Lost in translation

I really am trying, but don’t feel like I’ve been terribly successful with my Spanish.  The school in town currently has just one option — 4 hours every afternoon — which I can’t commit to, so I’m working at it on my own, with a good Spanish book and a free online program called “Lingq”. Mark says he’s impressed with my ability to work my way through most conversations, but  wow — it’s tough and my attempts feel are so slow and clumsy.  Occasionally I make the mistake of thinking I have something down, but when the chance comes to put it in practice, all I’ve learned seems to fly right out the window.

For instance, one of  our Panamanian neighbors was commenting on the fact that Mark seems to run more often than I do, and I was trying to lightheartedly say, “Oh yes, he’s a better runner than I am”. I absolutely know the word for better — “mejor”.But put on the spot like that, my mental filing system failed me, and I pulled up “mujer” (woman) instead of “mejor”. Which means that I ended up saying  “Oh yes, he’s a woman runner”, as if that explained everything — and even that I did in a grammatically incorrect way. She never got what I was trying to say, and went inside with a slightly perplexed smile.

Of course, sometimes being unclear is better than just saying something wrong.

I wanted to tell someone else that I’m embarrassed I haven’t been practicing my Spanish much. Embarrassed -that’s” embarazada”, right?  I mean, that sounds right, doesn’t it? But noooooo, that’s what my Spanish book calls a “false friend”, a Spanish word that isn’t what it sounds like in English.. ..so what I actually told her that was I’m pregnant, I haven’t been practicing my Spanish much. She was very happy for me.

Number one requirement for assimilating into a new country — willingness to laugh at yourself.  I’m getting lots of practice.  🙂

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