The counter guy at the corner deli said, "Gracias, mami" to me this morning and I was hooked on trying to speak a little Spanish, a language I've never learned.
I have been totally inspired by Benny the Irish Polyglot who reminded me that no one ever feels "ready" to speak a language, but that you just have to do it! Korean was my first language and I have been learning Portuguese for six years. Yet...I NEVER speak the languages. I live in New York. Hello! I go into Korean delis all the time. The drycleaners are Korean! I hear Portuguese all around me. I love languages and I live in New York, where foreign languages are all around me.
A week ago, I decided to speak foreign languages whenever I can. The first place I tried it with was at El Gran Castillo del Jagua, where Rob and I went to get Cuban sandwiches. OK, let me say that I have never studied Spanish. Yes, I've studied Portuguese and there are some similarities, but it's still an entirely different language. I walked in, said buenos dias and said, quiero uno cubano. The guy was really nice to me and said some stuff back in Spanish, which was fun. When we left, I was like, yeah, just trying to speak made that transaction so much more an experience than ordering a sandwich. And I feel like it'll be good for Greyson to witness stuff like that. Like, it's ok to try and fun and other languages are not a big deal.
Today, I ordered a bagel at a diner around the corner. The last time I went in there, I wanted to try Spanish, but I got too shy and didn't. I beat myself up for that because who cares? Why is it so hard? So, today, I said buenos dias! The guy behind the counter said, Buenos dias, como estás?" I said, muy bien...e tu? I don't even know if it's "tu" but I saw Y tu mama tambien and so, "tu"was in my head (later I remembered that tu is "your," not you.). So, the counter guy said bien and what I guess asked me what I'd like. I said, "quiero uno bagel con butter. (I was going to say manteiga, which is butter in Portuguese)" He said, ok, mantegaya...tostado? And I said, si, tostado! I then, asked, como se habla, I'll be right back (I was going to walk Rob to the subway station a few steps away and come back). He said whatever it was and I didn't hear him, but I thought, oh, I'll have to look it up later. Anyway, when I came back, the guy gave me my bagel and I said gracias and he said, gracias mami...bon dia or something. I left smiling because it was so fun communicating in another language.
Not only was it fun, but now I know how to say butter and I will look up how to say, I'll be right back and remember it. You don't have to be in school to learn...education is all around us! (OK, I'm a nerd.)