In January, 2018, my daughter was beginning an undergraduate program at the University of Texas and my husband was beginning an on-line graduate program at Georgia Tech. Not wanting me to feel left out, my daughter enrolled me in a Spanish class at the local community college. She did it as a joke because my husband, whose mother is from El Salvador, constantly makes fun of how I pronounce Spanish words.
Despite living near the Mexican border and having a mother in-law from El Salvador, I know very little about Latin American culture. So toward the end of the Spanish class, I began watching Latin American films regularly to keep myself exposed to the language and realized it was kind of like armchair traveling through Latin America. It’s definitely not the same as being there, but film does offer some exposure to culture, customs, and landscape. I started Danza de La Mente because I learn so much more when I write.
I’ve had fairly significant health issues the past few years that make traveling difficult, but I hope to one day be healthy enough to actually visit parts of Latin America in person. Meanwhile, I’ll continue to learn Spanish and make virtual visits through film, food and literature.
[The picture above is the entrance to the Craft Mark in the Historical District of Santa Ana, El Salvador. It’s painted in the La Palma (and Fernando Llort) style of art.]