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Hablas bien — "you speak well"

My friend 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 loosely close together, in a Spanish way.)

And I know that she meant "speak well" compared to the time we met. Even still, it was a nice compliment — and this is strange to me, that I can speak Spanish now.

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.

It's good to get those compliments. There's so much of Spanish that I don't know, so it's encouraging to hear "Hablas bien."

  —Spring 2001