Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Bilingual life, sort of

We're getting ready to go to Guatemala the end of March. Don took Spanish for 12 years, and has a very good grasp of the vocabulary, along with conjugating verbs.

I have zip, squat. Except that I can count to twenty, which I know will be terribly helpful when I'm there. As long as all the kids line up and stand still so I can count them and stun everyone with my handle on their language.

To prepare for this trip - and when you're married to an engineer, trust me, you prepare for everything -  we're doing Rosetta Stone every day. Don started after me and is way ahead of me. He made the logical decision to skip the writing part, since we won't be writing there, and has also decided he needs to complete the entire program - all four units with four lessons each, in the next 25 or so days.

He's suggested I do the same.

He's also decided it's a good idea to speak to me in spanish at every available opportunity. If I ask him something he tends to come back with an answer I cannot understand. Then I ask him what he said, and he tells me, expects me to repeat, and then corrects my pronunciation.

I have no background in Spanish, except for that previously mentioned counting to twenty. I have learned about twenty words over the past year of working at the food and clothing pantry. I can now, with a combination of using the words 'comida' and 'ropa' and leaning my body in different directions, convey to the clients that they should take their comida to el carro before they enter the ropa area (which, believe it or not is terribly helpful.)  If they would ask me, I could tell them mi gato is muy gordo, or bonita, or duerme. I could greet them 'como esta?', or tell them 'buenos dias' if it's before lunch. I could send them off on their way with a rousing 'adios!' But I can't ask them about their families, what their favorite foods are, do they believe in God, or think the color of my skin or how I sound is funny?

But I'm working on it. One lesson at a time. When my husband is not in the house or at least within hearing distance. Pretty sure at this point I don't want him to teach me to play golf, or drive the boat, or play bridge. He'd probably just give me directions in spanish anyway.

I have also decided, if I live to be 100, I will not learn to roll my r's.

So would you like to talk about my gato?

5 comments:

Becky said...

Such a cute post! : )
I was in your shoes before a mission trip to Mexico...About all I could say when I got there was 'what is your name' and 'would you like Jesus to be in your heart?' But it worked out! (someone did! and giggled at my version of the sinners prayer but got the jist of it! Good thing Jesus is bilingual! : )

Amanda said...

I cannot for the life of me roll my r's either and it does not look promising for that to ever happen.

Have a safe trip.

Anonymous said...

hi bev...you are so funny. i took 4 years of spanish in jr. high & high school, but that was a LONG time ago. i would definitely need to brush up! my 6th grader finished his 3 years of latin and started on rosetta stone spanish in january. he loves it! i know, i should really be doing it, too. maybe when my it's my 3rd grader's turn. right now i'm working on reading all the fiction and history books i assign them! btw, i was the one who "won" your copy of "the hobbit" forever ago. my son read it, but naturally i haven't. so much to read, so little time...
connie

Sarah said...

You know you're the true planner, and you're just blaming this on Dad! If I were going to Guatemala, I would know how to count to 10 and would just live with it. Clearly you did not rub off enough on me...

And your cat IS muy gordita! (You ought to see what auto correct tried to do with that one!)!

Susan D said...

I admire you for learning a new language at our age! I took German all through HS & would sometimes speak it with my Grandma back then but now - not too much stayed in my brain!
Just stay next to Don's side & let him do the talking for you!
Have a great trip!!