When I was 16 years old, I shook Karl Malone's hand when he visited my high school. Little did I suspect one day I would discuss that experience with a Mexican shuttle bus driver in my first "real" Spanish conversation. "¡Karl Malone tiene manos MUY GRANDES!" I said, using one hand to point to the place on my forearm where the tips of Karl's huge fingers reached. We happened to be talking about Karl Malone because the driver knew he played for the Utah Jazz when I mentioned I was from Salt Lake City. The driver was a really nice guy, even telling me how I could ride public transportation to save money on my way back to the airport.
In one of my next Spanish conversations, I tried to order a Diet Sprite at the little hole-in-the-wall cafe that offered a complete dinner for $40 pesos (about $3 U.S.), but couldn't communicate the "Diet" part very well...."without sugar?" "light?" "zero?" I tried but the waitress continued to look puzzled. I ended up with a sugared Coke instead, so I reminded myself that Coke is good for medicinal purposes while traveling. Note to self: look that up! Or figure out how to pronounce it correctly! The rest of the dinner (which I ordered off the single copy of a hand-written menu they had) was delicious. I ordered "Pollo Ranchero", even though I wasn't quite sure what that was, and it was delicioso!
My new adventure started today! I'm in Cancun for a few days, en route to Costa Rica to attend Spanish school in advance of my March Peace Corps assignment as an economic development facilitator.
Top Ten List for Day 1 (and the prep days that came before):