Learning a foreign language can be a daunting challenge, but it is also a rewarding experience. Certain words become seared into your mind because of some incidents that happen along the way. And, so it was with me….
I was in Segovia Spain during one of those wet and rainy nights common in Segovia the Summer of 73. I was accompanied by two Segovian ladies, one on each side. I carried the umbrella – the gentleman I was. Life couldn't have been more perfect.
As we trekked a little further towards the plaza de Azoquejo on La Calle Boceguillas (the name was later changed to La Calle Vía Roma to mark the bimillenium of the Roman aqueduct), One of the girls shouted in typical Castellian, "¡Marcos, ¡cuidado un charco! Or for the less erudite, "Mark watch out a mud puddle!" Well, at the time, I did not know the word for mud puddle in Spanish, so I turned and responded, "¿un qué?" The rain continued to spatter against the ground muffling most of our conversation, but I didn't have time to hear the response anyway. With my next step, I caught my foot against a pebble, and I began to fall in slow motion or so it seemed into a small patch of water, or a gargantuan lake as my mind would perceive. The water splashed against my clothes seeping into every little tear and crevice it could find making the umbrella just another vain attempt at keeping myself dry. Needless to say, I was one sopping mess. Out of the corner of my ear, I finally heard the response to my question as I looked up in embarrassment, "¡un charco!"
I learned the word, "charco" or "mud puddle" that day always grateful for that one indelible moment, and a rainy night in Segovia.