Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Spanish

While I know I need a lot of work still and will continue to work on getting better Im glad to say I'm no longer the woman I never wanted to be. You see as a nurse in St. Louis I frequently had women patients who couldn't speak for themselves do to a language barrier. I always felt so bad for them and hated the fact that I had to ask an interpreter such personal questions. I also wondered if this was a choice they had made or if they had actually tried to learn English and couldn't. I still wonder this and know that it was prob different for each person. But my first couple years here I was devastated to see myself in this same situation. To know that as badly as I wanted to express myself I couldn't. But I am finally at a place where I feel like if I had to I could go to a dr. appointment alone and be ok. For sure I know I can communicate with the nurses alone. I do have to admit that when my husband is there I let him do a lot of the talking just because it is easier. And at times I wonder if these women had done the same. But you see this is all going to become very important in about 5 months because Im pretty sure at the seguro Issac will not be allowed in the delivery room.
But this week I have overcome another obstacle. You see one of my favorite things about Mexico is servicio Domicilio, or delivery service. As we all know in the states really the only thing that gets delivered is pizza, and a few sandwich places do. But here you can get anything delivered. I actually asked my Tia the other day if this is everywhere in Mexico or just here. I tend to expect that anything that is different to me here is the same everywhere and Iv found from friends who live all over Mexico that this is not always the case. But servicio domicilio is apparently a country wide thing. When I say everything I mean, your medications and or baby formula from the pharmacies (and you don't have to be old or debilitated to get this), meat of any kind including mariscos (seafood), and pretty much every restaurant. I think the only thing missing is dairy and fruit, I almost wonder if this is something I just haven't tried or do they really not deliver. Anyway all of that to say that this week I have ordered my meat from two different places. I say two different places because this means that I didn't get the chance to speak to the same person both times. But they understood everything I said and I didn't have to repeat or look for another word one time. I did have to ask them to repeat a couple times but not enough to frustrate them. Oh and this may be obvious but its important to be sure you understand that this was done ON THE PHONE. Up till now I have been insanely frightened to speak on the phone in Spanish. Here is what broke that fear. I have a friend who is Mexican she is married to an American man. Her English is good but she is very self conscious of it and because I just don't care anymore how I sound I try my best to conversation with her in Spanish. She is the one we got our cat from and so I had to call her and set up a time for us to go to her house. After getting off the phone I realized most of our conversation had been in Spanish. I didn't realize at first because there was no confusion or repeating. When we did make it to their house her husband told me that she actually commented on how proud she was that my Spanish is so much better. This gave me the confidence to try and order my own meat, well that and necessity. You see our new house is to far from Issacs work for him to come home every day for lunch (I miss him). Before I would hand him the phone and say call now please.... And he would. But now I cant do that and by the time he is off work its to late. So there you go necessity combined with accidental conversations builds confidence. And Im more and more getting to be myself and the person I know I am. ;)
This deserves a drink... to bad Im prego. lol


  1. In Cancun almost all restaurants deliver. I order sushi every week. :)

    I've seen pharmacies deliver as well, but I think there's a pretty big charge for this.

    Then, of course, there are the carts that pass by every day with water, slushies, shoe repairs and bunuelos.

    Congrats on the Spanish!

  2. Amanda,
    You are on a roll. I lived in Mexico for at least three years before I felt more or less comfortable speaking on the phone. If you don't know the language very well the phone can be a monster. I am seeing you pass though all of the "rites of passage" in learning Spanish and I think you are right on track if not a little ahead of the game. I salute you!

  3. Like you, my Spanish has improved, although I am still terrified of the phone. Partly due to my lack of confidence in Spanish and nature of some of the calls. I rely on hubby a lot, not just for translation but because when I go buy something some people give me the gringo price. Even when I confront them, they of course never admit it, reminds me that I wanted to write a blog post about that - thanks! :-)

  4. I hate the phone, but I hate it in English too. You are making remarkable progress if you are using the phone already.

    In some neighborhoods there is a fruit truck that comes along. We've had orange guys before, but if you don't buy regularly they find another route.
    There is also a tricycle that has a cold box that painted black and white, the sound it makes is "mooo" and they sell milk. I haven't bought from them. I buy my milk in a box rather than in a jug.

