In an effort to make sure I forget nothing and am prepared for anything, I tend to buy/pack everything before a trip. I thought I was super smart for bringing our GPS to Spain, and for downloading a Spanish/English app and an app for learning Spanish to my iPod. Turns out the only thing I was super smart about bringing was two seasons of The Wire on DVD because a little Idris Elba is good for your heart/soul/cholesterol.
The GPS flat out doesn’t work here, and turns out those apps need wifi to do anything useful, like work. So I’ve been getting through Rota with limited Spanish under my belt, and an awful sense of direction. Navigating isn’t so bad, because Adam has been working half days, and he has some kind of superhuman inner compass that gets us places. And he has GPS on his Blackberry. That helps, too. But during the first half of the day, August and I are on our own.
It hasn’t been too hard to get around so far. We are in a neighborhood that is close to a lot, so I usually don’t need to walk far. There are several grocery stores in walking distance, plus a bunch of smaller stores. Fruit stores, bakeries, pharmacies, cafes, a butcher. I haven’t been able to walk five minutes in any direction without hitting a few of these. Plus, there is a park right by our apartment, and several more close by. So for the most part, I can just wander and find what I need. I took a lot of Spanish when I was younger, and thought that would serve me well, at least for basic communication. But I have learned quickly that I forget almost everything when I actually speak it, and I do best when I don’t need to talk anyone.
There are little things that being able to speak the language somewhat properly would help, like looking at our waiter and willing him with my mind to speak English after he has asked us the same thing about five times and I just stare at him with my mouth half open. Then I realize he is trying to take our order. Or going to the pharmacy because we are out of diaper cream and August has a rash, and trying to bridge the language barrier between the pharmacist and I with some pretend-signing by pointing at my son in his stroller, pointing at my butt and saying ES ROJO and then making a sad cry face. I did that little number several times before he figured out I wasn’t trying to say that my baby cries because I wear red underpants.
Communicating with another human through my very broken Spanish and some interpretive dance makes me feel like a language detective. Or at least like all my Spanish teachers can suck it because I am pretty sure I haven’t conjugated a single damn verb properly, and I’ve lived to tell the tale. The three of us were walking around in the sort of vicinity of a Mexican restaurant we knew existed, and being able to get directions from a couple walking down the street and then being able to sort of understand them enough that we found said restaurant, made it feel like I earned the shit outta those nachos.
I think what I am trying to say is stay in school. But also that if you are kind of an idiot, to at least be a dancing idiot so people like you/feel sorry for you and want to help you. Also nachos.
This poorly edited post with an abrupt conclusion brought to you by my laptop battery dying.