nothing “French” about my community to reinforce the language…and my French teacher hated me.  (But Paris is still in my future!)

Goalie Fooling Around Amigas

Eight years later, I’ve returned to Español.  Picking it back up was easy, thanks to my adolescent brain and my newfound commitment.  I am devoting honest attention to learning a new language and I am expanding my ability to communicate with the world.  It’s incredible!

Immersion is key, truly.  In eleven months  I’ve made serious progress in this quest.  I’ve fallen in love with the language and the culture without ever having left America.

Parking Lot BBQ Las Vendedoras FireCrowd

I am a server in a busy Washington, D.C. restaurant where much of the kitchen staff, true to restaurant stereotype, are Latin.  I started teaching myself by being quite annoying, actually.  Every few minutes, I ask one of my new friends, “¿Como se dice blah?  ¿Como se dice blah blah?”  They reply and I use the newly-learned phrase over and over again until everyone but me is sick of it.

My methods are broadening.  When guests from Spain or South America are seated at my tables, I ditch English as best I can.  My palette has expanded from the Mexican food on which California has raised me to Latin dishes from across Central America.  (Estoy enamorada de pupusas y horchata.)  At every pupuseria, Subway Restaurant, or carwash where the attendant is a native Spanish speaker, I practice.  I listen to Spanish radio and Mariachi Pandora.  I lust over the Salsa-dancing women with flowers in their hair at Latin-inspired nightclubs.  I now take a Conversational Spanish class — Level 3!!

And as if all that weren’t enough, I’ve even gotten myself a Salvadoran boyfriend (and personal Spanish dictionary in one).

Mi hermoso Mi guapo... William, mi novio William Chloe Chloe on the Water

Lo emocionado que estoy para hablar Español.

These photographs are from a New York/New Jersey road trip we took in July.  For his birthday, I surprised my boyfriend with tickets to a double header in the Gold Cup Soccer (ahem…Fútbol) Tournament. We watched his country take on Trinidad and Tobago and Honduras beat down Haiti.  Fue un fin de semana muy latino.  Qué emocionada!  ♥

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