The language of Art

Anyone who reads my blogs or has met me in person knows that I love music; it is my refuge; my escape from a chaotic world.  Ever since I was a little boy; I loved to sit alone in my room and listen to music after a tiring day; it calms me down and as an adult; it inspires me to write.  I love to escape into art; whether it be through music, film or writing; I immerse myself in it.  I have also had an eclectic taste in film and music; I like things that are unique or different; often films or songs that are much older than I am; art that makes you think and look at the world in a different way; I don’t like what everyone else is listening to or watching.   I started exploring film a few years back and realized I loved foreign films; I love hearing a new language and learning about different cultures; I appreciated other countries take on film making and how it made me see film from another perspective. I learned to enjoy reading subtitles; instead of seeing it as a chore of having to read the movie ( like many see it as).   And here was the thing what made the film beautiful was the fact that it wasn’t in English; it was the way they expressed themselves and the words seemed to flow and an almost jealously on my part that I couldn’t speak that language; English to me just sounds so boring to me ( maybe it’s because it is all I hear)  You may not know this but my father and his family are from Cuba, I remember sitting with them at lunch and hearing my father converse with my grandparents; I had no idea what they were saying but it sounded beautiful to me. In fact I felt my father had two personalities; who he was in everyday life; speaking English and this other person when speaking Spanish; it amazed to me for some reason. And maybe that where my love of foreign languages began why I seek it out in art.

A long time ago I decided  to teach myself Spanish; lamenting to myself that I never got the chance to have a conversation with my grandmother; I knew she loved me but communication was impossible with such a language barrier ( she spoke no English).   I figured that besides looking at my dad’s old books in Spanish and using a Spanish/English dictionary; I would watch the Spanish channel and listen Spanish language radio to lose myself in the language until I could learn it.   It helped that all the women on the Spanish channel were beautiful even if I had no idea what they were saying.   So I ended up teaching myself a lot of Spanish by watching and listening to Spanish language media.   I then start exploring music in different languages; a lot of it were used in some of the foreign films I watched and I realized how that the language wasn’t important; it was the music itself. In fact the inability to understand the language added mystery and intrigue and made me like it even more.   I ended up buying some bossa nova records  (  I love Portuguese sounds like a mix of Spanish and french; a really sexy language) and finding a lot of old foreign music on Youtube ( thank god for the internet)  It’s not the type of music you can play at full blast in your car with others and do car karaoke but it’s the kind music that you’d listen to after a long day to relax and unwind and escape to anywhere you want; Italy, German, France, Japan, Cuba; anywhere).  Watching foreign films and listening to world music allows me to go places that I’d never be able to go to otherwise and that is the reason why I go to it.  So I encourage anyone to go exploring and you might find English media to be a little bland and boring after discovering what the world has to offer.

Dave

 

One of the first foreign films I fell in love with “L Eclisse”.  Bellisimo

 

 

Do you have 15 1/2 hours to spare for this German masterpiece?

Life update August 2018

I first want to say thank you to everyone who follows and interacts with me on this blog.  I still can’t believe how positive the comments have been regarding my posts; I have received a ton of support and I really appreciate that. Lately I have been I have been making less posts than I did in the past; I guess I have been busy and haven’t had the energy to write as much or respond in a prompt manner.  But this blog has been therapy for me; a way to get out my feelings in a safe place with people who understand and it’s an amazing thing. I plan on blogging for many years to come.

In the past year and especially since I have started blogging my life has changed in many positive ways.  I am slowly adding enriching things in my life; things I was too scared to do in the past; if something suggested this or that; I’d say I’d think about it; knowing I would never taking them on the suggestion; a lot of had to do with fear; more than anything else. I am a fearful person and I think like most people I don’t want to get out of my comfort zone. But know I am doing things that I wasn’t doing a year ago; for example this blog itself.  For many years I had many thoughts and ideas, feelings that I never shared with anyone. I thought if I shared these things people would laugh or reject what I had to say; I was wrong. Writing and the feedback I got from it gave me a boost of confidence that I have learn to use in other areas of my life; I feel like I am actually good at something and have something to offer others; a conversation starter. Through the blog and sharing and reading poetry online; I recently decided to attend a poetry reading; I had never heard poetry read out loud; I was amazed at how encouraging people were of each other and at that moment realized that I could face my fears and share my poetry at the next meetup. This is all new to me and I am the first to admit that I am terrified of public speaking especially when sharing personal writings with strangers I do not know; but my friends have encouraged me and that has given me the confidence to get up to the mic. Next week is the meetup and I will muster up the courage to share one of my writings ( no more than 1!) with an audience; we’ll see how that goes and I am sure that I will make a post about it.

