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ruthless compassion
13 May 2004 @ 09:25 am
Tuesday afternoon I did my first conference translation since I got back. It was neither my best nor my worst translation, but it did remind me how much I enjoy doing it. Translating on the spot is unlike any other kind of concentration that I've experienced in my life. Normally, when one is listening to a report or conference, one's attention drifts in and out, and that's especially true, I think, when listening to a language in which one isn't fluent. But when translating, there's no opportunity for that rest in attention. I need to be listening closely to the speaker, taking notes for reference, and, then, at a pause, change my attention from receptive to productive and use my notes of keywords to translate it all into English, and then back to receptive and note-taking. It's completely exhausting, and I totally love doing it. Part of it is knowing that I do it well, but part of it, too, is just enjoying the process, and the fact of working my brain harder than I do in most settings of my life. My teacher this week, Doris, thinks I should consider translation as a career. I have a long way to go before I could do it professionally, or in both directions, but it's an intriguing idea.

Tuesday afternoon, we had the first major rainstorm of the season. The rainy season here runs roughly May - October, so it's been a "any day now" kind of thing. Afternoons are cloudy, but not yet very rainy. But Tuesday was a deluge, full on with thunder and lightning (which isn't common here, in my experience), and a power outage during dinner! (Alejandro, the 9yo in my house, saved the day by using his light saber to light the cabinet for his mom and grandmother to search for candles.) It'll be great to have rain more regularly -- it keeps the dust down and makes the polution of the city much more manageable -- but it also means the end of mangoes, since apparently as soon as it rains, every mango is instanty infested with worms. So I'm stocked up with good mangoes for the next week or so, and that'll be that.

Yesterday, I went on a school trip to Salcajá, which is a town I visited last year, too. It's the center of corte weaving in the country, and we visiting a field where they dye and dry the threads (dyed in a pattern to come out as the right design in the final weaving -- very cool), and then the home of a weaver, who has two huge looms in the attic. It's all amazing, and it makes me feel boggled at the low cost of the cortes (about $5 a yard, for all this hand-work). We also visited the oldest church in CA, and were accosted by a couple of drugged/drunk men. Our guide handled them fairly well, and I picked up a bit of interesting vocabulary!

Today, I do another translation, and more work on nitty gritty stuff of grammar. I'm really at the point with the language that what I need to do is 2 months not of classes but of no-english 99% of the time. Maybe next year.

In the meantime, mrf_arch and I are working out details for me to move in there soon after my return to Boston. It's extremely difficult for me to be thinking about being settled in one place for more than a month. How weird.