The joy and splendor of travel lost on one man

Say What?

Seeing as how my last post was about one entire post too long, I’ll keep this one on the shorter side.

I took my first Spanish class today. It was fairly horrible, but only because I’m an imbecile.

My professor Gabriel is a very pleasant young man whose patience and whatever pacifistic leanings he might have will undoubtedly be put to the test this week. My classmates are two American women in their early twenties. They have already been taking classes for two weeks. While they are by no means fluent, they at least seem comfortable in the classroom.

Our first assignment was to read a short story about a woman named Beatriz who cooks here at the school. We then had to answer aloud ten questions about what we’d just read. In answering the first two questions, I managed to tell Gabriel and my two classmates that the only thing I think women can do is make babies, and that I know what human flesh tastes like.

They started laughing and explained my errors.

They stopped laughing when I explained no errors had been made.

I spent the rest of the class time floundering in a sea of incomprehensible Spanish jibber jabber. I didn’t understand instructions that were given to me. I didn’t understand the following explanations that were offered me five different ways. By the end of the day I sounded like David Duke on a Costa Rican recruiting trip. “Que? Que? Que?”

I used to think a constitutional amendment making English the official language of the United States was ridiculous. Now I’m beginning to think other countries should give it a try, too.

My homework tonight involves a lot of vocabulary memorization and writing sentences based on various pictures I’m given. The pictures are crudely drawn cartoons aimed at five-year-olds. The people in them are slightly out of proportion and lacking any significant detail, which lends them a slightly androgynous look. I’m supposed to use the future tense to describe what might be happening in each drawing.

The first picture shows a young man in a convertible parked at the side of the street. He is talking to a person wearing a dress.

I wrote, “Juan Carlos va a comprar una prostituta transexual.”

I’m anxious to ask Gabriel tomorrow, “Una prostitu-ta transsexual, o un prostitu-to transsexual?”

Exercises like this might not make speaking to the grocery store clerk any easier, but it will certainly make class fly by.

15 Responses to “Say What?”

  1. El Alto

    Very entertaining. I have contacted my friends at the Costa Rican Consulate to let them know what you are up to, and more importantly, what you are capable of.

    I have dispatched a pod of Capuchian Espias to monitor your movements!

    Cheers,
    Phil “El Alto”
    Phil. “El Alto”

    Reply
  2. chris

    seems like you are really enjoying your time so far…I am glad and keep me posted. I am having such a good time living vicariously through you. adios

    Reply
  3. Nick

    No, no. I was just telling Ray that MY sister Tricia says hello to him. And to HIS sister Tricia, as well.

    Reply
  4. Tricia's Sister

    Are you saying that I say hello? Cause I don’t… Maybe a polite nod.

    Reply
  5. chris

    Hey, sounds like you are adjusting quite well, especially looking into the transexual thing. I got a nice email from Pam and she filled me in on your weekend. I forgot to check the blogs so I will more often. My mom says hello…Rae seems to be adjusting…bet she adjusts much either than you are Pam or at least quicker….:-) They have a way of doing that…I cna’t imagine how overwhelming it must be to be there with no english being spoken wow…
    my only expressions are…come esta…or come se yama and that isn’t spelled right so there. Don’t you wish I would of come with you…Error’s I guess. I don’t want to speak proper spanish or mexican for that matter I just want to talk in the first person all the time. Ok my love to all three of you and keep posting

    Reply
  6. Nick

    Ray, I changed my mind. I’ll just have a beer, thanks.

    P.S.–My sister Tricia says hello.

    Reply
  7. Ray

    Nick wrote:

    They started laughing and explained my errors.

    They stopped laughing when I explained no errors had been made….

    I used to think a constitutional amendment making English the official language of the United States was ridiculous. Now I’m beginning to think other countries should give it a try, too.

    My sister Tricia said to look at this blog because it is funny. I could not agree with her more. LMFAO, brah.

    Reply
  8. Nick

    Khris, esta en Mexico ahora?

    Janet, glad I can be of service.

    Catherine, you can’t coddle them forever.

    Reply
  9. Catherine

    I’m eager to hear what Jill’s Spanish class thinks of this latest post.

    Reply
  10. Janet

    Not only am I getting to live vicariously through your experiences, but I am LEARNING things as well! I’m so excited to tell Sadie that transsexuals in Costa Rica are masculine during her next Spanish lesson. Thank you, Nick! Thank you!

    Reply
  11. Khris

    Que pasa calabasa? Yo es mucho solo tu no aqui. Huevos es much grande oi. Adios guey.

    Reply
  12. Nick

    I just checked with Gabriel. Transsexuals in Costa Rica are masculine.

    Grammatically speaking, of course.

    Reply
  13. Craig Kaminsky

    Remember, Nick, this is a once-in-a-lifetime-until-their-spouse-makes-them-go-to-some-effing-central-american-country experience for these young ladies … make it worth their while.

    Reply

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