==This post is an excerpt from my upcoming book, Changing Gears: A Family Odyssey to the End of the World. While we are hiking the Colorado Trail from Denver to Durango this summer, I’ll post an excerpt every Monday.==
“Mommy! Mommy!” Daryl shouted as we pulled into the parking lot. “They have tamales! They have tamales!”
I glanced over to the pickup truck parked in front of the hotel and noticed the big TAMALE sign, before refocusing my attention on the hotel. I climbed off my bike and headed off in search of the office to see about a room. I was hot and sweaty, and wanted to find a place to stay for the night. Food could come later.
“Mommy! They’ve got tamales!” Daryl danced in excitement around me. “Can we get some? For dinner? Please?”
Daryl was in heaven – they had tamales, his favorite food in the whole wide world. Davy had been good since we arrived in Mexico – his favorite food was tortillas and beans – but Daryl had been searching high and low for tamales since we crossed the border. He finally found them.
I handed him some money and told him to go buy some.
“Will you come with me? I don’t know how to buy them,” he begged.
“Nope,” I replied. “You can do it. Just go tell the man ‘Quiero tamales’ and you’ll be fine.”
“But what if he starts talking jibberish back to me? I won’t know what to say.”
“You’ll figure it out, or you won’t get tamales. There are only two possibilities here.”
He took the money and headed out. A few minutes later he returned triumphant with tamales in hand.
He was well on his way to fluency in a new language.