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Friday, October 26, 2018

¿HABLAS INGLÉS, SEÑOR?




Muchos Many years ago (Everything in my life was many years ago; I just turned 84, but I'm still 36 in my mind) Bud & I took a trip to Mexico.  We had hired a young woman to stay with our children.  She asked us to pick up a small statue of the Virgin Mary for her.  Bud also wanted to buy a chess set with marble pieces for his uncle Lee.  You can read about Uncle Lee here.

We were walking through this small town where there  were many shops.  At each one, I would ask the shopkeeper, "¿Hablas inglés?" (Do you speak English?)  Every one of them said no.  So in my halting Spanish, I would then ask, "¿Tienes una pequeña estatua de la Virgen María?"  (Do you have a small statue of the Virgin Mary?)  They all had some, but I didn't care for them.  After 10 or 12 shops, we were getting tired but we decided to try one last shop.  We went in & I asked the gentleman if he had the statue I wanted.  He said he had several & brought them up to the counter.  Bud went to the back of the store to look at the chess sets.  The clerk & I were discussing the statues when Bud called out, "Ask him if he has any larger chess sets."  The clerk answered, "No, señor, those are the largest we have."  I asked him why he didn't tell me he spoke English when he could see how I was struggling in Spanish?  He said that I seemed to be having fun seeing if I could make it in Spanish.  Actually, he was right.  We bought both a statue & a chess set from him!!

I majored in French in high school but never had a chance to use it until about 20 years later when we visited a friend who had moved to Paris.  We were sitting in his apartment with several of his new French speaking friends.  They were having a discussion & I surprised myself by being able to give Bud a simultaneous translation.


My husband is a very intelligent man, but somehow he can’t seem to learn foreign languages.  I had to do all his translating for him in France, which I really didn’t mind doing.  I have to admit I did get some strange looks when asking where the men’s room was.  We were in a restaurant before the days of women’s lib.  I got us a table, ordered dinner for the two of us, asked for some bread, got Bud some extra water (with ice) & requested the check.  I’m sure our waiter told his coworkers he was going to give it to the pushy broad with the fat guy!!

I took a couple of semesters of Japanese in night school.  I guess my kids couldn't help but hear me when I was doing my homework.  Matt was in the band in junior high (middle school) & his instructor told the kids to count to four aloud before starting to play.  Matt, my resident smartass, asked him if it mattered what language they counted in.  The instructor told him no.  I would have expected him, being Jewish, to count ein, tzvei, drei, fir (Yiddish) but no; loud & clear came ichi, ni, san, shi (Japanese) out of his little Jewish mouth!!

I studied a little Italian but I can't really speak it fluently yet:
















下次 That’s “See you next time in Mandarin Chinese, but I guess you already knew that----fishducky