2.12.2009

Because there are some things you don't want to pantomime

March 28, 2009 marks the first day of a new beginning and new adventure. On this date, I move to Barcelona, Spain, joining my husband who will be relocating a few weeks earlier.

Yes. I am so excited, I can hardly stand myself.

Because we won't be able to move belongings into our permanent residence until May, Max spent yesterday looking for a temporary apartment and found one only a block from where we will be living. This makes me even happier because it gives me early opportunity to get to know "the hood" a little better. First on the agenda? Finding a veterinarian, kennel, and dog groomer because Charlie is one, high-maintenance pupster. Second, locating a hair dresser, nail salon, and a place for waxing because momma is also a tad high maintenance. As far as the rest-- like knowing where to buy groceries-- this can happen, when it happens. Depilation first; eating second. A motto worthy of inscription, no?

Because of these needs, important topics such as waxing and pet grooming come up often during Spanish classes. I've learned from my mistakes of expatriation in Germany by focusing on only the really useful vocabulary first.

"How would you ask for a bikini waxing?" I asked.

My teacher, a native Spanish speaker from Peru, laughs at my questions, but also understands my needs. And, I was pleasantly surprised to learn many important words are the same or similar in Spanish. For those words that are not English conjugates, I have started making flash cards and am drilling them into my brain. I've only got 6 weeks left and there is so much to learn!

If you were moving to a foreign country, what would you want to learn how to ask for first?

19 comments:

Blogging Mama Andrea said...

I think having been here nearly three years I've learned the most important question to ask is: Where is the bathroom? I have kids and they ALWAYS seem to need to go as soon as we get anywhere.

For myself it would depend. Where is the nearest train outta here? might be good to know.

But Spain seems like so much fun I doubt I'd be saying that.

seplowingermany said...

Having now had the expat experience once, I am completely with you... finding a supermarket easy.. waxing hard - I still haven't found a decent place that I like for a manicure. Makes me a bit sad, as that was my guiltless pleasure in the US.
Seems like you have learned for the year in Germany and you now have your priorities in the right order.

A Touch of Dutch said...

Learning how to ask someone if there is anyone around who can speak English. Even in a country where 85% of the population can speak English as a second language, I've found I always end up with the one person who falls in the 15% who can't speak or understand English.

Your flashcard idea is great! I found also learning words for particular settings you'll be in most often helped. Like your kitchen, learning what all of the appliances and utensils were called in my new language.

I'm very excited for you & wish good luck to you & Max on your move!

headbang8 said...

First, your dog is soooo gay. Does he lisp?

Second, here are the essentials one needs to know in another language.

"Do not insult me with your low-alcohol beer."

"Supersize me. And throw in some onion rings, too, while you're at it."

"Fifty cents to pee is highway robbery. Why is your restroom worth so much more than that nearby tree?"

Diane Mandy said...

headbang - You are correct. Charlie IS gay. I used to think he was metrosexual, but it has become apparent that Charlie prefers men to women. seriously.

You are so lucky to have the option to use a tree! I wish I were that flexible, but trees don't work for me. Are there also pay toilets in Spain? Say it isn't so!

Jul said...

The first thing I need to know in any language is how to ask for vegetarian food. For me, finding meat in my food is worse than going unwaxed. Yeah, that bad.

Sue Jacquette said...

I'm with you on the waxing. Also, a liquor store, a cheese shop, a masseuse, a book store and a good hair colorist. I suppose I'm high maintenance, too?

oreneta said...

If you let me know the general area...poble sec/ Eixample north whatever, I may be able to get you some recommendations, if you'd like.

Neil said...

Sounds wonderful for you. Tapas!

Paige Jennifer said...

Oh how I crave those dilemmas in my life.

Princess Extraordinaire said...

Where can I get a diet coke? lol

Princess Extraordinaire said...

Where can I get a diet coke? lol

utenzi said...

I'd need to figure out how to ask for where they sell candy. Once that's done everything else will be okay. I don't think I'd get around to asking about hair care for several months.

AmyB said...

The BAR!! Er...I mean...mall? ;o) Congrats on finally knowing when you will arrive to your new home! So soon!

Dan-E said...

i already know in spanish what i need to know:

"una cerveza por favor?"

"de donde es el bano?"

"de donde es mi pantalones?"

usually in that order, oddly enough.

planetgermany said...

I would depend of the time of day... I'd either need coffee or beer.

Jill said...

Waxing is OH-SO important - sadly, I have yet to find a place here that I would trust with my intimates...

Simple Answer said...

I'm pulling a brain muscle trying to figure out what I wanted to learn in Arabic. I like knowing all the 'basics': please, thank you, hello, how are you.... but what I really need to know that I just don't is "you are such an ass." Cuz there are times I just want to be able to curse and know that they understand I'm seriously pissed.

Connie said...

I think your other readers have nailed the basics! "Where's the toilet?", "Does anyone speak English, please?" I also like learning my numbers as well as "Are you crazy? That's too high! I live here, what is the local price?"