So happy to be back in Baja for a few days. I started spending lots of time in Mexico a dozen years ago but only learned Spanish in the past few years. One of the first pieces of advice I received from the gringos who relocated to Baja was, “when in doubt, say Que Bueno!” Or, in other words, “How Great!”
First of all, I think if you’re living here, you’d want to learn Spanish. But, of course, some of my neighbors say I still don’t know Spanish. I smile and then, with a dot, dot, dot, add “yet.” I don’t know Spanish…yet.”
So, in my earliest days here, a Mexican might whisper to me, "Tu cremallera está abajo," also known as "your zipper is down." I would proudly shout back, "Que bueno!"
"Viene un huracán!" ("There’s a hurricane coming!") "Que bueno!"
"No me siento bien hoy." ("I’m not feeling well today.") "Que bueno!"
To think how many local Mexicans I may have upset over the years. Is it any wonder I still have friends? But, hey, I didn’t know better. Of course, over time, as my Spanish got better, I learned to respond more accurately. Today, I’m incredibly grateful that I put myself on the path to becoming fluent in Spanish one day.
I think back to my #1 question we need to ask ourselves in midlife and beyond: "10 years from now, what will you regret if you don’t learn it or do it now?" My answer was clear.
Thank you to Ivonne Benetiz from Hablando Mexicano, who spent 2-3 years teaching me the basics of Spanish in my late 50’s.
Okay, now is the perfect time to say a loud and hearty, "Que Bueno!"