False beginner? A visit to an Argentinian Bakery and Cafe in West New York, NJ

How many times have you attempted to learn a language from the start, with a book of grammar and realised, no matter the times you revisit, you seem perpetually stuck at chapter one.

It is the time to reconsider my love for languages and there is no better time to do this than in times of lock down. For anyone out there that needs to be convinced any further on why learning a language can be great during this period, here are nine. Also, besides cultural connectivity and enhancing of creativity, learning a language can help boost ambiguity tolerance. It enables us to find unusual situations more exciting than making us afraid.

Having attempted to work the text books yet again, I concluded that this wasn’t going to be fun, not in a million years. I had acclimatised myself enough, to the landscape of sounds, words and nuance in Spanish, having engaged innumerable vectors for inoculation through music, art, dance, cuisine, movies etc. Somehow that tome of grammar loomed like a testament to futile attempts at the bookish study.

So finally, I decided to give up and respect the fact that I already knew enough to begin enjoying my use of the words. That’s what makes me false beginner.

There’s so much pleasure in visiting exotic locales where the words and sounds you lean towards, quite naturally inscribe themselves on your mindscape. So here I am, reminiscing about the days before we became home bound, about this quaint Argentinian bakery and cafe called Dulce de Leche, in West New York, State of New Jersey, where I sat with a book by Madrigal, that assured me I had an extensive vocabulary in Spanish already. The delicious empanadas that I savoured, helped me I believe, further memorise the chicken empanada and the spinach empanada. They are now engraved on my palate forever.

It is such a beautiful way never to forget.


At Duce de Leche, empanadas

IMG_20200124_125401 (1)

Identify your strengths in language ~ Learn cognates first ūüôā

Today, I came across this wonderful gem, on my Fresh Finds on Spotify, by  Gabriela Casero, Islas Desiertas. Watch the quirky video, it truly looks so simply put together, altogether touching.

This melancholic melody is such a beautiful  way never to remember. 

Me recuerdas con tus gestos a personas que dej√© atr√°s a prop√≥sito , S√© que no es algo bonito de decir ni de escuchar, Ni uno s√≥lo de tus rasgos me parece un poco ex√≥tico , No eres un sitio al que huir, es que no eres ni un lugar…

You remind me with your gestures of the people I left behind on purpose, I know it is something not beautiful to say nor to listen to, Not even one of your features seems a bit exotic, You are not a getaway, not even a place…

It’s a beautiful song, such poignant verse. The lyrical quality of this song is so touching, even in a language that I am not fully familiar with, the pathos in her voice to an electronic beat and rhythm, is like a quiet persistent heartbeat. One of the many reasons to learn a language I would think, so you can feel like how the poet feels. Words that span similar meaning across languages bring about vivid evocations of people, places and feelings based on the texture of sound alone.

The time spent being home bound is perhaps the best time to explore music, literature, poetry, cuisine and everything else associated with a different language and culture. It is truly the itinerant’s plan b.

Dule de leche


I really want to visit this bakery again; the many times I have been there, it’s always been in the company of dear friends and a cafe that has been brimming with patrons enjoying time together in a neighbourhood that is bustling with life. I wonder how fares this cafe and neighbourhood in these strange times of distancing ourselves from others? Perhaps I will find out soon enough.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s