    Please don't be offended but this sentence gave me fits "But this week I have overcome another obstetrical." Since I know you are pregnant, I thought it had to do with the baby, instead of obstacles. It took me awhile to make sense of it. I am blaming spell check for supplying the correct spelling but the wrong word.


  5. I am some what jealous that other grings can speak such good spanish. I think i'm not around enough spanish to pick it up. I'm at home 24/7 and have no interaction with anyone other than my husband and kids. So it's been harder for me to pick it up.
    I went to a private hospital today to have a CBC done and she wrote out something that translated blood suger in spanish and I knew right away that...that is not what I needed. So I had my husband make sure she corrected the lab. I know enough to understand written spanish somewhat and can understand some talk. But i'm still struggling.
    High five to you for doing so well.

  6. i love servicio a domicilio, and because it requires a somewhat okay command of spanish, i didn't use the service for the first year. but now, i love it, because anything can be delivered. i see this one guy going around delivering milk, but i haven't used him yet. at the moment, i'm looking for someone to deliver me some fresh eggs!

  7. About the fruit delivery thing, I think it is because we like to choose our own fruit and if you have it delivered someone else chooses it for you and they might not choose the roundest, or perkiest, or prettiest or all the things we look for when shopping for fruits and vegetables.

  8. You rock Amanda! Learning a language at our age can be so hard. I am lucky that my college major was Spanish. Even after taking 3yrs in college though i still struggle. I think confidence is as big of an obstacle as actual comprehension.

  9. Amanda - that is really awesome congratulations!!! Before I moved to Mexico I often had to talk on skype and the phone with my suegros. They don''t speak a word of English, but it sure helped me get past things....its a great feeling, and you should be REALLY proud of yourself. Emerging yourself is truly the best way for us all to learn and improve. I try to speak every chance I get... However, when I know the person speaks GREAT english, then its a different story. This is just something we all have to work on together!!! GREAT work, and keep that confidence building!!!

  10. Yo Estudio espaniol para seis anos en la esquela pero mi esposo y cunioado MMMM (correct me ) toda tiempo y yo no gusta. I speak spanglish but only infront of friends and people I dont know. My husband and brother in laws ( 10 of them) make fun of me and it pisses me off. I would prob. get better if they laid off so i understand how you feel. I didnt know you were emberezada. Congratulations.

  11. gringation-I love sushi there is one ok place here but not good enough for weekly and its expensive, guess that's a plus to living on the coast.
    Bob Thank you, that actually made me feel really good to know about you being here 3 years first.
    Leah I still do rely on Issac a lot especially when I'm tired.
    Theresa- hehehe thanks for pointing that out and for doing it tactfully. I did fix it and your right that was a spell check error. I admit I'm lazy about editing my blog, I blog for fun and to destress and if I spent to much time trying to edit it wouldn't destress me. ;)If you one of those people who bad spelling drives crazy I'm so sorry and thank you for continuing to read. I have had a friend since I was seven who is like that. I drive her mad but she loves me anyway. lol
    Sunshine I'm sure being deeper in Mexico and not having a choice has a lot to do with it.
    Alice all the milk that gets delivered here is the fresh from the cow kind. I'm a little skiddish about this still. I wish my milk co did deliver we drink almost 3L a day around here.
    Alicedice- You know you are very right about the fruit and I'm not sure I would want someone picking mine out, that's why I don't buy the packaged strawberries.
    Rebbecca thank you thank you ( as I bow) no not really Im not that stuck up about it yet. jajajaj But confidence well and not caring if you look like an idiot are so important.
    OMT most people that I know who speak English don't mind doing so. This one lady is the only one and she is the kindest person so I like to maker her as comfortable as possible.
    Wonderful- That sucks that they make fun of you. For sure you will hit a stopping point in learning unless they stop teasing you. Mind you I get corrected on my usage, conjugation, and pronunciation all the time but its usually done tactfully and you can tell they are just trying to help.

    Oh and I just wanted to add my husband told me last night that when he lived in Jocotapec area there were these guys who delivered beer by the bucket. He said they made a killing. Im sure they did.

  12. I am always amazed at being able to communicate ON THE PHONE in Spanish. I do not speak the best Spanish, but I get by. As far as home delivery it's chaotic at best here in Honduras. Pizza and pharmacies are the best at delivery. Or Chinese.

  13. Speaking on the phone is the absolute worst! I remember I tried to order garrafones de agua over the phone and it was awful! It was way easier to just walk to the water place and speak to them in person.