Friday, July 20, 2007

More on Watercolor, Languages

My watercolor class was great. For years I have been painting in the Asian (Chinese style) and just done it on envelopes and what-have-you, copying from books but never quite thinking that I'd gotten it. Tonight my teacher was holding some of my work up, walking away and looking at it, asking to herself, "What does this remind me of?" Finally she asked, "Have you ever taken classes in Chinese painting?" I told her that I'd wanted to but didn't know where to do it at and just paint from books. She said, "This is Oriental. All of it. You take the most essential elements and put them on paper. It looks detailed but it's not. You speak volumes with few strokes and you use your washes to the best advantage."

She left it up on the wall and a few minutes later one of the artists who makes money walked in from a short break and said, "Who did the Chinese painting?" That was so exciting! Then my teacher was watching me and said, "You may say you think about medical school and social work, but don't kid yourself. Before you are a doctor, a social worker, a mother or wife, you are an artist. This is too in the moment to be anything but natural. This is a gift."

Wow. (I just wish a comfortable paycheque came with that like what comes with people with a natural gift for healing and studying!)

I contacted a local hospital. I asked about languages and what is important to learn locally. The woman responded, "Thank you for your inquiry to I-didn't-bother-to-read-your-email Hospital. We are so honored that you are interested. For any questions, please contact the department head for the department for which you are applying." Calling gets no response, "Uh-- I dunno. Spanish? I never heard anyone speak anything but English here." I am trying to make myself useful. I wrote back and said that she must have sent my answer to someone else, explained what I wanted to know and told her how useless it was to ask for help from my department at college as they didn't know.

(My college didn't know.)

In fact, I called the department today and the secretary was impressed that I wanted to learn not just one but two languages-- but didn't quite understand why I wanted to learn any language at all. Why is this so unusual? My husband says I approach things differently. Is Human Services all about serving white people on Welfare? I was upset but he said, "This is your opportunity to teach them. Find out and tell them." Our city has a huge immigrant population. I want to help people at the freaking hospital. My children are all learning languages.

In art class the students were talking about how at our school, there is the rules int he catalog then the second set that is there where you seek out your
advisor and get very active about what classes you take and get them promoting you. I live out of town. C'est la vie. Looks like I need to go to town.

I'm not worried about being able to learn a language well enough to speak it at the ripe old age of 38. If you have the ability to speak a language, you can do it no matter what your age. My dad took us down to Mexico on family vacations when I was in high school. He took Spanish in high school and college and made C's but when he was there, he'd pick it up after a few days. On his ranch, an illegal was seeking help and banged on his door. My mom brought the illegal some food and they called INS and my dad spoke to him-- he was from some Central American country and his Spanish was different. The next time my dad was in the city, he used it on a linguistics professor from the U and he asked him when he started to learn Guatemalan Spanish. Likewise, my brother took Spanish and says, "I can count to ten in Spanish. Sort of." My children started learning their languages and my German came back. I can do languages.

No comments: