Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Slightly off

I signed up for a weekly Spanish course yesterday. I haven't quite given up on the language yet - despite what Maggie says, and what I know to be true, that I will never speak Spanish adequately.

I have just finished a blog post. Looking for information I was wading trough official bulletins, where laws and official notices are published. I could understand them but I wouldn't pretend that it's easy reading. It's the same with books, I normally read in Spanish but, at the moment, I'm reading a book written by an Englishman and it seemed perverse to read it in translation. I have to admit that it's much more comfortable reading in English.

We took Maggie's car for an ITV yesterday, the road worthiness check. The tester took the car off us and drove it through the various test bays himself. I have the feeling that he was only doing that with us immigrants. Easier to do it himself than explain the various actions he required of us.

Bank yesterday too to comply with some legislation. No problem really but the odd falter so that I chose to be economical with the truth rather than explain a complicated situation.

I stupidly lost a pair of sunglasses. I went to the three shops that I'd been in to ask if I'd left them there. In two of the three cases I stumbled slightly as I asked. Nothing serious, just a slip of a tense that needed correction or a falter over the pronunciation of a word, not a problem I notice with English.

I wanted an appointment with my accountant. I used WhatsApp to avoid a telephone conversation.

A Spanish friend asked me for my opinion on a service he was considering buying. At the end of my reply, which I rewrote several times before running it through Google translate and a spell checker, I added my usual - I hope you can understand what I meant to say.

Easier to buy the poor supermarket meat than ask (and queue) in a butcher.

And so on.

It's nice living here. It's home. But the truth is that language affects every aspect of everything we do from watching the telly to getting a beer. Anyone who isn't fluent in both the culture and the language will always be a bit out of it.

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