Monday, January 5, 2015

Otra Vez: How to Learn Spanish Slowly

There's something to be said for having a little humility, even when you're in the middle of a stupid situation and you're feeling like bursting. Like say, when the manager of the house you live in neglected to pay the water bill for the four months before you started paying the bills, and now you have no water -- and two guests. Nice.
Granada, Nicaragua at dusk

Today i waited in a long line at the bank -- the only air conditioned place you can wait in line to pay bills -- only to be told i would have to go to the actual water office, since the thing was disconnected. By that time i was seriously wishing for a happy pill.

So i went to the regular office, which is currently a broken-down shell, obviously being remodeled, where the requisite dozen or so construction workers lolled outside, doing nothing. They were happy to tell me where to find the other office though, and when i got there i waited in yet another line, and finally got to talk to the woman who could ease all my woes. For a price that's quadruple the normal water bill amount, of course. It was during that conversation that it hit me: I was actually paying bills, negotiating appointments, figuring out problems -- all in Spanish. I am not perfect in this language yet, but dang, that's progress.

Nicaraguans tend to speak really fast and everything they do is loud, but they are dang friendly and total jokesters and will be really fun and cool with you in any situation, so long as you show a little levity. If you don't, they'll be quite formal and let you go on your merry formal way -- but if you say something as simple as "Otra vez -- mi EspaƱol es MAAALLO," -- something, in English, similar to 'say it again, my Spanish is BAD, girl!' -- they will chuckle, slow down, and call you amor as they explain the situation one more time.

Now to remember to have that humility, not to take everything so seriously, and to revel in the sweet, sweet trickle of a clean shower....

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In case you do need to find your own happy pills -- doctor prescribed of course -- here's a website that offers discounts on pharmacies and health products.

And the next time you lose your phone, check out You Found My Phone's new QR code generator, which you can slap on the back and get that baby back -- Otra Vez!

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