6.30am: “For the love of God, Señor Gallo, can you just sleep in for a day or 10?” I shout and slam the window shut. But given el vecino gallo doesn’t understand English and is completely oblivious to social cues, I shouldn’t have bothered. Maybe next time I will yell in Spanish and see if that helps.
About 10 years ago after a shitty breakup, I decided to learn a language because I finished binge watching all of the Desperate Housewives seasons, and needed something else to keep my mind off things.
I wasn’t sure which language I wanted, but after meeting some Spaniards who taught me swear words (which, FYI were hijo de puta and puta madre) I found a discount course for a Spanish school right near my house, Spanish it was.
I have to say that I unlike many other things I have tried over the years, learning Spanish is something I have really stuck with. It has opened up a whole new world for me, including friends, love, music, movies, food and added a whole new dimension to travel experiences.
I managed to travel through Spain alone and stay with my friend and her family, none of whom spoke a word of English and make myself understood all through Mexico. I have maintained friendships with people where Spanish is the common language.
All of that said, when I decided to move to Hermosillo for a year:
“I speak Spanish, it will be fine and it will be fun!”Me, 2019
What I didn’t bank on is how bloody tiring it is to have to concentrate really hard all the time to understand things. It becomes really apparent how I only listen to maybe 1/5 words in English but am still able to piece everything together.
In Spanish I need to listen to 1/2 of the words, translate some of them, work out the tense (eg. are they talking about themselves or me) and then figure out my answer. By the time I have done all of that, it’s sometimes too late.
For example, if I go out to eat, maybe the waitress will say – how do you want your eggs (which is a given in Mexico, because the service here is much better than Australia), but I haven’t anticipated that, so I haven’t pre-prepared my answer. And I just kind of stare at them and do the translate thing and battle through.
And if there is background noise (which is a guarantee in Mexico – it’s damn noisy here!), you can forget any comprehension.
As a shy introvert, parties are always overwhelming, but parties when you can’t understand anything – nightmare! I often find myself just looking at the sky…
That said, the desert sky in Hermosillo is a beautiful thing! Hopefully my Spanish improves before I get invited to an inside party.