I feel like learning Spanish is my responsibility that I’m neglecting. Where I live, there is a significant Hispanic population, and I’ve encountered at least a few occasions in which being able to converse would have been beneficial–not so much for communication as hospitality.

I took a few semesters of the foreign language in college and high school. I’ve been to Guatemala and Peru, but my grasp of Spanish is still pretty minimal. Of course, some people say the only real way to learn a language is immersion. But I’ve seen someone living in-country using flashcards.

We share a hemisphere with South America, and Mexico is one of our closest neighbors. Español should be taught in every elementary school.

After five years old, language acquisition can be difficult. I’ve tried apps and websites as well as a CD that I sometimes play on the way to work. I probably need to start using flashcards (digital or physical).

However, I believe in limiting how much I take on at once, so my lessons in Español are currently on a bit of a hiatus. They’ll return, and when they do, I hope they’ll benefit me in a foreign country and my own backyard.

Author’s Note: After writing my senators to condemn a policy that allows families to be detained in cages, I received a form response and was put on a mailing list. In the most recent mailing, I was informed that illegal immigrants are slaughtering women and children in my state.

It’s hard to avoid seeing this as anything more than a perverse retort. I think my senator should learn Spanish. Then, he might view the president’s actions differently.

photo: Filip Gielda