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Hablas bien

Eugenia told me before I left Seville that I speak Spanish well....

"When I met you...Whew." (And she wagged her hand, the tips of her fingers close together.)

And I know she meant "speak well" compared to the time we met. Even still, it was a nice compliment.

The week before I left, I met Alexandra, an Italian woman who worked at a cafe where I used to go with my friend Peter. She and Peter hit it off great, and they would yak it up in Spanish. I could only listen, at the time. That last time I saw her, we talked. It was just a sidewalk conversation of which I remember nothing — but it was great. She complimented me, also, and it made me proud.

  —Spring 2001