My love of English is like any true love. It is the product of inevitability. I write now because I have to, because I have always had to, even if I haven’t always known that to be true. It is nothing more complicated than that, or really even more profound. I’m not talking about fate or predestination. The inevitability of an idea is not nearly as complicated existentially as the inevitability of an event. We go through life forming the people we will become, and we are inevitably the sum of everything we have been. It just takes a special set of circumstances to understand that we are where we are supposed to be. And it has never been clearer than last night, when a passing feeling caught me off guard.

It struck me just last night how much I am going to miss the English language. I will be speaking nearly exclusively Spanish until the end of December, and that actually terrifies me – not the prospect of improving my Spanish, but the prospect of losing my English. Spanish is a beautiful language, a language for talking to God, they say. Yesterday marked my first month in Paraguay, and at this point I understand everything people tell me, speak with more or less functional fluency, and dream in a Spanglish that would horrify even the most casual devotee of either language. The Spanish language, and in fact my Spanish personality, is gradually merging with the person I am in English.

As much as I appreciate the aesthetic of Spanish, it will never mean to me what English means to me. I love the English language. I am in infatuated with it. It is my passion, my art, my devotion, and my comfort. I am intimately acquainted the flavor of its every sound on the tongue and its resonance through the sternum into the gut. To be a master in the delicate collusion of rhythm and breath, the most subtle slight of cadence to the most jarring digression. The catalogue of grammar is vast, but only experience, tenderness and care can inform a far more engaging vernacular: the exception to the rule.

I will come to love Spanish. That, too, may be inevitable. It will take a lot of time, and I will probably never know it with the same adoring familiarity that I do English, but I have no doubt that we will become closely acquainted. There is a point in a relationship with a language at which a sentence becomes more than a product of its words, and a word more than a product of its letters – when you can feel a visceral pulse in the meter and sustain of every syllable. It’s when the experience of a page of text is more fulfilling than the experience of a photograph. It’s love. For the next six months I will entertain Spanish as an exciting new mistress, but I know in my heart that ultimately, English is all I have. I hope she can find it in her heart to take me back, but if not, then I probably never deserved her in the first place.

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