I have also ventured into other areas; I am partially bilingual but sadly have no place to practice my Spanish outside of the home. A very long time ago a counselor suggested that I join this Spanish conversation group where you sit around a circle and speak Spanish; I dismissed it that the time because of fear ( of course)  A few years later I decided to just go one day and was pleasantly surprised; I took my dad for support and I came to realize a lot of the speakers were at the same level as me; no one laughed at my Spanish; I met some nice people and I could finally have a conversation in Spanish without someone rolling their eyes; I loved it. I love to speak Spanish and to learn new things; I always say you should never stop learning.  I regret not going to this conversation hour in the past; I suffer from anxiety and depression and at the time I was scared of meeting new people.  The idea of a large group of strangers scared me; so I was more content just to stay at home and hide. I no longer think that way; I am not content sitting at home when I could out meeting new and interesting people.  I figure you will never meet people if you stay home feeling sorry for yourself; I never had that kind of positive thinking before; it’s amazing

As many of my followers always ready know I am in school trying to a degree to help adults with special needs; it is something I am passionate about and I think it is a great field; I want to make a difference.  I work retail and I never get a Sunday off ;so I miss church, which has been something I would like to participate in.  In the past; I stayed away from church; I didn’t like being up early on a Sunday morning; being with large crowds and sounds of people coughing or crying babies. Anyways I finally got a Sunday off and just happened to be at the service where they were talking about a ministry for adults with special needs; it made my ears perk up.  I told the minister I was really impressed with this ministry and he said he wanted me to be a part of it; I was really excited at the prospect at working with the disabled; and without being graded or judged; I can really enjoy this experience and be there for the pure enjoyment and not a part of school. I had an internship where I was at agency for those with developmental disabilities and I loved the clients but  I struggled with the staff; I felt judged; I felt my compassion wasn’t enough and that I wasn’t guided into making the internship successful; I was really disappointed. But I am one that believes God leads to where you need to be and I just happened to be at that service on that one Sunday so I could hear that message of the ministry; I feel it could be my calling. I have contacted the ministry and I hope that my schedule will allow me to participate somehow. I just can’t believe this is happening because 5 years; I was unemployed; dealing with health problems; emotional difficulties; disabled and feeling sorry for myself. I turned that around and now I am able to be in service of others; I can take those dark moments and use it to help others who are struggle; life is a funny thing to me.

I just feel like a different person these days; a year ago I felt I had no friends; no one who cared about me and I just couldn’t relate to other people; I couldn’t make people understand how I felt or what was in my head. Through my writing people have insight into everything I have been feeling over the years and it brought me closer to others. I’ve learned how to reach out to others ( mostly online since I have moved away and don’t know a lot of people where I am). I have learned to be a good friend who encourages others and I try to be kinder more gentler person than I was in the past. I have always been a sensitive person but I saw it as a weakness; I didn’t want to express my feelings because as a man it made me seem vulnerable but now I embrace it. In the past I kept everything bottled up and it really affected me emotionally; I became a wreck and I all I felt was anger all the time. Now I see sensitivity as a gift and I no longer fear being labeled as weak because I see myself as a strong person; it takes strength to express your feelings openly and without regret; so I’m proud of that.  So this is where I am at now in my life. I am adding things to my life; I am reaching out to people and facing my fears. I hope one day to use my story to help others who have struggled just like me.   And for those who took the time to read the whole thing; I know it was a long post but remember I write as much as I talk; a lot.  It’s a work in progress.

