23 noviembre 2006

estamos viajando, ¿recuerdan?

Tomorrow we leave Buenos Aires. We've been here two months as of the day before yesterday. A lot has happened, and then again, very little has happened. I've learned to juggle clubs, to play Jesse James on the mandolin, and to use La Guia "T" to get around La Capital Federal. I've practiced my tenses regularly and believe myself to be ready for the subjunctive, though my professor does not agree. Give it time, he says. And yet, so frequently do I wish to form a sentence with two separate subjects and two separate verbs (i.e. "I wish that he would just teach me the subjunctive"), that when it finally occurs, the sensation must certainly be mystical.

Learning another language is one of the most wonderful things in the world. I've waited a long time to really devote myself to it, but at least at this age I am able to appreciate the beauty and drama of the learning process moreso than if I were raised bilingual, or had learned at an early age.

We share a common reality as human beings, and yet with differences in language, with variations in our sensory perceptions, we each carry with us a separate overlay, like topographical transparencies in a road atlas. Our professor sees this, and for that reason do I tolerate his constant tardiness, occasionally ill-prepared course material, and the fact that he smokes all my marijuana. Ivan is working now on his Portugese, after which he's excited about tackling a Germanic language (German?), and then Arabic. Someday he'll by a boat.

I can see the appeal, and in fact have lately been wondering whether I shouldn't myself continue merely to play with language(s) for the next few years or so. (Then again, "study" has never really been my thing.)

* * *

We've packed our bikes up for this next month, during which we're heading north to Rosario, Salta, Jujuy, and then probably continuing into Bolivia (as far north as Santa Cruz), before returning to the city for New Years when we'll have some friends in town. No cycle touring just yet.