Entry 38: La Vida Latina

Finally in the Southern Hemisphere. The water runs down the sink counter clockwise, December is summer, and the constellations are different. After Australia there are three more continents for me to visit before I’ve visited all seven. The remaining three are in the Southern Hemisphere South America, Africa, and Antarctica.  I don’t think I will get to the Antarctic penguin prairie land until retirement. I want to give Egypt and North Africa time to cool off before visiting the pyramids. I’ve decided that South America and I need to get better acquainted. ¡Let the Latinization of Derren Guillermo Temél begin!

I’ve begun to learn Spanish. I tricked a Mexican-American girl into tutoring me in Spanish. The tutoring is more for exposure to the language than structured learning. We do full immersion conversations and I pay a dollar every time I use English (my idea). I studied Latin for two years in high school and to comical affect I use Latin words instead of Spanish ones. To add to my language confusion the Capoeira club encourages me to learn Portuguese nouns. I am colliding the three languages together. It’s actually heaps of fun. Romance languages are only the rock by which you smash open the sweet coconut of Latin culture.

Can you spot me?

While falling over an aborted handstand at capoeira lessons, I made a curious observation. All over the world Brazilians are kind people. In high school I had a Brazilian friend who was super friendly. In Japan, Michael and I attended a Brazilian guy’s BBQ. Now in Sydney the Brazilian people at the Capoeira group are super friendly. I’ve had such a positive experience with the Brazilian people, whom I have met, that the horrors of Rio De Janeiro portrayed in the movies City of Men and City of God won’t keep me away from Brazil. Watch out 2016 Olympics in Rio I’mma coming

I’ve also started to attend Cuban Salsa dancing class. The class is once a week for the last three weeks I’m here. I’m having a good time. Despite not knowing how to Salsa I’m making due. I’m the handsomest man in the class so the ladies are happy to have me step on their toes.



To put some academic weight behind my new interest I’ve registered for an International Relations course in the Politics of Latin America for the Fall of 2011. One day I hope to understand what Tommy jabbers on about when he recants the history of Nicaragua and to understand those gargantuan papers Bonnie is constantly writing.

To explain my seemingly random interest in Latin America. When it comes to learning Spanish, I’m a late starter. My mother and sister speak Spanish proficiently. My two best friends lived/live in Spain. My friends and family are leaps and bounds ahead of me with Spanish and interest in Latin America.

Rango & Rio

My friends’ and families’ interest in Latin culture reflects a growing trend in the States. The US is gradually becoming more Latinized. For example the two major animated movies in theaters in America today display Latin cultural influences; Rango and Rio. Since the trend is inevitable I’m glad that I’m jumping on the bandwagon voluntarily and with genuine curiosity, before I get left behind.

My major in university is International Relations with a focus on regional politics. I have intensely studied the regional politics of Asia, Europe, and Australia. It is part of my natural curiosity to move onto South America. Should I ever travel to South America, it is in my best interest that I know a good deal about my surroundings and how to communicate with the people. Next semester I will take a class in diplomacy to see if it is right for me. If I do pursue diplomacy I could very likely be stationed in Latin America for years.

Makoto and Asahi

Most importantly I look forward to the friends I will make once I have learned Spanish. Learning Japanese gave me Brandon, Joe, Makoto, Asahi, and Michael. I feel as though learning Spanish will open me up to a host of new people and make my interactions with my already Latinized friends more fun. New friends and a lot of fun is the best reason to do anything.



My work is hosting a farewell party for a lawyer in my group Thursday night at this restaurant and Friday after work the entire staff, hundreds of people, is having a social drinking event.

Salud, Derren

2 thoughts on “Entry 38: La Vida Latina

  1. ¡Ey cabrón! I’m glad to hear you’re learning Spanish. I hope you read that New Yorker article I sent. Central America is an enigma wrapped inside a puzzle. How long will you be in Heights before Boston. Take care brother. I’ll see you soon.


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