Today was the first day of Spanish class, and, after five tries, I finally don’t have start in intermediate Spanish. I am in the highest section, C2 with three other students. Our teacher is Joel. I’ve had him for a week in the past. Interested in theatre, he makes the classroom fun.

We read a piece titled “El etnógrafo” by Jorge Luis Borges about an average guy named Fred Murdoch who learned the secret of life from a shaman. He was writing his thesis on the indigenous group, but once he knew the secret he decided not to reveal it, and he lived a very average life. We created hypotheticals about how his life might have been different had he: not learned the secret, shared the secret, married one of the indigenous people, not had the dreams that confirmed to the shaman that he ought to know, etc.

Then we read a poem about an average person’s; there were few details, but our work was to determine if the life was a good one.

Here’s the poem and my translation.

Biografía (Biography)

Nacío. (S/he was born.)
Salío. (S/he left.)
Se capacitó. (S/he received an education.)
Abró la puerta y la cerró. (S/he opened the door and shut it.)
Miró. (S/he looked.)
Salío. (S/he left.)
Reflexionó. (S/he reflected.)
Volvío. (S/he returned.)
Encendío (S/he lit)
la luz que luego apagó. (the light that s/he later extinguished.)
Cuidadosamente cogío (S/he carefully picked up)
la manzana que no se comío, (the apple that s/he did not eat,)
y escogío (and chose)
una silla donde sentó. (a chair where s/he sat.)
No miró, (S/he did not look,)
recapacitó. (reconsidered)
Marchó. Regresó, (marched. Returned,
sopío (blew)
y desaparecío. (and disappeared.)

–Carlos Bousono

I think it was a good life. The majority of us are content even though we will simply disappear in the end even though we make choices that keep us from achieving something greater.

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