Two of my friends from elementary school now have college age children who, according to their mothers, are all too cautious in life. They do not understand it, as they at the same age were not so cautious themselves, and as they have not raised their children to be fearful. One of these children, for example, is so fearless that she surfed almost all the way to the Island of the Blue Dolphins, no mean feat, yet on land she refuses to leave our home county for work or study. Why should she, I said to myself, it does not get better elsewhere; but out loud I said “It is the economy, I see why she is cautious.”
The people I partly raised are more as we were ourselves, but they were already rather old when I met them. One reads history in England and is angry because I do not agree with his or her dissertation proposal. The other hacks code in Austin and is grateful that I am not upset to have him or her living “so far” away. Both are reasonably adventurous but this is surely not my doing. My students are more cautious and I tell my friends it is not their fault that they have cautious children. Caution is in style.
Tonight I ran into my erstwhile student, currently in someone else’s class, at the gym. He wanted to know about study abroad. He has been to Europe before, but with his family. He is concerned about arriving alone to Madrid-Barajas and transferring from there to the metro and then RENFE — and then negotiating a cab when he arrives to his town. It is going to be quite frightening, said he, doing all of that, on my own, in Spanish.
I was thinking: your Castilian ancestry is apparent and you are going to fit right in. I was also thinking: when I was your age I did that. Mostly I was thinking: men and women younger than you shipped off tonight to Afghanistan and do not know when or if they are coming back. I did not say these things. I said: another student from your former class is going; you can perhaps travel together.
La expresión que viene en cuenta es atreverse a [+ infinitivo].