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Shakira: An interview with Charlotte

Most of us don't take the opportunity to travel internationally as much as we dream about. Others, make it a priority to do so. Charlotte -- a 30-something ESL teacher from North Carolina -- travels a lot. She spent time in Latin America; she lived in Ghana for a few weeks; she shared with her husband her love for travel by exploring Europe for their honeymoon.  Her travels brought about her love for teaching, her passion for the Spanish language and instilled a never-satisfied wanderlust within her soul. She tells us her story of a memorable travel experience when she got to see one of her favorite musicians. Charlotte's love for Shakira was not solely about the music; it was about how the music helped her gain confidence in her abilities to speak this second language and turn it into a career. 

I had been traveling through Ecuador for over a year.  Sara was my roommate who traveled with me for a few months during that time. That was where I discovered I loved being a teacher.  I now speak Ecuadorian Spanish because of that experience.  People from Ecuador recognize that I speak their language which is nice. When you travel there, that helps to make it feel like home. 

I went to see one of my all time favorite musicians while I was in Ecuador. It was in a high school auditorium - so it was a little ghetto.  My friend Sara and I were sitting there and - keep in mind - there were no assigned seats. This couple came up to us and said we were sitting in their seats! Sara almost got in a fight with them because it was only 6 inches of space!  We were like, "You cannot fit here - no one can fit here.  It's only 6 inches of space". This is my memory of this show. That, and Shakira changed costumes 8 different times. 

I remember standing in line for awhile.  It probably went on for miles.  They were sold out - the line went around the city block. It was all different kinds of people - young, old, locals, tourists. It was really intense. It was when Shakira was actually Shakira - now she is like pop-crap.  I started listening to her 20 years ago when I was 14.  She put out her first album when she was 14.  We used to have dance parties in high school. We would listen to - and sing and dance with -  Shakira in Spanish.   

I also saw Juanes when I was in Ecuador at the soccer stadium and that was also really intense. Latin Americans are passionate people in general - mix that with a love of music and you get a really exciting moment in time. Music concerts in Latin American countries are as popular as they are in America, but it's less accessible.  Tickets are expensive, so it's only the very very wealthy that can go.   

Estoy Aqui from her original album is my favorite song of hers, of all time.  Actually my first blog was named after that song.  I liked it because I spoke enough Spanish at the time to really understand it. Shakira has a really fast part in this song that you can't really say unless you're fluent in Spanish - and I could keep up with her.  So that was my proof that I was good enough. 

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