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This little girl and her chihuahua live close by.
I didn't have to travel to distant lands to meet them.
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Oh -Yeahhhhh.... Listen In on
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I needed a break from my self-guided review of everything I’ve learned about Objective C (my apps writing class starts next week). So I walked over to the Menlo Park Farmer’s Market. The lovely-smelling narcissus from Bert’s Bulbs were all sold out by the time I got there. Good for Bert! I wandered on to a vegetable stand that had a few daises and chrysanthemums left. While I was waiting in line with my two bunches, yellow and red always make a nice combination, an elderly man passed by on the other side of a table full of red and white carrots. He was clearly one of the vendors at the market and was carrying large plastic pails back to one of the trucks parked behind the stall I was visiting. The pail-carrying man’s skin was a similar pasty-color to my own – a hue that is typically called ‘white’ or, around here, ‘anglo’. His first language is likely English, as is mine.
The man accepting money from the market goers called out to him in Spanish and pasty-face nodded his head in agreement. I wasn’t paying much attention, I can’t always follow quickly paced Spanish phrases, but I think he said something about checking for more of a certain type of produce in the truck.
Another elderly man, also pasty-faced and wearing a blue jacket, was standing nearby as the pail-carrying fellow walked past. “Did you understand any of that stuff he was saying”, this man called out loudly in a voice absolutely dripping with sarcasm. The elderly man heading towards the truck simply gave him a long look and continued on with his pails.
I turned my own head in the direction of the speaker. “¿Por qué no? (Why not?) ” I asked. Yes, it is pleasant when the right riposte comes to mind at the right moment! Especially when it comes to mind in a second language.
It was my turn to pay. The money-accepting man and I spoke only in Spanish. It isn’t that hard to remember how to say: How are you? Two (bunches of) flowers, thank you. Yes, that’s all, and finally, hasta luego (see you soon). The guy works at the farmer’s market. We both knew that he could have communicated with me quite easily in English. We just both wanted to make our point.
Here’s what I wonder about Señor Blue Jacket. Has the guy ever traveled out of the U.S.? Menlo Park is a wealthy area, and he looked pretty well off. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if he’s gone more than once to another country. And I would bet you dollars to dinero, he’s gone to some place where people spoke a language other than English. What do you bet that he went because he wanted to have a cultural experience? Maybe he wanted to see something different and go where people didn’t act, dress and talk EXACTLY like they do in Menlo Park.
Hey, here’s a novel thought. He could have a cultural experience right here where he lives, if he had enough culture to try. He could listen in on the islander kids at the library. They like to put Tongan and Samoan words into Rap music. How many places do you hear that happening? He could go to Nak’s Market and ask about how the owner cooks up his supper. Maybe he could even learn a little Spanish and have a discussion with the produce seller at the farmer’s market about farming methods in the Salinas Valley, compared to those in Senora where the other man comes from. Those talks lead to other culturally-enriching discussions. Plus it’s just fun to learn to be friendly. And he wouldn’t even have to plunk down any money for a ticket out of here. Because we’ve got quite a lot of culture right here where we live, if he just opens his eyes and ears and appreciates it.
I suggest that we create a new day to add to those lists of things to celebrate like: Dolls Day, Teacher’s Day, Administrative Specialist Day and National Pie for Breakfast Day (that’s the day after Thanksgiving, my sister-in-law created it). Let’s make January 16’th “Speak Some Other Language Day”.
Let’s show a little culture.