Monday, March 7, 2011

Today's post brought to you by the word "squirrel"

One of the most difficult things about interacting with people who speak a different language is communicating to them exactly who you are. And yes, I did, probably foolishly, just universalize my own feelings into a blanket statement. But since I've heard the sentiment echoed several times from different people, or maybe just because I'm the only one who gets any say around here, we're gonna stick with it.

I even remember a Spanish (yes, literally, from Spain. Don't you even think about using the word "Spanish" describe anyone who speaks that language!) professor, who I adore, telling us once in my freshman year that living in a different language changes a person. The verdict is still out on that one. I've only been here for six months put together, after all. But I do know that during my first semester here I mostly felt that people didn't really know me, and that speaking Spanish did kinda force me to be someone else I still think that people here cannot see and talk with the same me as people who I can speak English with do. And if Profesora Perez was right, maybe you always feel that way to varying degrees.

But (am I losing you? Get to the point already Dani!) this weekend I finally had no doubt that the lovely girls who I went to Huanchaco and Trujillo with were actually getting to know me. That they didn't want me there because I was the American girl who's interesting because of that, but because I'm Dani, who is sometimes interesting and sometimes not. Who likes to play Jenga in bars and gives good massages. Who forgets things often and gets tired easily and doesn't like chocolate desserts or spending a lot of money. And not just those things that I can easily write, but my sense of humor and personality on a more instinctual level. And what's more, I'm getting know them too.

It feels good.
(No one I know)

So anyway, the trip was a blast. I might continue to recap parts of it in the next posts. But really, does anyone actually want to read a post that's like "Dear everyone enthralled with every detail of my life, on Wednesday night I Francesca picked me up here at 6:15, and then we went to her house, and then..." Blech. Or is it just me who doesn't want to write that?

But I will just note quickly that one of the highlights for me was our conversation about Spanish/English words. Always fun to try to explain to native Spanish speakers the difference between "cheap" "chip" "ship" and "sheep." (No really, I think it's great fun!) And they taught me that cracking your neck is "sacando conejos del cuello." Literally: "taking rabbits out of the neck." Hope I got that right. I struggled all weekend over the pronunciation of the word "exquisita," which can mean picky, and they both repeated the word "squirrel" till I hardly knew how to pronounce it anymore.

This stage of language learning is definitely a heck of a lot more fun than the "huh?" "what" followed by the still clueless head nod stage. I was not such a fan of that stage. (Shout out to Virginia, and anyone else who might still feel like they're in that stage. It gets better!)

Huanchaco Plaza de Armas

Adorable kids sitting in circle!

P.S. Random fact I can't wait to share: there were some Australians with a small child-sized monkey at the beach. Does that reinforce every stereotype you've ever heard of Australians?


  1. Those were some nice pics...and a description about your trip without going overboard....i see that you had fun with your friends.

  2. Wow! Things lost and gained in translation. I totally believe that we change as we speak another language. Speaking 3 different languages on a daily basis from childhood, I do almost seem to have 3 different personalities. Hehe! And wooooot! I love Espanol. Just started taking classes. Hope it eventually takes me to Spain! The pix are BEEYOOOOTIFUL!

  3. hahaha! the! the stereotype on Aussies thing is funny. =p

    btw, I find it highly amusing how Americans pronounce the world 'squirrel'. Why do u guys pronounce it as SQUIRL without the E?!

  4. Cat: Thanks!

    MFG: Wow! Three languages from birth? You've totally got something on me there. Happy Spanish studying!

    RS: But don't brits say something like Squeerel? How strange is that?

  5. Ok! Where are the pictures of the monkey drinking beer?

  6. I always thought of Aussies more as bearers of child-size snakes, rather than monkeys. Eh, make that 'adult-sized' snakes. Or 'train-sized' snakes.

  7. Dad: Sadly, I felt it might be slightly creeperish to take pictures of the group with the monkey, memorable as drunken money was.

    Marie: Now that I would get a picture of.