After work tonight I'm going to hang out with about ten other people. I know one of them. The others, well, I have no idea what to expect. All I know is that we all have at least one thing in common.
Estamos aprendiendo español.
We are all learning Spanish.
And that, my friends, is enough to convince me to go have dinner with a bunch of strangers.
It's very interesting how that works sometimes. Like when I hang out with a bunch of people who all have type 1 diabetes. It's the common denominator that brings us together but there is no guarantee that we will have any connection beyond a faulty pancreas. In fact, as obvious as it seems, it's important to point out that it's quite possible that two people with something in common won't actually get along when put in the same room together.
Just like how running groups bring people together who love running. It doesn't mean they won't drive us completely batty in other ways but we at least have running in common.
So I'm hoping that a common love of language and an interest in improving our Spanish is enough to overcome the fact that I have no idea who these people are and they could all be crazy town.
Worst case, I eat a quick dinner with a bunch of strangers, learn a few new words and expressions and increase my salt intake at the same time. Because hey, it's pretty hard not to order the fries when the dinner is in a local ale house complete with pub food.
I've mentioned a few times that I do a lot of driving for my job. Not a ton but I usually have a 20-30 minute drive to an from a meeting most days of the week. Sometimes I listen to the radio. Sometimes I use the quiet time to rehearse an upcoming diabetes presentation. Well, for the past week, I've been listening to Spanish podcasts in an effort to brush up on my rusty skills. I discovered a podcast called Coffee Time Spanish (I guess these things exist for different languages as well) and each podcast is a 15-20 minute lesson. The instructor (Mark) and the student (Cara) are both from Scotland so I enjoy listening to them speak Spanish and enjoy them just as much when they speak English with their lovely Scottish accents.
Why is the French-Canadian girl suddenly interested in Spanish you ask? Well, it's not suddenly. It's something I've loved for over a decade now. I took several years' worth of Spanish as a second language classes...several years ago. There was a time in my life when I did some travelling in Mexico and Cuba and it was wonderful to be able to speak the language. Problem is that it's been more than five years since my last visit to a Spanish-speaking country so I'm horribly out of practice. The Coffee Time podcasts have been really helpful and my vocabulary and pronunciation are slowly waking up again.
I expect that tonight will involve a lot of fumbling and grade one level vocabulary but a whole bunch of giggles too. And, if it turns out that I actually like these people, they do this once a month.