I have been coming to Oaxaca for 16 years now. I come for weeks or even months at a time, and yet I am so far unable to master the language. In spite of all the time I’ve spent going to dinner, riding in taxis, and attempting to decipher the labels in the galleries and museums. Despite months of Spanish lessons at home, I speak like a stunted toddler: in monosyllables, two words at a time. I am unable to coherently express so much as, “I came from Seattle yesterday.”
Here I have no tenses but the present. I can say “I going out now,” but cannot manage “I arrived on Tuesday,” or, “I went to the Toledo museum this morning,” or, “I would like to ride the horses tomorrow”.
In Mexico I have few futures. I can manage a sort of “further tense” using the present tense of ir (to go) and an infinitive — loosely “I am going to” [do this thing]. Voy a scriber mañana. I am going to write tomorrow. [Read more…]