Saturday, March 10, 2007

Counting down to '08

Since January I've been taking night classes in Spanish at the University of Wisconsin. I'm not doing this for any single reason. It's partly because I'm a journalist who covers the city of Madison, and there are more and more Spanish speakers here. It's partly because the karma feels right -- this is an increasingly Spanish-speaking nation, so why not be able to talk with the neighbors?

And it's also fun being back in school, though language courses were not my favorites in college and graduate school. I liked them much more than science and math lectures, much less than literature and history seminars.

Mostly I bring this up because I wanted to tell you about something funny that happened Thursday night. For some reason the topic of landscape greenery came up, including bushes. Our instructor Antonio asked whether anyone knew the Spanish word for bush, and one of my fellow students guessed, in a stage whisper: "Diablo?"

Grinning, Antonio feigned horror and the group of 20 or so of us laughed and laughed -- except for one woman, who looked uncomfortable.

The word, as it happens, is arbusto.

No comments: