As an American it´s pretty obvious my native language is English. My second language was Spanish and then my third, German. However, the last time I attempted to speak more than a “gracias” in Spanish was in the fall of 2009. Yeah, it´s been almost four years.
So, my Spanish is rusty to say the least. But I figured it would come back to me as I traversed Spain. And maybe it will. But today, in Barcelona, I created my own new language: Spangermanglish
When I first started taking German I always said ¨”Si” because that had been drilled into me. Four semesters of German later, anytime I go to say “Si” here it comes out as “Ja.” No works the same way. I said “Entschuldigung” instead of “Perdon”. But that´s not the most embarassing, though that was pretty bad. What´s bad is that as I walk down the streets and see words or think of how I should say something essential in Spanish (Where is the train station for example), my mind instantly answers in German. Or a mixture of Spanish and German. I had wanted to say “It is a hostel.” What it came out as was “Es ist una Hostel.” That´s Spangermanglish for you. The es was probably right. Hostel…no idea what the Spanish word is. But the “ist” is 100% German.
Remembering my Spanish is not the biggest problem I have encountered – it is the fear of making a mistake or not being able to understand. Around 1:30 when I left the hostel to walk around Barcelona I was starving. I didn´t eat until 3, partially because I couldn´t find anything but partially because of the language barrier. Barcelona speaks Spanish but Catalan (I believe it´s Catalan) first. That means I am two languages removed at all times. I had no idea how to order and thankfully the poor waitress took pity on me and used English on me.
From this post you´d think I´m not having a good time. I am! Barcelona is beautiful, albeit odd. I am staying at a very swanky (but not swanky price) hostel that is on the main shopping street. I can´t wait to explore it more when I get back from Madrid.
Pictures will be up eventually. There´s no SD card reader in the computer I´m using so for now, you´ll just have to live without pictures. Tomorrow, I tackle the Spanish bullet trains, Ave, and head to Madrid!