I’m not sure how old I was when “no regrets” became one of my life goals, but I set out to seize every opportunity for what it’s worth. I wasn’t going to look back at days gone past and think “if only I had taken that opportunity” I was going to walk through open doors with confidence.
Ah ambitious youth.
In the month of February I spent one entire week of it regretting.
I followed my brave sister Deb all over the land that she loves watching as she flew up and down the streets of Leòn, Nicaragua.
I waited patiently while she bartered for every single purchase I made at the charming Central Cathedral.
Or at market:
Or at the umpteen unique cultural things we came across that I wasn’t sure if a pic was ok or not. And so she’d ask politely, while I stood there mute.
I sat through hours of visiting, chugging bottle after bottle of Coke. Sometimes following a bit of the conversation, sometimes not. Sometimes pretending that I understood was was going on with the “Kendra” followed by a stream of words. Sometimes ignoring my name in the conversation and entertaining myself by counting the geckos living on the ceiling.
Sometimes I hid behind my phone and pretended not to hear that my name was being tossed back and forth frantically inside the van as we traveled along.
Or I studied the delicious fried Buñuelos (Yuca thats been grated and fried and drowned in a sweet syrup) while the conversation flowed as I regretted again and again.
Today as I relived our recent travels, my regret surfaced again and I found myself consoling me.
“It’s ok,” I said “everyone has things they wish they could do differently. If you regret that you didn’t study Spanish enough, it is what it is. You know enough to follow a bit of conversation. Quit overthinking it, accept the facts and move on.”
My Spanish journey (or the lack of it) started my freshman year. Somehow I came down with Mono partway through the year and missed 78 days of school. Because Spanish was a classroom credit, I had to drop out halfway through.
The next stop of my Spanish lament was in Guatemala where I was privileged to spend several months in the beautiful Petén. I had the option of arriving a week early and attending language school with them, but opted instead to stay home and milk cows for a week longer- horrible mistake.
So here I am, with a passport full of stamps from Latino countries and barely a one year old’s grasp of the language. Not cool.
And then as I consoled myself with my lecture, I remembered that not only is my brave little Deborah darling being my patient translator/tour guide during our latest adventure; she’s also a teacher at Berea. A SPANISH Teacher. And if I’m truly as regretful about my lack of vocabulary as I claim to be, I’m gonna apply myself to kicking this regret out of the park.
So I don’t know, Deb, can you teach an old dog new tricks and an old brain a new language?
Maybe we should try, but if it’s gonna happen anymore this winter, we’re gonna have to speak quietly- cause we don’t wanna disturb the niños.
I didn’t need an interpreter for this part of our adventure:
Nicaragua, our short but sweet visit inside your borders was truly delightful. Thank you. Or in my faltering, deeply accented way- “Gracias”