Friday, January 9, 2009

La Lengua Espanola: Making Me Look Like a Freak Since 2009

There's a few problems you encounter when you live in a place where they speak a different language. One of them is that, sometimes, the two people talikng don't totally understand eachother because one is talking too fast (the spanish speakers) and the other doesn't know how to say/pronounce correctly everything he needs to say (me). So I've been here about 5 days and I can feel myself getting better, but I obviously have a long way to go. That being said, I would like to humor with a few horribly embarassing yet hilarious "lost in translation" moments.

The One Where I'm a Child Molester...

This one is good, especially since it happened during the first meal I ate with my senora about an hour after I met her for the first time. We were sitting eating almondigas con guisantes y sauza de tomate (meatballs and peas with tomato sauce) and she was asking me about my life, my family, etc. So Sarah came up and I was talking about her a little bit and then my senora asked me "Cuantos anos tiene." Now this was a tricky one because it literally means "how many years have you had or do you have " but it's really a way to ask how old someone is. At this point I was more getting the main idea of what my senora had been saying and not understanding every word so I heard "tiene" (to have) and assumed she meant something to the effect of how long have you had her aka how long have you been dating. So I quickly answered "tres anos," three years., but that was not the right answer at all. So what did I actually tell my senora less than one hour into the 4 months I would be sleeping under her roof, eating her food and having her do my laundry? Yep, you guessed it. I told her I had been dating a 3 year old. And as you can imagine, hilarity ensued as I tried to explain that one.

The One Where Inquire About the Forms of Entertainment Barcelona has to Offer

So as part of my program there are a number of small groups put together and each one has a "Guardian Angel," a Spanish student who is our fearless leader - a guide to the city, the culture, being a student, know, all the important things we need to survive. One day we took a pretty long walk around certain sections of Barcelona, and one of our stops was going to be a store to buy cell phones. Now, the Spanish word for cell phone is "movil," like mobile phone, and pronounced (MOH-veel). I wanted to make sure I had enough money to get a phone and some minutes, so I decided to ask my Guardian Angel (Carlotta is her name) in Spanish. So I marched up to her proudly (at this point most of my group had been speaking English to her and I wanted to impress her with my superior spanish knowledge). So I said to her, "Carlotta, cuanto cuesta un movil?" Well, I either didn't say it loud enough for her to hear it perfectly or I didn't say it correctly (yeah, I'd put my money on B too), but she gave me a very odd look. And it was no kind of look you would expect when you ask someone how much a cell phone costs. Soo what had happened was, she thought I asked her, "cuanto cuesta un novio?" Now for those of you who don't know, and for those of you who do as well, novio means boyfriend/girlfriend, but it can also be a nice way to say prostitute. After we all came to the realization that I was in fact talking about a cell phone, I was able to make light of the situation...I quickly smiled and told her, "Pues, no tengo que pagar para eso."

Translation - "Ohhh, I don't have to pay to get that."

The One Where I Get My Wish or The One Where No Still Means No

This one doesn't really have to do with the theme of the post, but it would be a crime not to tell everyone about it (and, as you'll learn, a crime in itself). So I get off the Metro (subway) and have about 10-15 minutes to kill before my amigos were going to arrive. Since I'm new to Barcelona I like to walk around and get familiar with different areas of the city as much as possible and thought this was a perfect opportunity. So I'm walking along this pretty wide pathway with streets lined with bars and restaurants on either side (I believe it was called La Rambla Catalunya) and as I'm walking across the street a 23-26 year old African woman approaches me. She was wearing jeans and a plain tank-top type shirt, rather conservatively for Saturday at midnight. She locks my arm with hers and asks me if I want to go get a drink somewhere.

Thought 1: Man, I do look pretty good tonight I guess Spano-Africans are not shy people.

Thought 2: Woah am I getting jungle fever?

Thought 3: Maybe she's a club promoter trying to get me to come to her bar/disco?

Thought 4: Wow there's three other girls that look pretty similar to her hanging out on that corner in half shirts and............ohhhhhhhh she's a prostitute...sweet.

I stopped in my tracks and tried to tell her "No" every way I English AND Spanish. She told me she really liked me, wanted to show me this really fun place, and a few other things that I would probably write if I didn't send my parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents the link to this blog 10 minutes ago. I eventually was able to shake her off by telling her I wouldn't go anywhere with her unless she gave me $1000 Euros. Needless to say, I will never forget our night of passion.

I hope you all enjoyed laughing at my expense. I've only been here for a week so I'm sure 4 months will bring bigger and better things. It's only a matter of time before my lack of spanish knowledge and my trust in people/stupidity at not knowing this lady was a prostitute strikes again.


Adios amigos...


1 comment:

  1. It's funny how the last one could have just as easily happened at Fordham....haha