Thursday, May 29, 2008
A new amiga
I’ve made a new friend – from Spain! She is the wife of an exchange officer (also from Spain) that works with my husband. The first time I met her, my heart went out to her. She stays at home with 3 small children, and she doesn’t know many people in the area nor does she know much English except for a few words. (Not to mention that she is far from all her family and friends.) We decided to meet up for lunch yesterday, and she hosted at her home. I wasn’t sure if the lunch might turn into a mini-English lesson, so I went armed with my English-Spanish dictionary and an English-Spanish picture book, just in case. She won me over immediately with her buffet of Spanish food. She served a few different dishes of pasta, seafood salad, potatoes, and beef. It was so fabulous that I wondered if she might adopt me as her fourth child. (Por favor?) But I didn’t know how to say all of that in Spanish, so I decided just to tell her that the food was delicious. I know more Spanish than she knows English, so we spoke the whole time in Spanish. I’m not exactly fluent in Spanish, but I know enough to say simple sentences. (Unfortunately, the ones I learned in school like “Donde esta la biblioteca?” didn’t really apply in this situation.) After the lunch, we spent most of the time looking at pictures and chatting. The pictures turned out to be a great way to talk about friends, family, places we’ve visited, holidays, and other customs. I learned that January 6th, the feast of the Three Kings, is a big holiday in Spain with presents and festivities. I learned that my Spanish, though I often stumble and make mistakes, is at least good enough for 3 hours (!) of conversation. And I learned that hospitality and kindness translate easily into any language or culture. I didn’t really teach her much yesterday, except for one very important English word: “brownies.” I figured the least I could do was to bring her the best dessert that America has to offer.