Estoy teniendo un tiempo maravilloso aquí en Avilés en Asturias en el festival Celsius 232*
No, I don’t actually speak Spanish that well. But I wish I did and I’ve decided I’m going to. Every time I go to a non-English-speaking country, I fall in love with the language, whatever it is. I used to learn languages as a hobby and Old Eternal’s side of our family is blessed with the gift of tongues. I have found to my great joy that even though I’m much older than I was when I first set out to learn Russian and German and Mandarin, it’s not harder for me to pick up another language, provided I devote enough time and concentration to it.
(I also want to learn Finnish. Considering that I grew up in a town with such a large Finnish population that we had a branch of the Finnish embassy, I’m almost embarrassed that I haven’t. And I want to learn Japanese, too––considering I’ve just won the Seiun Award for short fiction in translation, and considering I have a son who has been learning the language while getting his MA in Japanese Cultural Studies [with merit, no less!], it’s kind of embarrassing that I haven’t. I love learning languages. Pero estoy divagando.**)
But today I would just like to speak Spanish while walking around without back pain––which is where the “Push It Redux” comes in. This beautiful hotel has a small gym, and the small gym has a lovely recumbent bike and yesterday, I fully intended to rise before dawn today to use it. But that was before I did so much walking around. Well, it’s a lot for me. And I decided that riding a recumbent bike is something I can do at home. Here I am, in beautiful Avilés where I have been plodding up and down inclines and stairs and my back has been really liking it…not during, of course, but afterwards. Last night, after enjoying some vino and wonderful company and listening to stories that made me laugh so hard it engaged my core muscles, I found myself walking back to the hotel with my cane still folded up in my shoulder bag and my back feeling like it did when I was 9 and taking ballet lessons (just to be clear: I took feeling that good for granted).
And to think I had actually toyed with the idea of cancelling because I’m still not very rehabilitated physically.
¡Si, es cierto!***
I was seriously considering wimping out and then decided to honour my commitment instead, and I’m so glad I did. I knew that any physical help I needed would be available to me on request so there was nothing to worry about on that score. But would I be up to the socialising? I love to give a convention or a conference their money’s worth.
Well, the people here make it easy to rise to the occasion. Spanish fans are sensational––friendly, welcoming––they are the kind of people who, when you meet them, you realise they are friends you just didn’t know before. If I can come back here on my own next year––if I’m solvent enough and physically able enough––I will.
This is one more reminder: Push through the fatigue. Push through the inertia. Push throught the uncertainty. Push through the physical discomfort. Push through the anxiety. Otherwise, you might miss one of those life-savours.
*I’m having a wonderful time here in Avilés in Asturias at the Celsius 232 festival
[Celsius 232 = Fahrenheit 451]
**But I digress.
***Yes, it’s true!