Attitude Switcheroo

I have been feeling pretty defeated lately. I don’t want to stay at my current job. Besides the meagerly low pay, good employee relations seems to be low on their priority list and my schedule changes every day. As I have been looking for other employment opportunities, I have been increasingly frustrated because my Spanish simply isn’t good enough to work in a Spanish speaking environment-yet. I am getting sick of my pity party so surely dear Alvaro, the most patient boy I know, is too.

The more I research grad schools, museum internships and galleries in Lima, the more I realize that what I really, really want is to work in a museum. Teaching English is a means to an end and I am fortunate to have any job, but as I look towards my future, I want to be in museums. When thinking long term about my resume and strategic career moves, I have realized that being able to say that I worked at a museum in Lima, would be memorable. I can’t do that, however, if I don’t speak Spanish. So I have set attainable goals. I want to be fluent in Spanish by October of this year. In October, the US Embassy Association puts together an art exhibition featuring hundreds of Peruvian artists. This charitable show is a huge success every year and I have already requested to be on the volunteer list. By October, when I am surrounded by hundreds of artists and gallery owners and art dealers, I hope that my Spanish will be good enough to network and land a job/internship in a gallery. That’s the plan.

In order to make this happen, I am starting to work on my Spanish today. I am no longer going to say, “I will work on my Spanish when I get a tutor.” or “I will work on my Spanish when I get a job.” or my favorite “I will work on my Spanish when it rains in Lima.” (because that last one will never happen). I will work on my Spanish right now. Which means for the next several days I am going to spend most of my day at Alvaro’s grandfather’s house, surrounded by his mom and three Aunts. There’s no better way to immerse myself in the language than with four Peruvian sisters who talk wwaaayyy to fast. But it’s safe there and I know that they love me. When I have blank stare on my face they laugh, take a seat and try to tell me again.

Another terrific (though slightly less honorable) reason to work on my Spanish is because of Javier, Cecilia’s boyfriend. When I eat meals at Alvaro’s parent’s house most times his parents will say, “Let Meghan tell the story,” in a very sweet gesture that shows me they will be patient with my butchered Spanish. Every time Javier has joined us for a meal and someone says, “Let Meghan tell the story,” he has to add “En Español...” Even just writing that, I can see the little smile on his face and it makes me want to retaliate. Every time he says that I start to cringe and have to stop myself from releasing a few sentences of witty English remarks that he probably wouldn’t understand. I start thinking, “Yes, Javier, in Spanish. Why would I tell a story in English to a table of Spanish speakers? Isn’t that obvious? I don’t need your commentary, it’s insulting.” Instead I look the other way and very calmly tell my story in terrible Spanish. Each time it makes me feel like he won in this little unspoken game. So now,  I have another Spanish goal, to be able to respond to Javier the next time he says with a smirk, “En Español...”

“Sí, Javier, obvio en español. How about you come to the States and we play this game on my turf.”

Take that. Meghan: 1, Javier: 0.