During my senior year in college, I took a course in Spanish to fulfil my foreign language required. Oh sure, I could have taken German or French which perhaps would have been more advantageous since I was studying music, but I figured Spanish would come in more handy.

On my first day of class, the instructor, a harsh, weathered-looking woman with frizzy dyed-black hair that was turning green, asked the class who had never taken a Spanish class before. I raised my hand and so did the girl sitting next to me, Kristina. Everyone else had completed at least one Spanish class in high school. She looked at the two of us and said it wouldn’t matter because one day very soon we’d all be on the same page and all learning new material. And that was true. Of course, it didn’t stop her from flying through the first seven chapters in mere weeks leaving Kristina and I behind in the dust still trying to figure how to ask, “Is the library on campus Mr. Lamas?”

I really tried with that class, mainly because it was the only real obstacle standing between me and graduation. I studied alone. I studied with other students. I went to language labs. But it didn’t help. I just wasn’t getting it. The one thing I did learn in class was “

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