Creating Beautiful Mundo: A Look Behind-the-Scenes
How can someone who is still working towards fluency in Spanish be writing a curriculum teaching it?
No one has asked me that question, but it's something I've been wanting to talk about. For me, it's about being transparent and vulnerable with you in the hopes that you will better understand what Beautiful Mundo is, and why it's never out of reach to learn a language yourself, or to teach your children a language that you're not fluent in.
When Beautiful Mundo was barely more than an idea, I had a different name for it. I simply called it "my project." It was a dream, a collection of hopes and beliefs I had gathered in my mind. The journey that creating this "project" took me on was so incredible, so unexpected, and so deeply touched my heart, that calling this project of mine Beautiful Mundo was the only name that felt right.
In the middle of 2020, during some of the darkest times we have collectively faced in recent history, I couldn't help but be filled with a sense of connectedness, appreciation, and admiration for our Earth and all living things on it. We truly do live in a Beautiful World. A world full of beautiful people, cultures, and languages.
A big part of what so deeply touched me while creating Beautiful Mundo, was the people that I connected with, the intimate editing process we went through together, and the friendships that blossomed out of our work. I was connecting with people living in Guatemala, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, and Spain, at a time when I wasn't even leaving the house to say hi to my best friend and closest neighbor! How lucky are we to live in a time when this is a possibility?
With each and every person I hired, I introduced myself, shared my vision for Beautiful Mundo, what I was hoping to create, and why. Beautiful Mundo simply wouldn't exist today if it weren't for the enthusiasm, joy, and encouragement that I received back in those initial messages. The incredible support and kind words I received continue to inspire me.
A few truly special working relationships have developed over the past year. Some people I work with only write to me in Spanish, and I only write to them in English, because we are both so dedicated to learning each other's native language. It's a truly incredible and meaningful process for me. This mutual respect and joy for language learning is what Beautiful Mundo is really all about.
On the Writing and Editing Process
Every line of Spanish in Beautiful Mundo was first written by me, and I've done all of my own translation work. Not perfectly, and at times, incorrectly. I write and do my best to express each and every thought and idea I have in both languages. Every song, every poem, every story, every source of information in Beautiful Mundo has been painstakingly and carefully translated and interpreted by me... sitting locked away in my home office, with piles of books and tabs pulled up on my browser to cross-reference, investigate, and learn. Each resource and recommendation I make is carefully researched, and thoughtfully considered to make Beautiful Mundo as diverse and inclusive as possible. Many books and songs haven't made the cut! Only once this process is complete do I send everything I have written and translated to my native Spanish-speaking editors.
Opening Todo es canción for the first time (the Volume One poetry book), or listening to four albums worth of Canticuénticos' wonderful music (without English translations), completely overwhelmed and intimidated me at first. I questioned whether or not I could ever finish writing these Volumes more than once. I can't tell you how many times I listened to people in videos effortlessly switching back and forth between English and Spanish in jealously. Inevitably, feelings of doubt would creep into my mind, and a voice within me would ask, "how can I possibly do this?"
How insufficient my time in Spanish class during middle school, high school, and college felt now!