Friday, April 25, 2008

Learning a Language of Chords

April 24th, 2008
It's lunch time in Pamplona in the middle of Ciudedela. Old men in collared shirts and polyester pants sit on the bench near the young man playing his livelihood: the accordion.
Spring birds chirp as insects fly past the daisy weed grass we are sitting on. Grassy patches of land that surround the fort of the 1500s: Military architecture del Renacimiento Espanol. The outer fort walls have plants bursting through its aged stone cracks bringing life to its modern age existence of a bustling Spanish city in Estado Espanol. I am in a province that not only speaks Spanish where you can hear and read signs in Euskara, Basque, as well. I am in Spain for a month intensive Spanish course, but Spain represents a plethora of languages, history and conflict over topics such as language, religion and sovereignty. The clouds are painted in the sky dancing with the sunshine's playful manner of peek-a-boo on my back. I travel with my cotton fabric from Mozambique almost everywhere, and I am laying on it in Spain, as it soaks up the dewy lawn from yesterday's spring rain.
Caina jingled her bike and joined us on the lawn. She has wild curly hair and a simple sweet smile. She's from the Canary Islands and is studying sociology with my friend Nani, who I am visiting in Pamplona. We greet each other with kisses on both cheeks and chat about the change in weather from the usual rainy days in Pamplona, the accordion music playing in the park. Our conversation deepens into the politics of Basque vs. Espana as a passing couple speaking in Basque triggers our dialogue. We explore the language laws that exist in Spain and the parallel situations around the world.
She was interested in what South Africa was like, and we talked about the realities, dynamics, and questions to be explored in relation to Nicaragua's current leadership and conflicts and then to Nani's experience with the Zapatista movement-the organization, the struggles, etc. I wondered what life was like in the Canary Islands where she says no other languages are spoken there except Spanish. Histories and rhythms of Mozarbic, Ajami, Basque, Euskara . . .
I continue journaling as an ant travelled across my pages, inspecting the edge of my journal and the curves of the words that I scribe. Speaking Spanish again is like a riding a bike, but there are still tricks to be learned. Language may be better explained as a guitar rather than a bike. If you remember to play some chords you once learned and feel comfortable playing them, you can transition from one to the other.
Making different and authentic tunes, maybe even with your eyes closed.
But there is still a whole range of notes, chords, songs and melodies left to learn. So even though you can play some tunes, and its fun and enjoyable, there is still a desire to learn more. One day realizing your own melody can harmonize with what you want to express. What you are feeling: to communicate through a new language.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...