¿Hablo poco español o hablo un poco de español? ( I speak very little Spanish or I speak a little Spanish?)

Being a time line, let’s keep this in order sort of person, I was planning on being chronologically correct in my musings and thoughts on the adventure that is moving abroad.   How ever my experiences with trying to speak the language and making new friends prompted me to write this blog.  Probably before the Brexit referendum and if you chose to move to the Costas, there was little really to assimilate.  There are urbanizations only forty minutes from our own where life is very much like Britain with sun.  You can retire to a place where your joints will never ache because of the 300+ days a year of sunshine without having to learn the language of the country you now live in.  Everything is there for you, in English. Shops, dentists, gyms and hair dressers.  You can use  your abogado ( lawyer) to do all the extensive paper work to assure that you are legal.  The Spanish love paper work.  Or at least you could….. none of us know what will happen after March 2019.  Que pena!  What a blooming mess.   However, let’s forget about Brexit for a few moments. There are whole communities in this country that survive without speaking the language.  Russian, Dutch , Belgian too… they use English as the central language and live where they know English will be spoken.  I am not being judgemental here, if this is what you want to do and brings you joy , go for it!

We chose however not to do that ….  we have moved to Spain and we will speak Spanish!   This seemed very doable when studying the language at evening classes in  Scotland.  Walt took it a step further and achieved an A in his SQA Higher Spanish several years before we moved.   We thought we had it nailed!  Then we bought a home in Murcia.  Murciano Spanish is similar to learning English then moving to Dorset or Durham or Leven or finding yourself working with a Doric speaker ……. it bears very little resemblance to the Madrid Spanish of the text books.  However we have persevered and our Spanish friends even when Murciano speakers to their loved ones, adapt for us and speak slightly more slowly, add in the missing consonants especially the S (who knew that España is actually Epaña ) and  help us when we are stuck.

I am a long way behind Walt but because I am a ‘blether’ and speak to every one , I have found myself making friends and students to teach English to and then found myself having conversations with them in Spanish.  Sometimes however things don’t just get lost in translation, they swirl around in the fog that is my brain and I have to cross my fingers that I have not insulted anyone, agreed to anything illegal, agreed to buy something or have volunteered to work in the local  prison. Not long after writing this my Russian friend emailed me details of a volunteer scheme in Murcia doing just this so you never know.  Examples of chats that I have  had popped in to my head this evening and that is why I am writing this blog.   It is , as I mentioned in previous blog, still very hot here.  As we are becoming more Spanish in our life style, this means keeping out of the sun until about six in the evening, when we go to our communal pool for a cool down before taking our dogs for a walk.  This evening one of our lovely and very educated neighbours began to talk to me about the insurance on our communal pool , about Italy and the beautiful cities we would see if we visited and when Walt joined us in the pool, politics and Brexit.  I think I understood most of it but really am not sure !  How ever it was fairly safe as I could not really commit to anything, apart from perhaps helping tidy up and do some gardening round the pool.  Did I say that?  Did I make that offer?  Only time will tell!  Earlier this week I  was introduced to a lovely family, Mum wanting me to give English lessons to her fourteen and twelve year old sons.  I was introduced by my Russian friend whom I met while waiting for the bus in to Murcia.  She was  a doctor in Bulgaria but is now a translator in the Murcian court.  She is full of life and incredibly generous.  Her Spanish is impeccable, she is married to a  Spaniard  and is making it her mission to help me improve my Spanish.  For an hour I spoke English to the two boys, the most polite teenagers I think I have ever met!  It was humbling, the older of the two spoke English so much better than I speak Spanish and he would only have been four when I started studying his language!  Note – study more, could do much, much better.  When our hour of conversation was over,  Mum came back and began in very fast Spanish to organise future classes, fees, venues etc.  I think I have a date and a place in my diary…… fingers crossed!  I am reading, watching television and listening.  I am hoping that one day it all falls in to place.  I am not convinced that the research about learning a foreign language can delay  dementia because after I have had long conversations with Spanish friends and neighbours, I feel as if my brain is close to melting or shutting down all together .  The synapsis only recover after a glass of something chilled!   There are times when all of this seems exhausting, times when I think of good friends back in Scotland and miss them, especially being able to chat over a coffee without worrying about what I might actually be saying, – is it insulting or rude,  what am I agreeing to-  times when I do wonder what on earth I am doing at my age, behaving like a graduate on a gap year…. and then I realise that being out of my comfort zone is exhausting but at the same time exciting and exhilarating .  Trying to put the laundry liquid in to my coffee maker yesterday instead of coffee grinds did make me wonder about those brain cells however……

2 thoughts on “¿Hablo poco español o hablo un poco de español? ( I speak very little Spanish or I speak a little Spanish?)

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