Now that winter is almost here, it was 21 c this morning, I need something to keep me occupied through the long dark nights. (Besides Rosalie.) So I have decided to improve on my Spanish.
Most people already speak Spanish down here funnily enough, so if I want to be understood I will have to make an effort to communicate with them. We did hear of a lady complaining that she had been coming here for ten years and they, the local population, still hadn’t learned to speak English.
Rosalie speaks Spanish well enough to get me out of most trouble. While buying our bikes I said something to the store owner and he thought I spoke Spanish. I quickly pointed him in Rosalie’s direction and they had quite the chat. Now he waves when he sees us go by on our bikes.
Like the bike shop owner, people seem to appreciate it when you try to speak their language. We were in our local restaurant for drinks one day. This is where we exchange ideas about the language with the help of Google Translate. Rosalie ordered a Lemonada and I ordered a ‘Ron y Coca’. While waiting for it we asked the waiter to clarify something in Spanish. I also mentioned that we were trying to learn his language. His face lit up and I got the best R & C I’d had in a long time.
I try to use Spanish whenever possible. It can be a bit of a challenge if Rosalie isn’t there to help but I think I know the basics and am learning to build from there.
I use short sentences that are personal to me. As an example, when we go the market there is a guy who often asks me to buy a t-shirt (playera.) So I came up with this: “Mi esposa no dice mas playera.” (My wife says no more t-shirts.) When I first said it to him he cracked up and I get a smile every time I see him now. I’ve used it in a lot of situations and Rosalie’s starting to look like a nag.
I do know quite a bit of Spanish and use it all the time. The only problem is when Mexicans speak back I can pick out some words but can’t seem to put it all together. I do have some successes though and it gives me encouragement to try again; and again, make a fool of myself.
It’s very satisfying when you speak to someone and they know what you said and they answer and you know what they said. I usually walk away with a stupid grin on my face.
Rosalie gets complimented on her Spanish by Mexicans quite frequently. One day our beer order hadn’t arrived as expected so we went up to the store to see what had happened. Like me, Rosalie puts together a sentence in her head before saying anything. Before I could open my mouth, she came out with a perfect Spanish explanation of why we were there. The guy got us sorted out and away we went home. She was very proud of herself. It was only when we got there that I told her that the guy speaks good English.
I know my numbers but don’t hear them well. I have to work on that. When we first came down here we were told to be careful ordering ‘dos cerveza’ as it’s easy to say ‘doce cerveza’ and you would end up with 12 beer instead of two. Personally, I don’t have a problem with that.