Scene@ Tertulia Latina | Culture | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Scene@ Tertulia Latina 

Radio Bean, Burlington, Friday, June 22, 5:30-7:30 p.m.


I sat at the bar nursing a Switchback and nervously watching mis amigos arrive. It’s been months since my short-lived stay in Barcelona, and I feared my Spanish would be too unsophisticated for Tertulia Latina, a Spanish-language conversation group that meets weekly at Burlington’s Radio Bean. But then I spotted a woman who, like myself, appeared to be a first-timer. Her confidence impressed me and encouraged me to join in.

The man who seemed to be in charge of the gathering, Hugo Martinez-Cazón, was warm and welcoming, and didn’t hesitate to offer help with my pitiful speech. An environmental engineer from Argentina, Martinez-Cazón has been meeting informally with el grupo (the group) for approximately three years. I quickly learned that it got started as a simple engagement between Martinez-Cazón and a friend, who met just to hang out and talk as they would in cafés back home.

I became so absorbed in the conversation that, when I finally took a look around, I was surprised to find myself sitting among 15 or so other people, whose language skills ranged from quasi-fluent to advanced. Some even came as far as Rouses Point, New York, to reunirse (meet up with) and charlar (chat) in castellano. The few English speakers remaining in the café had disappeared into the night, leaving Radio Bean to buzz Latinoamerican-style.

What I liked most about the gathering was that its only purpose was to practice — and celebrate — the Spanish language. Before I departed, Martinez-Cazón pointed out something I hadn’t thought of: “Each person’s first language,” he said, “is an integral part of that individual’s personality and being.” Es importante que no olvidemos de esto (it is important that we not forget this)!

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

About The Author

Emily James


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Culture

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2022 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation