Thursday, 6 January 2011

Hola! Habla español? - Jan 6th

Resolution number 7. Learn Spanish.
I never learned Spanish at school.  I learned German... well I say learned,  there's only ever one German phrase I can remember. 'Glaubst du an liebe auf den ertsten blick, oder soll ich nochmal reinkommen?' (Do you believe in love at first sight, or shall I come in again?). Not exactly a testament to five years of weekly lessons.
   I only remember that line because a very creepy ex-boyfriend sent it to me in a text message and then we had an argument over the translation.  He was convinced he had called me a kitty cat.   I tried it out on a real life German man once.  He laughed and walked off mumbling something, which I took to mean don't bother me anymore. I had to, I had no idea what he was saying.
   Kitty cat... I've just been sick in my mouth.

Being lucky enough to have friends in Spain, I have been inspired to expand my Spanish vocab in preparation for my next visit. 
    A defining moment during my October visit made me realise I was harbouring an ugly concoction of language ignorance and arrogance that was getting me no where.
    The first happened whilst frequenting a cafe to sample a local waffle.  The waiter spoke no English and had no interest in trying to understand me, however much I enunciated.
    No matter, I would astound the young man with my Spanish rendition of 'Waffle with milk chocolate, please'. My friends did the same, albeit without my natural flair.  The waiter jotted it all down on a little white notepad and five minutes later, plates of waffles with milk chocolate were placed in front of my friends to a chorus of 'gracias'.  They looked delicious.  I picked up my cutlery in anticipation as the waiter handed me a plate.  I looked down, ready to offer my thanks when I saw it.  A crepe.
    "Graci..." I tailed off and looked at my friend in panic. "This isn't what I ordered."
    Chocolate dribbled down the smug bastards chin, chomping away on his deliciously correct dessert. He would never finish his gluttonous mouthful in time and the waiter was already moving away.  I would have to do it myself.
    He turned around. My useless tongue lolled in my mouth; it couldn't save me now.  To my shame, I reached for the menu and pointed to 'gofres con chocolate con leche'. 
    Without hesitation, he pulled out his little white pad and pointed to my order. 
     "No, Crepe," and then he was gone.
This year Santa brought me the Collins easy learning Spanish Complete Audio Course Stage 1 and 2.
    Santa is a well traveled man; he would know how to order a waffle and get one and he doesn't want me to suffer either.
    I started on my journey of discovery tonight. So far, I'm pleased to announce, I can ask how someone is and can cope with their reply as long as it is only varying degrees of good: Bien/ Bien bien or Hmmm bien (accompanied by pensive expression). I can also ask if someone speaks English, say 'good morning', 'no sorry, I don't understand' and courtesy of google translate...
    "En realidad el hombre español hermoso, este crepé hará muy bien."


1 comment:

  1. Haha!! I love this - that gofres encounter was hilarious! I can't wait for you to come back and put to practice your new found linguistic talents.

    Maybe you could give me some lessons? x