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Spanish Eyes, English Words

A blended blog - Spanish life and culture meets English freelancer who often gets mistaken for Spanish senora. It's the eyes that do it, rather than the command of the language. Anything can and probably will happen here.

Three languages for the price of one!
15 September 2015 @ 21:33

One of my personal hobby horses is if you go to live in another country – or even go there regularly on holiday – is that you should at least make a stab at learning the language. Even if you get no further than the essentials, have a go, because the locals will respect you for it.  I’ve been so diligent at taking my own advice that I can order beer, wine and vodka – the essentials -  in a number of languages, as well as saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’

I seem to have an aptitude for languages – unlike Tony, who has been learning French for at least 25 years and still can’t get past beer, wine, please and thank you. Even then, his pronunciation is so – shall we say creative - that even I can’t understand him, and I’m more or less fluent in French. The Spanish is still a work in progress, but I’ve probably reached the intermediate stage. Tony’s Spanish is excellent – he has ‘La cuenta, por favor’ off to a tee, so he takes care of all the bills. He doesn’t really need any more Spanish as long as I’m with him, does he, boys and girls?

With my command of French and Spanish, you’d think travelling through the two countries to visit the friends and family would be a doddle, wouldn’t you? And mostly it is. However, I’m the wrong side of 60, and after a long day’s drive – 400 – 500 miles is doable on the roads in Spain and France – I can get a bit This happened to me yesterday, on our way back home to Algorfa.

After driving 300 miles in the heat, I was really pleased to find a camping ground just 5 minutes off our route. When you’re driving 1,100 miles, the last thing you want to do is rack up another 10 – 20 miles finding somewhere to stay for the night. The camping ground – Les Jardins de L’Adour, in Saint Vincent de Paul, just outside Dax, in the Atlantique region – looked really peaceful and welcoming. And although it had a swimming pool, library, bar and other facilities, it was just €10.50 a night, including electric. Unlike some sites, we didn’t have to pay extra for Paddy either, and they even supplied free poop bags, les chiens for the use of. We decided to stay two nights and chill out before we tackled the final 500 miles.

I must have been more tired than I thought I was, because after the usual ‘Bonjours’ – it was still daylight, so that worked – I got a teensy weensy bit mixed up. As I said, I’m pretty fluent in French – so much so that I actually think in French when I’m in France and about to speak to French people. What was in my head was, ‘I’d like a pitch for two people and a dog for two nights, please,’ and I had all the French words to say that, in exactly the right order. However, what actually came out of my mouth was, ‘Je voudrai une emplacement for two people y un chien por dos noches, please.’

The French site manager – who spoke about 5 languages fluently, including English and Spanish – didn’t know whether to be amused or amazed.  Being French, he just shrugged and filled out the receipt. I, on the other hand, wished the ground would open up and swallow me. Sometimes I wonder whether speaking more than one language is such a good thing after all. Or is that just me?

Read more about me @ Sandra In Spain

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tiggie said:
19 September 2015 @ 10:46

Hi Sandra love your blog brings a smile to my face and a chuckle in my heart, thank you.

I am similar to you I feel strongly that I have to learn Spanish, Spain is a beautiful country and out of respect for the people and to gain more knowledge for me and my husband I need to learn.

I am the wrong side of 65 years but still using the old brain, major back problems from an accident in England but can now say with a big smile I can walk, no running but who runs in Spain so I fit in quite nicely.

I keep asking anyone who understands me "where can myself and husband get free Spanish learning courses, I may be saying it wrong but all look at me like I am a little nutty. So finally my question, do you know where I would have to go to get on these courses, it is so very important to me. Please get intouch when you have time.

Great Regards

SandrainAlgorfa said:
19 September 2015 @ 14:37

Hello Tiggie - thanks for your kind comments. If you want to email me on s.piddock266@btinternet and tell me where you live, I can either help, or put you in touch with someone who can. In our area - near Algorfa - there are free courses for residents and paid courses for others, and at just €5 for 90 minutes, that's a bargain.

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