Sunday, November 05, 2006

new adventures in spanish

i started my time in spain with best intentions of speaking Spanish. To start with though, when someone spoke to me I would do my full routine of "I´m sorry, I don´t speak Spanish. Do you speak any English". This became annoying after a while because they were often just asking very mundane questions like "would you like anything else" etc. They would get frustrated at my "speech"

I then learnt bits and pieces to cover these basic interactions so moved on to saying "No entiendo" only when I didnt understand...... but this also had its drawbacks as some people were asking if they could open the window, or making idle comments in the bus line etc.

So, tired of looking foolsh I decided on a new strategy and started saying yes to everything, if in doubt. This became a little expensive as I kept getting upsized and extra items turned up on the bill etc. It also led to that awkward moment when they wait for me to continue after Ive said yes, and I then have to backtrack to admit that I dont know what they are saying afterall an we return to my second phase.

So, rather than just admit that Im foreign and dont speaka de language, Ive now taken to saying no to everything. Just to confirm that this not a smart move, I tried it at the local budget grocer. The checkout chica asked me a few questions and I shook my head with confidence and said "no gracias" in my best accent. She said something like, "I guess its not necessary...." and I stood there with my shopping, and no bags and realised that Id told her that "no thanks, I dont need any bags". The walk home was mercifully short as i tottered under the awkward pile of washing powder, toothpaste, bread, tuna and tomatos etc....... as i reminded mysef that i HAVE to practice my spanish so I can stop playing these games....


postscript........ I had a man outside a pub on halloween call after me as I walked past to go down the street to my flat..... and tired of men having their little piece to say to the chicas, I flipped my hair and strutted off ignoring his continued calls..... Then a few minutes later i looked back and realised that I had a 5 metre trail of fake spider web cottony stuff stuck to my heel (not as bad as toilet paper but not far off)... suspect he was trying to alert me to the fact thats id picked up some of their decoration on my way past....... humbled and reminded that i dont know everything.