Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Learning Experiences

I have read somewhere that mental exercises are highly recommended to keep the brain in form once old age has set in. Well. . . I have certainly kept mine busy, what with settling down in a new country, learning a new language, learning about construction typical to this area, learning new mores and customs, even learning about new foodstuff, the list gets longer all the time. Even shopping becomes a new type of experience.
While there are many shops and eateries that cross over borders such as Home Depot, the ubiquitous McDonald’s, WalMart, Subway, Costco, etc. all of which are relatively close, others have a definite foreign flavour, particularly the mom and pop tienditas. I’ll bet that new synapses are now forming committees in my brain so as to figure out how to classify newcomers and put them their proper place! Short term memories are supposed to be a challenge, which I will not dispute, especially when it becomes imperative to recall street names, what Taxivan goes where, new forms of politeness, the list can be exhaustive. I have resorted to keeping written notes in small notebooks that fit nicely in my purse. I just have to remember to bring my purse…
However, I wish that my brain would have willingly adopted new interjections and exclamations. I just love them but have yet to figure out how and when to use them properly. Or else appear foolish. The ojala, caray, hijole, digame, a poco, to name a few. They sound so cool when you hear them and they do fit so nicely and naturally in the conversation, especially with the proper tone and accent. To me they are brain ticklers. More to learn…
Some expressions enchant me. Do you know that I am not retired, but jubilant? Jubilacion is the term for retirement. Don’t you just love that one? I sometimes revert to my native French and twist the word to sound Spanish. It works at times, at others definitely not. For instance bagage in French, or baggage in English, is NOT bagaje, which means beast of burden. At the pharmacy, if you mention that you are constipado, you’ll get a cold remedy instead of Exlax. And if you’re embarrassed about asking for directions after driving in vain for over an hour, DO NOT say that you’re embarazado, which is a physical impossibility for the male of the species. It means pregnant!
Until I become properly conversant with many idiomatic expressions, I must refrain from using them… or run the risk of becoming repeatedly pregnant!


RunNRose said...

Enjoyed this post! I can certainly relate, after all the years I was the only gringa in a group of hispanic girls at college. The similarities between French and Spanish are what made me quit the French, much to the consternation of my professor. I had A's in the class. Just found her name in my head! A miracle. Dr. Arbuthnot. She was very demanding,intimidating. Her classroom was not a happy place. The French "she" and the Spanish "he" got tangled in my head one day. That was the last straw.

I remember hearing and using all of the interjections except "caray". Do not remember knowing the word "jubilacion". Guess I didn't need to know about "retired" back in the '60's, huh?

Hope you will post more often.Rose

Pleinguy said...

I'm so glad to see you are posting your insights and experiences again. It's very interesting to hear about the trials and joys found in your new home. Hope the casita is completed on time so you can enjoy it. You've struggled for so long to make the dream come to life. Best of luck and I hope you have a joyful holiday season.

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