Important lesson: Spanish in Alicante is NOT our Texas Spanish, or the Castilian Spanish we learned in school.
We had some adjusting to do. First of all: a restroom is an aseo, not a bano. Thanks to the influx of Brits, many are conveniently labelled WC.
I had 5 years of Spanish in middle school and high school, enough to place out of 2 full years of Spanish in college and get grad school admission credit. I took 2 semesters of German in college. What that meant for me was that my first impulse for translation was into German, then into Spanish – it took entirely too long!
That was the case until we took a quick trip to Germany, when Spanish seemed to supersede German. Of course, while in Germany, Todd was greeting and thanking everyone in Spanish. I assured him that that was a good start!
Now, my comprehension is pretty good, especially since people here will slow down and they’re big on gestures. They also are more than willing to use what English they have. So we’re able to conduct business with little problem. In particular, our Mercado and restaurant Spanish has improved a lot.
On our last trip to the Mercado, I was waiting my turn at a verdura stand, behind a blonde teenaged boy. He held 2 euros in his hand. His English had a Germanic accent, and he spoke no Spanish. I figured out that he wanted to buy a kilo of strawberries. But he was confusing the vendor because he was trying to confirm that they were indeed 2 euros per kilo, and she interpreted that as him wanting 2 kilos, even though he was showing her his 2 euros. I intervened to clarify, and: successful transaction!