Bear Says


August 18, 2015


A typical day in Arequipa is like a small child trying to count the coins they’ve saved up. They seem to not comprehend the number of the coins, nor the coin’s denominations. This is how I feel when I order a coffee at Starbucks, or order lunch at Panconte, or try to buy a new sim card for my phone with the Claro agent, or walk around town with the Remax realtor; the words I’ve collected don’t seem to add up to anything comprehensible. The day is spent clumsily stapling Spanish words together with English as the glue, and afterward you have something that is supposed to resemble a model of the solar system only to find that no one can actually recognize what you tried to build. The evening then is spent trying to get more and better glue, by way of Duolingo, and my personal favorite: all of us sitting on the couches trying to speak in Spanish to each other and just figure out life together. Learning a new language is truly amazing. There are few things that feel as good as a native Spanish speaker tries to use their English, and I, the native English speaker, trying to use my Spanish actually communicate. Our smiles are big, and our hearts happy, and then the awkward silence. We’ve exhausted each other’s vocabulary and don’t know what else to say. What once was a smile so big our cheeks could barely contain is now slowly sliding off the corners of our mouths. Then in a final effort to keep the vibe going one of us will say, “Goodbye,” or “Muchas gracias!” The smiles return in full, handshakes received by all, and waves as we depart from each other.

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1 Comment

  • Reply Elizabeth August 18, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    You are too funny…

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