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Friday, January 18, 2013

I Want My Kids to Learn Spanish

This morning before work I stopped at the cobbler shop to pick up two pairs of heels I needed to have resoled.

I got there and the three dudes behind the counter were talking rapidly in Spanish. Wordlessly I handed one my ticket and he went to retrieve my shoes. But pretty soon he hit a snag.

"I can't find her shoes," he told the others in Spanish.

Dude #2 went to help him look and after several minutes of searching they came back with one pair.

"I gave them to him," I said in English, pointing at Dude #3.

The three of them gathered around a notebook of sales and started arguing in Spanish about my shoes.

"She had two pairs! Where's the second pair?" "Were they both black?" "No, she wouldn't bring in two black pairs!" "Yes, the second one had a point."

Ok, ok. Enough was enough. I interrupted them in Spanish.

"I brought in two black pairs. The other pair had a pointy toe, like he said."

They stared at me, dumbfounded, and then started to laugh.

"Where did you learn Spanish? You don't have an accent!"

"I'm Cuban. I learned from my parents and grandparents."

After that I became their new best friend. They explained that Dude #3 had "just fallen in love" so he "couldn't remember anything." "You'll understand when you fall in love," they said wisely. I laughed.

Those moments are so awesome, when I get to use my rusty but native Spanish and shock the heck out of whoever I'm talking to. It's come in handy more times than I can count. And it's fantastic for eavesdropping. ;)

I'm grateful my parents had the foresight to pass on their first language to me. Even though my Spanish is reeeeeeally rusty, I hope I can pass it on to my children too.

10 comments:

  1. My secret favorite skill as well.

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    1. Ha! And your Spanish is so much better than mine, I bet you totally throw people for a loop. :) Miss you dear Vanessa!

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  2. I think it's a wonderful gift to give your children--that sense of pride in and awareness of the beauty of their heritage.

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    1. Thank you! I hope to give them that - it can be hard in this "melting pot" culture, but cultural traditions are a lot of fun, and knowing another language is so useful. It's definitely worth the effort!

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  3. I guess guys wouldn't necessarily notice something like an engagement ring... haha! Sounds like a fun experience! Makes me wish I spoke a foreign language more fluently ;-) God bless you!

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    1. Good point! In fairness to them, I had gloves on. :) I feel ya on the wishing you were bilingual thing - it feels like every day I wish I knew another language, or at least wasn't so out of practice with Spanish. Have you ever tried a language learning program like Rosetta Stone? I haven't, but have always wanted to!

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  4. Ha ha such fun! I guess falling in love can be pretty disorienting. God bless!

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    1. I guess it can be! Here's hoping that STAYING in love isn't quite as disorienting, especially when it's combined with housekeeping and family-raising. :) You too!

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  5. I love this! My grandmother is from Mexico and unfortunately she hasn't taught her children (my mother) or her grandchildren to speak Spanish. I would love to have someone fluent teach my children someday! Maybe even become fluent myself!

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    1. I hope you get a chance to learn! It would be so cool for you to be able to get in touch with your Mexican roots. :) Thank you for commenting, Tay, and hope to see you around here again!

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