Be careful what you ask for…..

Well, you know the rest of the saying.

So I just got back from another whirlwind trip to Houston to visit the in-laws and my Dad. As expected, I got the crappy present from my MIL. Once again, even though I have told her innumerable times, she got me something from Bath and Body Works that I can’t use because I AM ALLERGIC TO IT!!!!! On a high note, we took the Things to see the fabulous production of the Nutcraker that the Houston Ballet does. It was as fantastic as I remember.

So, about being careful….

I will now admit something that is somewhat embarrassing. Ok, not somewhat, very. I don’t speak Spanish.

So what, you may say.

Ummmm…..I live less than 300 miles from the border of a large Spanish speaking nation.

Again, so what?

My very white German husband speaks Spanish very well.

Ok, get to the point! What’s the BFD?

My parents both speak Spanish fluently and spoke it almost exclusively at home as children and my maiden name is one of the more common Mexican surnames.

Oh. That is a little embarrassing. I see your point.

Yup. A point of shame in my household. As my Dad would tell it, all of my grandparents were really upset that my parents never taught me or insisted I take it in school (I took really useful things like Latin and Russian). He even jokes that his father visited him in a dream recently and chided him that I STILL couldn’t speak Spanish.

And I always get called on it, too. A lot of Hispanics in Austin will always try to speak to me in Spanish first, and since there are an awful lot of Hispanics here, this happens on a fairly regular basis. I thought I could get away from it when I visited DC a few years back. Oh, was I wrong. I was in the checkout line of a grocery store and the Hispanic clerk spoke to me in Spanish first. When I told him I couldn’t speak, he gave me the old tsk tsk. The best story is when I had some work done on the house a few years back. The crew was mostly Hispanic (ok, I was having floor installed so I’m not responsible for checking their immigration status) and kept trying to talk to me and I had to keep referring them to my husband. Anyway, I had to leave for a bit, so I left them my cell phone number with my first and last name on it. When the crew chief saw it, he turned to one of his guys and said, in Spanish, “Oh, she’s Jewish” (my last name could be construed as such for those who aren’t knowledgeable of German/Central European names). Nice to know I was the topic of conversation.

So, this is more than a little embarrassing. Over Thanksgiving, my Dad was giving the normal shite about not speaking the mother tongue when I told him that I had always wanted the Rosetta Stone software and that if he got it for me, I’d learn it.


He called my bluff, so now I have to learn it. And I know how expensive it was, so I really have to do it or he’ll be pissed. Gulp. More updates as events warrant.

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10 responses to “Be careful what you ask for…..

  1. Does your MIL read your blog??

  2. I’ve looked many times at Rosetta. You’ll have to review the product for us.

    And sorry about the B&B Works stuff. I bet a shelter would appreciate a little luxury.

    GL with learning the language…I bet you find it easier than you expect with your exposure to it. I can follow a lot more Spanish than I expected just because of all my French and exposure to Spanglish.

    In fact, I did better a lot of times in Central America than our traveling partners, who were from Madrid!

    Julie
    Using My Words

  3. Good luck with the Spanish! My kids struggled with Spanish in high school, though they were born in South America. We adopted them when they were infants. 🙂

    I went to Berlitz for a crash course before we went down there, but my high school French was equally helpful, so I was able to stumble about fairly successfully, and the people were kind and knew when I meant “he is two months old,” but said “he has two tables.”

  4. i’d be very curious as to how the rosetta stone thing works out. please keep us updated!

  5. I’ve been wanting to learn Spanish ever since my time in Austin… I hear that the Rosetta Stone lessons are awesome, but the expense has always held me back… Keep us updated; I may finally try it.

  6. Oh geez, I have the exact same problem with Chinese. Don’t speak, can kinda understand some of it and can read only about 10 characters (words) or so. Although people usually ask before jumping into speaking Chinese with me because I could possibly be Japanese or Korean (they always know but just ask out of politeness), there are so many ABC (American Born Chinese) that can’t speak, I’m not so much in the minority. Good luck with the Rosetta Stone!

  7. Gottagopractice

    Did I say something wrong?

  8. Gottagopractice

    Thanks for stopping by. Not worried that you weren’t, but rather that a comment I had left here earlier had disappeared – about Rosetta Stone being available through many public libraries. Must have been a Blogger glitch.

    BTW, if you find yourself wishing to efficiently keep up with many blogs, it may be time to get a blog reader. I like Google Reader, free and easy to use.

  9. oh boy. perhaps you can teach us a word a day.

  10. Rosetta stone is awesome!

    And it works!!!!

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