The Awkward Foreigner

Published: May 14th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

It was a phase. If you read my last blog you heard me throughly freaking out because I hit an ugly patch where I virtually knew no Spanish. Okay, it wasn't quite THAT serious but it was bad! Now I know that what I went through is normal for language learners and it's not the end of the world. My mind was just angry and rebelling. Kind of like a mental temper tantrum brought on by fatigue. But that whole mishap ushered me into the stage where I am now: The Awkward Foreigner. It's sounds funny but there's no other way to describe it!

You know how you talk to foreigners and they speak English but say some odd, comical things? Stuff like, "he had a bad breath", "the nappy house", or "her legs have many fur". Haha! Well now that's me and my friends... Right now my brain is a bilingual mesh. When I'm speaking English either Spanish is trying to shove its way out of my mouth or my English takes on odd Spanish structures and I end up sounding like a weirdo.

Here are some of the odd things me and my friends have said:

"Oh my goodness, that gives me disgust!"

"When we're late for dinner he gets really molested." (means bothered in Spanish but sounds horrible in English!)

Looks at baby Marquitos. "Maybe he has hunger."

"We need to lower the mountain." (go down the mountain)

"That gives me fear."

"It costs me to believe that." (It's hard for me to believe that.)

"Lately you haven't been enforcing yourself with your Spanish." (trying hard)

Someone asks "How old is she?" My answer, "She has 6 years."

My host family also gets a good laugh from some of the weird things I accidentally say in Spanish. For example, Me and Issac had played Karioka one night and when my host sister asked me who won. I was trying to say we had a tie "empate" but I said "pata" which means, "We had a duck". Haha! Even worse, one night at dinner when my host dad asked me about how I was liking my tea, I tried to say "Good. It's helping me warm up." However, I ended up saying "Me hace caliente" which means "It makes me hot" and has other connotations is Spanish!!

There have been more epic mistakes. Lizette, our ISA site director, told us about this past student who, when trying to tell her host family that she likes to rock climb without rope, said "Me gusta escalar sin ropa" which means "I like to rock climb without clothes"!! Apparently her family nearly died laughing! Hahaha! It's a good thing to know that ropa does NOT mean rope in English. Even funnier, Lizette told us about one of her friends who went to the U.S. and while staying in a hotel needed more hangers. She dialed room service and said "Hello, can you please send some extra hookers up to my room?"!! Yes, definitely awkward.

Even though I talk a little strange now, I consider this a sign that my mind is really soaking it up. Operating in this other language has become so natural that it slips out and the structures so ingrained that my English is mirroring it. ¡Es impresionante! This is random but when I was reading articles about other foreigners, I came across this and thought it was hilarious. It was written by some dude who went to India and related some of the funny conversations he had there.

“Am I scadalizing you?” –Anjal said while drinking, smoking, and cussing.

“I’m American.” –me (implying it is impossible to scandlize me because I am American).



10th June 2012

I love rereading this entry. It always makes me giggle hysterically.

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