Welcome to Spain!
God help the Spainards as there is a bi-polar in town who knows no language except her own. The first day I had tons of enthusiasm and there was hardly anything which could stop me, including the language barrier. There seemed to be only similarities between people - families - arguing over typical problems.
Okay, I do have a "Rosetta Stone" with me as my friend was raised traveling back and forth from California to Spain over summers and holidays, so she can speak it, and even with an accent worthy of the local region.
But that's no fun, I wanted to know how it felt to be an English speaker among the natives. So, I launched my visit here by taking off with my friend's Aunt (tia) who spoke no English. We were quite the pair. She is so funny, so demonstrative, that I actually understood a good portion of what she was trying to convey to me.
There are no casual conversations as everything we try to communicate requires work. Mucho Trabajo! I do remember or know, some Spanish, hell we all know some Spanish as it's all around us. "Lave Las Manos," seen in every bathroom (banos) of every fast food joint in California.
The fucking Spanish rule the world, it's everywhere. I had no idea that I would find such a gold mine of Spanish in my brain. Okay, admittedly a gold mine for me consists of a lot of nouns (perro, gato, comida, etc) and several partially congugated verbs (Yo tengo, trabajo). Of course, greetings are rather well known; Hasta Luego - Buenos Noches - Adios fucking amigos...
It's just another manic Lunes...
The first few days were trying to fit my broken Spanish into conversations and a lot of playing with my hands and looking for things to point at. Hey, it's a truly humbling experience to be in a country where you do not speak the language. Americans are so fucked up in that we think it's okay to simply "force" our language upon those who visit or relocate to our country.
But it also brings up the fact that language is alive and kicking. We all really speak our own "brand" or "style" and it has a lot to do with the local region we speak to in our daily lives. My language skills or lack thereof, come from my life, my feelings and such. So do everyone else's. That is what I'm learning right now.
And body language is muy important as I have that to totally rely on in certain situations as occurred last night.
Going to a park, actually waiting for someone to return by train, I took the dog for a walk. By the way, that fucker doesn't understand me any better than anyone else. The dog is a brute, though afraid of the gatos, and apparently teenagers.
They were only kids but it said alot...
Last night I realized that it's about communicating beyond words when I was approached by a whole group of kids. The younger ones were studying English and found me a good sounding board for their practice. I didn't mind too much, but the teenages became a problem.
If you read this blog or know me, you will likely know I'm kind of partial to the company of young people, as I try to support them as they are going to take over the world some day.
Things got out of hand at the park as their were too many of them, approaching me, asking me to say their names in English. Before I could get a handle on them, they were in mass, too many at once. The teenagers stepped up to move out the younger crowd and then it got weird.
Since I was alone I had to be careful as these were someone's kids. Mostly teenage boys, who wanted to know if I had a boyfriend, and if I didn't they were offering themselves. I had no verbs or nouns for "I'm waiting for someone on the train" or even "fuck off I'm looking around and you're annoying me" I had nothing. That's when a teenage girl appeared. She had a lot of attitude and decided to try to one up me in front of the boys.
Well, the goddam dog pushed his head to her butt and knocked her around a bit. She came up angry. The only word I could think when I looked into her eyes was "impish." What the fuck good would that word do me as it was untranslatable at that moment. But it did tell me she was street smart, not much education unlike the younger kids, but she was intelligent no doubt. And she was angry too.
She made a mistake as she decided to fuck with me. I had not expected to have my first experience in Spain with a teenager to be one I did not know how to handle. A young, pretty, smart girl needed to do this? Jeezus.
Tug of war is "tug of war" in any country
I'm a fucking American, trying to modify my responses for other people is not going to change that fact. And having someone pull me or touch me isn't going to do much except piss me off. I'm not a big fan of being assailed by strangers, especially those who are cussing me out in another language.
She made fun of my Spanish as I tried to calm the situation. It was "Bull" the dog who started this, I decided after a whole night of reflection. But the girl made the choice to touch me. In fact, she pulled at my arm, rather strongly. I looked deep into her eyes, while sending the message you're a buzzkill, to let go immediately of my arm.
Without verbal language it all came down to understanding the rest of the signals. I stood down a mountain lion and that SOB wasn't speaking English either, so I had to deal with a young female Spainard with the same regard.
Much like with the mountain lion, I postured my body without thinking about it. My back straight, my eyes zoomed in on the girl, I made sure she got the idea to back off or try to wrangle me. But unlike the mountain lion who was a real dick too, this young girl did not understand the amount of self control I was using not to pick her up and throw her insolent ass into the fountain. She persisted and we ended up in a stand off.
Same situation - different country
My eyes scanned all of the teenagers, maybe ten or so at this point, and I realized they are in the same situation as any American kid, lack of opportunity, time on their hands, and the current human condition, I'll talk about more later.
Right now, I'm sitting around talking to some young film students from the university. We have had a lot of listening to my broken Spanish, now it's time to teach some fucking American. No, mutherfuckers, I don't speak English, I speak Bi-polar American.
My friend and I recalled last night about the phrase I coined some years ago: " Group hug mutherfuckers." That's what I'm teaching.
Adios blog readers! From the Bi-polar American currently in Spain!