13 March 2009

Yo Hablo Espanol. Ish.

I studied Spanish for four years in high school and one semester at university. Plus I had a lot of practical use with it during my teenage years. At one point, I was pretty decent at Spanish. Even if my vocabulary wasn't stellar, I was capable of describing things so my listener knew what word I meant, and could inform me of the word.

Now, my Spanish can be wrapped up in one word: Rusty.

Yesterday a girl came into the office with her father and said she would be studying English at the BYU language center for the summer. I was the only person in the office that could speak Spanish, and it was rough. Fortunately, a resident came into the office to ask a question about his deposit, and this particular resident was kind enough to stick around the office for a good twenty minutes translating for us. I vowed that I would go home and practice my Spanish with the Spanish language software Eric bought us last week.

Instead I watched mindless television while I finished a crochet project. (Pictures to come!)

Today they came back, and I was a little more prepared: I had brought my Spanish/English dictionary with me. Just as I was feeling a little nervous about explaining the contracts, in came Mal at just the right moment to do the major translating for us. And she was awesome. I totally understood pretty much everything she said, and she was impressive.

Then, I got to show the girl her new apartment where two of her roommates were home. They didn't speak Spanish. And neither do the ones who weren't home. At this point, I really got to break out the Spanish as I explained that the apartment was normally cleaner, and not so messy; the girls have jobs and the new girl would be in charge of dishes on Friday; the parking lot was over there; the laundry was over that way; the girls in the apartment liked to share; and one of them had a car and could offer rides. I hope, in my broken Spanish the girl had a pretty good idea of what I meant. She seemed to, but perhaps she was just being polite.

That is why, when I got home from work today and saw Bart's Weekend Would You Rather, I unhesitatingly voted the way I did. (Yeah, you'll have to go there to know what I'm talking about. Head on over now. Bye!)


Packrat said...

I'm impressed with your ability! Of course, it has only been a few years since you were out of high school vs. the 30+ for me. :) I'm embarrassed to say that I had so many years of Spanish in school. But, looking back I'm also extremely irritated at the way we were taught. The classes were always like English grammar classes. We learned the parts of speech and how to conjugate verbs - over and over every year (redundant, I know). We never did learn to SPEAK the language.

Matt said...

Just be grateful you speak a language that has uses other than getting your order right in a Thai restaurant or impressing Welsh people.