I love words: writing them, hearing them, saying them, knowing them. It's a large part of why I enjoy blogging and a huge reason why I have a small hoard of notebooks/pens/pencils/paper that I'll have to unload in our Stuff Sale in April.
Knowing my love of language, it's easy to understand why I get frustrated with learning Spanish--I cannot get my thoughts from my head out of my mouth in an understandable way. For someone that takes much pride in being a communicator, that disconnect is awful.
However, I've been committed to defaulting to Spanish first while here, and only switching to English if I don't understand the person that I'm interacting with or if they don't understand me. It's been a shot to my self-confidence and pride, to say the least. I sound and feel like a toddler 99% of the time.
Yesterday I was hoping to purchase one of those long lighters because the one we use for igniting the stove burners was out of fluid. I had no idea what to call it, but I was standing in the candle aisle of the grocery store. There among the candles were matches, so I asked the woman at the grocery for "cerillas plasticos" or plastic matches. It finally took a google image search for her to say to me "Ah, 'encendedor.'"
Today, full of the bravado of a good lesson at school, I decided to go to The Vurger, which is a well-known-among-the-plant-based buger place in Valencia. I've heard about this place for months, and I couldn't wait to dig in to a burger. These are my people, in my soon-to-be country, so what could go wrong?
I march in a little early for lunch (right about 1:00pm which is 2 hours too early for Spaniards to be eating), and ask
"Es todo vegano aqui?"
"Si" (YAY, I've got this!!!!)
"Vale. Uno burger con ensalata, por favor."
"Con nueces, gracias!"
"Y qué tipo de papas fritas?"
*Weird, I thought I was getting a side salad with my burger but, "Patatas dulces, por favor."
Here's your buzzer, sit anywhere you want and your lunch will be up soon.
5 minutes later, the buzzer goes off and the Pavlovian mouthwatering begins. I head to the back window to pick up my burger, fries and salad, and there are the fries and the salad...WHERE THE F*&$ IS MY BURGER?
Somehow I didn't order one--the poor cook brings the receipt over to show me: fries, salad and nary a burger to be found. So, rather than be the ugly American, I take my healthy, fresh, salad and my sweet potato fries and have lunch. It was good, but it didn't satisfy the craving for the burger I'd been dreaming about for months.
There was nothing to do but march my bigger-than-European-sized @$$ back into the store and ordered a burger. To go.
Dinner was delicious.