Sunday, November 26, 2006

Yesterday I Asked a Waiter for Milk, Warm

It was a rainy Saturday yesterday here in Sevilla. As in pouring buckets. NOD and I met to go to a museum (actually to the house of Pontius Pilate (don´t ask)) but instead ended up in a coffee shop because we were too lazy. So we people watched for a while, then moved up the street to meet my hostess, MC, and my travel companion, S., to go to lunch. (Lunch here is a Big Deal.)

MC is a native Sevillano; she is 82 and could easily outrun me. Or probably you. In any case, we were treating her to lunch. She was a former English teacher in the states, lived in D.C. for many years, so is used to idiot Americans. She makes me a cup of warm milk every morning, into which she puts a teaspoon of instant decaf coffee (don´t laugh, it´s actually quite good). So we decided, in order to help me practice my Spanish, that during lunch I would ask, all by myself, for "una leche caliente, con una sobre nescafe, descafinado." Which means, roughly, give me warm milk with a packet of decafinated nescafe.

Unfortunately, I forgot to add the words "in a cup." Which accounted for the quizzical look on the waiter´s face.

I had practiced that sentence for about two hours beforehand. And, despite having essentially asked to have warm milk poured in my hands (head? lap?), I was quite pleased with myself. (Apparently though, you need to be really specific when asking for stuff here.)

Hey, habla Espanol est tres difficile, is all I can say. (And really, that is all I can say.)

I am also totally flummoxed by the fact that every single person we meet knows immediately that I am an American--before I open my mouth! It´s infuriating! I dress all in black, and it´s not like I´m stumbling around in tennis shoes and bermuda shorts. I´ve asked NOD to explain, but she just shrugs and says "It´s soooooooooo obvious, Mom."

No running has occurred since the debacle with the yoga teacher. Today (Sunday) we walked about 10,000 miles to visit the Museo des Belle Atistes (which sounds suspiciously French to me, making me think I have once again confused these crazy languages), had another two-hour lunch, and walked another 10,000 miles to see the Rio Guadalquivir. With the help of God and NOD, I will attempt to run somewhere, other than in circles, tomorrow (Monday).

Adios, chicas y chicos!


Laurie said...

It is so easy to forget little things when attempting to speak in a foreign language.

When I was in Mexico this summer I often confused "y tu" and "yo tambien." The waiter would serve coffee to my friend and I would say y tu when I really wanted to say yo tambien. I felt like an idiot but thankfully he knew I wanted coffee as well. I sure needed it if I was confusing those simple phrases! Y tu sounds like me too so I think that is why I got them confused. Silly me.

a.maria said...

AHHH ahhahaa. silly american woman.

actually the whole "knowing youre american" thing is pretty common. my friends, when we did travel abroad, felt the same way you do now, constantly.

i'd explain to you why or how it is everyone knows, but alas...

i never had that problem, so i'm of no help!


(i'm still mad youre there and i'm not. can ya tell??!)


miss ya!

Tom Fleming said...

"Congrat's" on your running .. you should be proud of yuorself! I'm glad you liked my "moto" ... it did work for me too!
best wishes, Tom Fleming
'73 and '75 NYC Marathon Champion

Rae said...

I hope you're taking lots of pics! It sounds like you guys are having a ton of fun!!

Mark I. said...

heehee. this is funny stuff. enjoy!

Susan said...

I am loving hearing about your experiences in Spain!

21st Century Mom said...

Why did I JUST get an update in Bloglines?? Why?!! You have been posting all the while and I have been missing it. :-(

Viva la Americana!

(they could always pick me out over there, too).

David said...

Oh just get on the train to Florence. They have great trails to run over there.

Just12Finish said...

NOD must know something we don't! I can't wait for you to squeeze it out of her and let us know!

Firefly's Running said...

I hate translating into another language...and too lazy to do so.

susie said...

Bloglines finally updated so I could catch up with you! Well, that's my excuse for being absent. Sounds like you are having a blast over there. I've been running the hills in our race for you so I can prepare you for the worst! Just kidding--ok, not really. Anyway, let us know about the run tomorrow!

Wanna-be 5k-er said...

I love your travelogue!!!!!!!! You have the best attitude about trying Spanish and making mistakes.

Keep soaking it all in!

Black Knight said...

Glad to know that you dress all in black. You never forget to be a valid amazon of the B.K. Army!

Bex said...

Isn't it both sad and funny when we think we look tres chic and world-weary all dressed in black, but we still seem to have big happy faces over our heads saying, "I'm American!"

Get this: When I went to the Philippines and China and other Asian countries, I was STILL pegged as an American.