We're taking a trip to Guadalajara this month (in fact, we leave in less than a week, aiee) and we've been studying Spanish with the Pimsleur CDs since Thanksgiving. I've never studied Spanish before, but I do have a couple of years each of Latin and French and a little Italian under my belt... which helps in some ways (I've already been exposed to concepts like grammatical gender) and hinders in others (when I reach for a Spanish word, my brain rummages in the "Romance languages I kind of know" bag and hands me something which may or may not be correct). I feel rather overwhelmed, but my experience with Japanese tells me that even a little bit of the local language helps enormously.
Yesterday our Spanish lesson included phrases such as "Yo estoy enfermo" (I am sick) and "Necesito un médico" (I need a doctor). It's sometimes kind of strange when a CD makes me lie in a foreign language (e.g. making me say "Me gusta la cerveza"), but as I was saying those things I realized that I was, in fact, feeling a bit of a scratchy throat coming on. It was as though I was actually getting sick from exposure to the concept in Spanish. Language is a virus, indeed. I took a bunch of vitamin C and sambucus before going to bed.
I felt somewhat better this morning, and I hope to be completely recovered in a day or two. But I don't have a lot of energy.
The trip to Eugene to speak to the Wordos writing group went well. There were something over a dozen people present, including Nina Kiriki Hoffman and Jerry Oltion, and they seemed pleased with my talk about the various workshops and research trips I've taken for my writing and the Q&A afterwards. The trip also included several nice meals, a view of three volcanoes, and listening to Alan Cumming read Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan. Not too shabby a day, all told.