Take care,

Dave

 

The fear of Bilinguals

I am Cuban American and very proud of it; I am actually first generation Cuban American; which means I was the first of the generation to born in this country; I am proud of the culture; I am proud to be speak Spanish; it is something I hold close to my heart; especially the language; I taught myself Spanish to grow a better understanding of heritage. My mother is American so Spanish was not spoken in the home growing up, but when we visited my Grandparents ( which was a few times a week); Spanish was spoken because my Grandmother could not speak English; my father or grandfather had to be around to translate. For me I missed half of the conversation but it didn’t bother me; I got used to it. In fact I loved the way it sounded and was jealous I couldn’t speak it myself; they seemed to do it with such ease ( well obviously since it was their first language)  The only confusion I had was the fact that all the other people I heard speak Spanish looked much different than my family; I hadn’t yet realized that Latinos come in all shades          ( including me!)  So as a kid I learned that people had a right to speak whatever language they wanted; and no one had a right to force them to speak English. I learned not to feel threatened when another people spoke another language than me; it’s just an incentive to learn a new language ( you should never stop exploring different cultures)  So when I attempted to learn Spanish; I picked up on the accent well; mimicking how I heard my father and grandparents spoke; I am not perfect but I try to get the accent as authentic as possible. I am proud I taught myself the Spanish I know; it’s an incredible feeling to be able to speak another language; it’s like having a key; the ability to communicate with another person who can’t speak English.  But I found a few things frustrating; one was that since I didn’t look like the majority of people that spoke Spanish fluently; I was often ignored when I tried  to converse in Spanish; it hurt because like them; I was trying to better myself and learn a new language and they  were looking at my appearance; making assumptions; not realizing I have Hispanic heritage. I have talked to few other people like me and they run into the same problem. FYI: Hispanic isn’t a race.  Another problem I ran into was that non-speakers seemed to show great annoyance when you are conversing with someone in Spanish in front of them; I think they think you are talking about them when in reality you are practicing a language.  It’s interesting we seem to one of the few Western Societies ( The US) where there is such a disdain for those who speak different languages in public; I think a lot of it is based on ignorance and racism ( seems to go hand in hand). And most of the anger come from White Anglos who have trouble accepting anyone who isn’t exactly like them. In a lot of countries; learning a second language is a requirement;  but oh no not here.  We have a long history of hating immigrants from all cultures; it is a sad fact about the history of this country.  I was prompted to write this blog after reading about a customer in New York berating a waiter who spoke Spanish to a customer; threatening to deport the customer since in his ignorant mind; the customer was an illegal immigrant. Yes all Spanish speakers who dare to speak their language must be illegal, aliens, right? What kind of racist bullshit is that?  You know, this is a free country and they and I and anyone else can speak whatever the hell language we want to speak. If you don’t like; ignore it; or walk out if you are so upset. I would say to that guy ‘ Trying going to Korea for a few weeks and see if you can be fluent”  How would you feel if you walked into a restaurant in France and they demand you speak French and then accuse you of being in the country illegally; you’d throw a fit.  So shut up finish your meal in silence and walk out. I just don’t understand this hatred of immigrants; when this country was built on immigrants; escaping persecution.   This is something that really gets to be; being bilingual is a gift. You should be ashamed to only speak one language; not shame others. You should ashamed of being so ignorant to be mad at someone for speaking another language.  I am just glad someone called this jackass out on his shit; what a pendejo!

 

 

En espanol?

En espanol?

Me voy comenzar de esribir en espanol porque necesito la practica y tengo ganas de hablar el espanol si esta bien. No hay tema, no es un poema solo es mis sentmientos. Y tambien no uso un diccionario de espanol o google translate asi que mi espanol no es perfecto. Bueno te dire una historia sobre el razon que hablo dos idiomas ( obviamente ingles es mi idioma primero) Soy Cubano Americano pero cuando era un nino nadie me ensenaron el espanol porque no podia oir bien y tenia problemas aprendiendo de hablar. Mi abuela no hablabla ni sigueria una palabra en ingles. Asi que nunca tenia el opritunidad de hablar con ella directamete que me hacia triste. Cuando estaba en mis 20’s decedia de ensenarme el espanol. yo miraba television en espanol y escuchaba el radio ( celia cruz) y leia libros en espanol. lo que podia encontrar. estaba determinada de aprender espanol uno palabra en un tiempo ( at a time) Aprendi los dias de la semana, los numeros, los meses. Muchas cosas. Estaba aprediendo muchas palabras todo el tiempo. Entounces un para de anos despues tome una clases de espanol en la universidad y hice muy bien. Mis grades ( como se dice?) eran muy bueno y me encantaba de hablar el espanol. Ahora trato de hablarlo mucho porque es imporant para conocer mi cultura por el idioma. Yo se que mi espanol no es tan bueno pero es mejor que nada. Gracias para escuchar.