Wednesday, June 28, 2006

you know you've been to a Spanish in Mexico immersion course when you

1. place your order in Spanish to the Popeye's cashier in the Houston airport simply because she was speaking Spanish to the patron before you. 2. the first thing you watch on television is "La Fea Mas Bella" -- but it's not nearly as much fun without your Mexican hijas to watch with you. 3. find you have to stop yourself from saying "gracias," "hola," and "salud," instead of "thank you," "hello," and "God bless you." 4. can't block out all the nearby conversations because for the first time in over a month you understand everything people around you are saying. 5. open the sports page of the local paper and are disappointed at the lack of World Cup coverage. 6. still throw toilet paper in the trash. to be continued... LC

Monday, June 12, 2006


    Interrupting my Mexico trip to note a sad discovery.     In the spring semester of 2005, I took a world geography class from a really compelling and funny professor who, during our study of Asia, showed the film Genghis Blues. This documentary followed the adventure of an American songwriter, Paul Pena (perhaps best know for writing Jet Airliner, made popular by Steve Miller Band in 1977) as he performed in a throat-singing competition in Tuva. In the summer, I rented the DVD so my husband could watch. Not only was the type of singing fascinating, but the scenery was spectacular.     So, the other day, I was playing the soundtrack and one particularly melancholy tune touched me. I thought it was French, but it is of Cape Verdian (islands off the coast of west Africa) and from Porteguese. Tonight I found the lyrics and the translation, but searching with Google revealed that Paul passed away on October 1st of 2005 from complications of his diabetes and pancreatitis.     Upon my discovery of the loss of this sensitive and talented man, I hope that someone will discovery not only his music, but the country of Tuva and its proud heritage. Here are some more links to help with the latter: Friends of Tuva, Wikipedia's entry on Tuva, and here's one more page of Tuva information. LC, raising a glass in honor