This is my first well-thought-out poem since I-can’t-remember-when (high school maybe?). What made it more special is that it’s in Spanish. I wrote this as homework for my Spanish class in which we were asked to write lyrics for a “bolero”. In brief, a bolero is a type of Spanish music whose lyrics are depictions of absolute expressions of love — particularly its passion and its pain. The song “Besame Mucho” is an example of a bolero.
For our homework, the teacher told us that we could either write about amor (love) or desamor (heartbreak). So guess what I wrote about?
You will enjoy this poem if you:
a) were/are a student of Spanish language
b) can’t read Spanish but like poems and can Google Translate (at your own risk)
c) want to see juvenile doodlings of a bird, snail, butterfly etc. (in which case you are definitely bored)
d) probably think this song is about you (then you’re so vain) #buTnlngDsyanakkaintinDngtagalogatespanyollalonangjejemon
So here’s my poem juxtaposed with my digital doodling (You ask why? I say why not!). Prepare your tissues.
And my teacher seems to approve of it:
My first formal encounter with Spanish was during my University days (don’t ask which year) where we were required to take up two semesters of basic Spanish. I really enjoyed learning the language, mostly because I had a good teacher and my classmates were a bunch of shiny happy people (my friends in another Spanish class didn’t enjoy it as much as we did).
It has always been my goal to become fluent in a third language. I think it’s amazing to be able to speak three or more languages fluently. If money and career are not major considerations, I would probably just quit my job and live in Spain for a year to immerse myself in the language (Hello Penelope Cruz and Antonio Banderas! If you are reading this, please be informed that I am willing to take care of your rest house in Spain in exchange for free board and lodging). A less expensive option, albeit not easy, would be to find a Spanish-speaking person and convince him to teach you in exchange for marriage (Ha!). This, however, is not a viable option for most of us and normal human beings like me could only resort to the easier (though a bit more costly) route of enrolling in Spanish classes. So for the past 3-4 years (more or less), I have been attending Spanish classes.
Why learn Spanish? Here are some of my reasons:
1) Being multilingual is always an advantage especially if you plan to work for international organizations
2) Learning Spanish has made me more aware of my own culture (for those who do not know, the Philippines was a Spanish colony for 300+ years). I get fascinated when I find out that what I thought was a Tagalog word is actually a Spanish word. It makes me realize how deeply embedded (and sometimes inconspicuous) is the Spanish influence on Filipino culture and language. For instance, the other day, my housemate said she wants to cook Igado. I asked her what it is. She said it’s an Ilocano dish (Northern Philippines). I told her I just learned from my Spanish class that “higado” means “liver”. True enough, her favorite Igado’s main ingredient is liver. Interestingly, I would also discover at times how some words had actually changed their use and meaning over time. The process of how it happened makes me curious about history and sociolinguistics. [(Before the Spaniards came, have you ever wondered how early Filipinos greeted each other when there was no “Kamusta?” yet (from “cómo está?” in Spanish)].
3) I have attempted to learn other languages before and I find that speaking Spanish is more natural for me as compared to, for example, speaking French. When I was learning French, I felt as if I needed to put on a different persona (like I’m pretending to be Amélie Poulain or Jean Valjean) whenever I attempt to do correct pronunciation. Learning correct pronunciation in Spanish didn’t feel that way for me.
4) Studies have shown that learning new skills, specially languages, stimulates brain activity. I find attending Spanish classes a refreshing break from hustle and bustle of daily life, particularly during the times when I feel like I’m in Azkaban.
5) Most important of all, we must learn Spanish to be able to charm Spanish-speaking persons like Diego Luna and Gael García Bernal! Enough said.
¡Muchas gracias! Now get off your butts and start learning a new language!