I have joined a group of women who speak or try to speak in Spanish every other Monday. This week's hostess, Angelica, when her husband's job in Ottawa comes to an end, will soon return to Chile. Among the others present was Ralitsa (again), the professional violinist, who really enjoys her concert tours in South America, but was scared by the way her 'plane into Santiago had to descend very rapidly over those nearby mountains. Before she flies back to Argentina to participate in some more concerts soon, her next trip will be to her homeland Bulgaria, to organise a Days of Canadian Culture festival in Sofia, the second time she has done this.
Janine was planning an extraordinary trip too, a cruise she had booked four years ago on The Explorer, due to sail from Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego) into the Antarctic, via the Falkland Islands, tracing Sir Ernest Shackleton's route to Elephant Island and visiting his grave on South Georgia on the way. Actually I know two other people who have done this trip, although they skipped the detour to the Falklands: Yiwen and Pete, who told me that it surpassed every other adventure they have had, and they are well-seasoned travellers indeed.
After our foray into a Spanish translation of a funny Hans Christian Anderson story (Lo que hecho el padre, bien hecho está), I got talking in English to Ursula, a Swiss-Canadian who used her Spanish while working for CIDA, in Mexico. She told me about the problems she'd encountered when having to recruit an interpreter to meet with a group of native Mexicans who spoke less Spanish than she did. Daphne joined in with this conversation, telling us how she'd twice been in working parties building houses for poverty stricken people in Guatemala.
I make no attempt to compete with these women's credentials, just find it interesting to be in their company from time to time.