Daily Archives: February 10, 2014

Yo deseo hablar español

I have the misfortune of being one of those Hispanics who don’t speak Spanish. My dad does, he grew up bilingual and was even his squad’s translator in the Panama War, but by the time I was born he was so out of touch with that world that it didn’t dawn on him to teach me or my siblings. His parents were the first generation to learn English, and all it took was two generations for Spanish to be lost (of my twelve cousins, I only know of three who know it). Not knowing Spanish is one of the handful of things that make me feel very disconnected from my culture. Every time I go to a Latino Student Alliance meeting everyone else wil go back and forth between the two languages, only to remember that I can’t understand half of what they are saying.

Spanish would still be my choice even if I wasn’t Hispanic. It’s definitely the most practical  one for anyone in the Western Hemisphere. I did my two years of Spanish and I really struggled with it. I got by with grades and was happy with that.

It’s okay one of my maternal great grandfathers was 100% Italian, but was deliberately not taught Italian because his parents wanted to have private conversations in his presence. Selfish bastards! 



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Sochi: My First Impressions

Well last night I was at home to get a haircut for my job interview and my mom was kind enough to DVR the opening ceremony for me. I must say, it was probably the most impressive one I can remember (certainly of the Winter ones) and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Russia has such a long, storied, complex, and frankly awkward national history and I think that the Sochi committee did a brilliant job at covering all that in such a concise manner. Being a Nonwestern History Major and having took a Russian Lit class last semester really made it possible for me to appreciate what I was seeing; as having context always does. During the Cyrillic acrostic segment I was familiar with every item listed, though I would like to know poor Tolstoy was forced to share T with television (every other letter only got one item). The Thousand Years of History in Three Minutes short was also very good, starting with the Varangians and ending with right now (but the writers of this short didn’t seem to think anything notable happened in the last century). My personal favorite scene in the whole ceremony was when Czar Peter the Great sailed to what would later become St. Petersburg. I could recognize everything that was being shown, so I really didn’t like the fact the announcers had to explain every damn thing that was shown. I know The Bronze Horseman when I see it. I did a face palm during the ball dance, because it brought me back to the dreary experience of braving through Anna Karenina, so I laughed heartily when the train appeared later. Over all I would say that the opening ceremony was everything it should be, save for some egregious omissions. It was certainly better than the London 2012 one, which was very, well, British. The only thing missing from the Sochi ceremony was Putin wrestling an almasty.


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