He Doesn’t Get My Music, I Don’t Get His Language. Why We Get Each Other.

When we were dating, I remember asking Victor to come watch me perform in our school’s orchestral concert. I was performing a violin solo, and the event was very important to me. I knew that Victor loved Techno, Country, and Reggae music, but Classical symphonies were not on his playlist.

We hadn’t been dating long, and I wasn’t sure he would come. I figured the pain of sitting through a Classical concert might be too much for him, but I was crossing my fingers that he might come. I’ll never forget how special I felt when I saw him, all dressed up, make his way down the aisle to find his seat. When we made eye contact, he smiled so big. And when the applause began, his cheers were the loudest and most sincere.

Mozart and Beethoven were from my world, not his. But he engaged in it for me, and he didn’t need to go out and take cello lessons in order to step into this world with me. He still doesn’t know or understand everything I know about Classical music, but he really loves the fact that I do.  I can tell that he really is proud of me, and he likes to brag to people about this part of my life.

Victor has a life apart from me, too. His world of Spanish is something that I try to step into, but I will never understand it like he does. I have tried to learn Spanish. I have spent hours of trial and error in the kitchen, hoping to recreate Salvadoran dishes that he loves so much. But try as I may, I will never be Salvadoran. And that’s okay.

When we got engaged, I made a trip with Victor to visit his family. Most of them spoke only Spanish. They ate food I had never seen before. And most of what they did made no sense to me. This was his world, not mine.

At first I felt lost—like an outsider, not able to fit in. But then I realized that it wasn’t a bad thing for us each to have different parts of our lives that would remain different even when we merged our lives together. Instead of looking at his world of Spanish as something that I will never fit into, I decided to accept that it was his and not mine. I looked at him as having something special and unique that was all his.

I think it is so cool that he can switch back and forth between languages. Every Latino he meets is a friend because they have a mysterious “brotherhood” of the same language. And I’m proud of him for that. Sure, I still try to learn how to properly conjugate my Spanish verbs. But it’s special that I am who I am, and he is who he is.

Victor and I have a lot in common. But there are also things about us that are completely unique. We don’t try to erase those differences in order to get along better. We respect those different interests, tastes, and goals. And we are even attracted to each other because of them. We had our own lives before we met; and it’s pretty cool that we still have them now, too. We are two different lives that came together as one.  Our love makes us one, but our differences make us unique.

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