Outdated Language Skills

There is a little old lady in my neighborhood who takes a walk every morning, passing my house.  She stopped once and asked me if I spoke Spanish.  I felt terrible telling her no.  It seemed like she had something else to ask.  I hoped she didn’t need help.  This morning, she had a younger woman with her and they stopped at my house.  She wanted to know about my chickens!  How many do I have?  Are they all hens?  Do I sell eggs?  How much for a dozen?

It’s embarrassing that I am not able to fully communicate with half of my neighbors because I don’t speak Spanish.  The problem is all mine.  They speak enough English so I can understand them, but “Hello” and “Goodbye” is all I can manage.  If I said, “No habla Espanol” it would sound insulting with my accent.  No amount of listening to Tejano radio seems to help.

Long ago, I took four years of German.  After two years of Latin, it seemed useful.  After all, why would I take Spanish living in St. Louis?  I didn’t plan on travelling to Spain.  I did go to Germany for horseback riding camp one summer, so it made sense.  A trip to Paris reassured me that I’d be able to manage travelling in Europe only speaking English and German.  Growing up overseas, Arabic was the only other language that interested me and it wasn’t offered at my high school.  I considered French, but couldn’t manage the accent (I sound even worse in French than I do in Spanish).

I’m looking forward to learning Spanish!


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