Saturday, June 25

Bike to Work Day 2011

Denver's Bike to Work Day fell on Daniel's birthday this year.

I got it in my head that I would bike from my home in Littleton to my school in downtown Denver that morning.  The last time I rode my bike, read: Daniel's old mountain bike that probably outweighs a small horse, was a couple of months ago, for a couple of miles, and I spent a couple of days nursing my aching quads and those little bones that protest to being sat upon.

So, Wednesday morning dawned, and with a vague notion of the trail  along Santa Fe that would take me downtown (see map below, which I did not reference until the writing of this post), and two hours in which to get there, I set out for Auraria.

About two miles in, legs having forgotten that initial burn, and my path finally connected to the Platte River trail (I think that's the one it was), a smattering of spandex-clad, road-bike mounted, middle aged men passed with a grunted "on your left."  I say grunted because if one sounded jovial, he was more likely to bid me a "good morning!"

I suppose you all know the difference between a mountain bike and a road bike?  If bikes were dogs, road bikes would be greyhounds, and my bike would be a fifteen year old mastiff.

So it was I reached Englewood, self-conscious about my tennis shoes, my navy baseball cap and my dirt bike, picking my way through the occasional fork in the trail by the general direction of campus. Then Denver, accepting of the fact that I was a novice, out with a thousand other novices on this Bike to Work Day.  Then downtown, having resigned myself to the disappointment of never getting to call out those lovely three words--"on your left!"

There was never a question in my mind of whether I would make it all the way (not even knowing the distance to be some twelve or fourteen miles), but I wasn't as certain about whether I would be ambulatory when I finally got off the bike.  So, when I dismounted at Auraria Campus, my quads gave up the push and I nearly knelt there on the asphalt.  But the next step was steadier.  And the next.  Victory.

Happy Birthday Daniel!  You would be so proud.

Thursday, June 9

Bilingualism -- Is it Possible??

Take a look at the poll to your right.  I am curious to know what you think: can a person ever be TRULY bilingual? 

Mira esta encuesta a tu derecha.  Me gustaría saber que piensan: ¿puede una persona ser REALMENTE bilingüe?
-No sé
-Hablo 8 idiomas 
Esta encuesta viene de una conversación entre mi tutor y yo.  Hablábamos de culturas, y de la cuestión de ser bilingüe.  Él propuso que no se puede ser bilingüe de verdad.  Se puede ser más fluído en hablar, saber más vocabulario, y comunicarse bien, pero sus pensamientos más profundos siempre van a venir en su primer idioma.  Lo más valorado sería conocer lo importante de la cultura, como vive la gente, qué les importa, y cómo funciona la sociedad.  

Estoy de acuerdo.  Pero, tambien tengo algunas dudas.  Quizás, las personas como yo, quienes aprenden otro idioma poco a poco durante los años, nunca lleguen a ser bilingües.  Estoy inclinida de creer que los bebes que crezcan en familias multiculturales, cómo tener papás de distinta nacionalidad y que estén en situaciones en que necesiten hablar dos, o más, idomas distintos desde nacimiento, no solo puedan hablar en idiomas multiples, pero tambien puedan pensar en todos sin parcialidad.  

¿Que creen ustedes?

This poll comes from a discussion I had with my tutor.  We were discussing culture and acquiring language.  He put forth that one cannot ever be truly bilingual.  The most we can hope for, and what should be most valued, is learning as much as one can about the people, how they live, what's important to them, and how the society functions.

I agree.  The little I learned of Korean language, although fascinating and useful, was ultimately far less, and more easily forgotten, than what I learned of the culture.  However, regarding bilingualism, I am inclined to believe that while people such as myself learning a language bit by bit over the years will never be fully bilingual, babies who are born into families and situations in which they must utilize two or more languages will not only be able to use these languages fluently, but also think in these languages without preference for one over another.  

What do you think?

Monday, June 6


In preparation for my move to Bogota, Colombia, I have resumed Spanish lessons with professor/tutor extraordinaire, John Anaya from UCD.

Colombian cultural tid-bits:
- Citizens of Bogota refer to themselves as "Rolos."
 - Many men wear 2 pairs of pantalonsillos.

- Espicho los bichos.