…so said the emperor Charlemagne. I know when I speak Spanish I slip into another mode, almost into another personality. I don’t understand the mechanics of it, but I know it to be true.

I read that “to learn another language involves far more than learning vocabulary or grammatical structures: it is a lengthy and demanding process, by which we acquire a new frame of reference, a sort of lens through which we can see the world and express it. Language learning necessarily involves culture learning.” I couldn’t agree more.

I studied French and Portuguese but never achieved the same level of fluency as in Spanish. Though I visited France and studied in Portugal, I did not assimilate the culture in the same way. I have now lived in Central America half my life and spend more time speaking Spanish than English. I’m not sure whether I have assimilated the culture or the culture has assimilated me. But I am definitely a hybrid.