Friends often ask, what our lives are like, living in Buenos Aries ?
Depending on how the day went, the answer varies.
We are feeling more integrated each day, learning the language helps immensely .. just think of all the good jokes I am missing.
Not to mention the vague worry at times that someone might be warning me of an impending disaster and I will smile and thank them and then go on my merry way.
Not speaking the language has not really stopped us though - we walk everywhere and chat with people we see .. < I will talk to a tree and get it to answer > so we enjoy our wandering and discovering.
Tiny accomplishments for most people, are major breakthroughs for us, considering the way things are done here .. perhaps old fashioned, perhaps just not the way they do them elsewhere.. plus language difficulties... some days are quite fulfilling and some are just plain exhausting.
But then I see someone familiar on the street and they give me a big wave and "Hola!" and I realize it is someone from the pharmacy or dry cleaners or a neighbor and I feel like I am at home ... or at least not invisible. Today we gave an American lady from New York directions, that was nice, we spoke the language.
Just about every day we go to the market. Either the supermercado or the small produce markets on our street. The young man in one of the markets, like to practice his English on us.
We are each good ambassadors for our countries and his partner just stands there patiently waiting for me to remember the word for zucchini. I think of one because it starts with a Z but no, that means carrots , of course, as I walk in the door of our apartment, I remember the right word. But in the meantime, he has not given me a look of disgust, impatience or suffering and waits until I figure things out myself.
He will never know how much that means to us, how much it must mean to anyone trying to speak a language that is not their own. We have had a teacher for the past months and now, I think that these patient smiling people don't realize what is in store for them, when I can finally talk their ears off in their own language.
Going to the market is much what I pictured if we had gone to live in France or Italy, going from small market to market, pointing out what we want and some person finding the perfect one and putting it in the bag, weighing it and waiting for our next choice.
We definitely eat much fresher food because of this .. When we first arrived and I walked through the supermarket, it was both daunting and exciting. Look at this ! they carry Peanut Butter but then not being able to read labels, I worried that we would end up eating the most basic foods for fear of ending up eating lard, pigs feet or chicken brains...who knew what that long list of ingredients said? So if I didn't recognize it, I didn't buy it.
Now I read much more Spanish and so far, no chicken brains have passed our lips. Just one of the many things I am thankful for, that we never expected to even have to consider.
I told my friend that I speak Menu. It is true. When you arrive in a new country, that is the first thing you must learn- how to order something to eat.
I don't have to use the English menu anymore and I must admit this thrills me to bits... and it only took about a year.