I’ve got one week at Hoy under my belt and still have a lot of Spanish to learn.
On the reading front, I’ve made my way through a grammar book and am reading the paper and circling vocabulary words each day. Dunreith got me a copy of a book in Spanish about undocumented immigrants from Dave Eggers’ Voice of Witness series that I plan to crack soon.
I also continue to have a terrific time watching Spanish-language films, and, in a return to how I first learned the language, taking in episodes of televovela Destilando Amor.
_Colleague and ace entertainment reporter Gisela Orozco gave us a copy of a four-disc, 14-hour distillation of the prime time soap opera, which tells the story of the up and down relationship of the scion of a prominent tequila producing family and one of the seasonal workers who comes every spring to harvest there.
This is the major of a series of often incredible plot twists, delivered with the hyperbolic body language and emotion characteristic of the genre. And, when one pulls back the different elements, all kinds of learning about gender, class, family, religion and urban and rural parts of Mexico are there to be gleaned.
One of the best parts of Gisela’s gift is that we can get through the series in about two weeks what it would otherwise have taken months to do (Unlike American soap operas, Mexican telenovelas actually have a beginning, middle and end.).
I’ve also been absorbing more about Central American history through Innocent Voices, Oscar Torres’ autobiographical tale of weathering the horrific conditions as an 11- and 12-year-old boy in El Salvador.
Torres paints a terrifying picture of the country in which the American-backed army scoops up boys as young as 10 years old to fight against the guerrilla FMLN that his mother’s sister has joined.
Chava, his younger brother and sister routinely huddle underneath the bed while praying not to be killed by the hailstorm of bullets riddling the area, and often their house.
Indeed, if anything can be counted on in this movie, it is the numbing certainty that each time Chava experiences some momentary glimpse or experience of joy, it will inexorably be followed by merciless destruction and death.
The death nearly comes to him, when his two childhood friends, with whom he has fled his village to join the rebels, are assassinated. Chava is about to have his turn when the proverbial posse comes.
Experiences like these convince him that, much as he does not want to, he must leave the country or face certain death.
The movie ends with his determination both to share his story and those of his two friends and first love as well as to return to El Salvador before his younger brother turns 12, the age at which the army forces the boys into service.
Although treating different content, both sources have provided a lot of material from which to deepen my evolving understanding of the Spanish language and the many cultures that comprise the Spanish-speaking world.
Hasta manana. Tengo que dormir.