I spent the time between then & now engrossed in a travel memoir written by a Spanish man who traveled to China in the early 1990's - when China had just opened its borders to foreign tourists. I finished reading the book the day before the book club meeting.
I was excited to join the club, not only because I loved the book & wanted to talk about it with the group, but also because I haven't had much opportunity to speak Spanish since I left Arizona, & I'm feeling a bit rusty.
When I got to the cafe, everyone was warm & welcoming. Siéntate y placticar con nosotros. We had a great discussion about the book & shared some yummy Yunnan food together. It was delightful.
At one point someone asked me where I was from. The US - Arizona. "But have you lived in a Spanish-speaking country?" they asked. No - well, unless you consider the US a Spanish-speaking country. They were surprised & told me I have a Mexican accent. Ha! Of course, right?
But that means that all is not lost as far as my Spanish-speaking abilities. They say that one way to know that you speak a language fluently is when people stop complimenting you on your ability to speak it. No one at this book club meeting said anything about how well I spoke.
On the other hand, every time I utter anything in Chinese, people all around ooh & ah: "Your Chinese is soooo good!" It's great to have the encouragement, but it looks like I have a long way to go before I can say I'm fluent in Chinese.