When I came back to the apartment from school earlier this week, I ran into two workmen in the elevator. “Que piso?” They asked me. I replied, “Cinco.” Once inside, they asked, “eres inglesa..?” (are you english) “No, soy americana.” I answered. In one word they had determined that I was not one of them – HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE! Well, I realized I had made a fatal mistake – I should have said “thinko” (andalusian – all c’s, z’s and some s’s are pronounced as “th”) instead of “sinko.”
I came back to the apartment and found Emma in the kitchen. She asked how my exam went – which went pretty well for my first spanish exam (YAY!!) – and then I approached her with my question.
“Es obvio que no soy de aqui? Que soy americana?” (Is it obvious that I’m not from here, that i’m american?)
“Claro,” she answered and thought for a second. “tu aparencia – no. Pues… tu manera de hablar – si.” Apparently I don’t look like an American, but I definitely sound like one. Emma went on to repeat things I say in the way I say them – if her imitation is spot-on – I am mortified. :) However, the real reason I am different is because I speak like I am singing – but I speak that way in English, too. “Es como una cancion” she described it. (like a song) Too bad for the Spaniards and their boring speech habits.
I try so hard to adopt Spanish characteristics of speaking – dropping s’s, saying words that end in “ado” as “ao”, and I almost always use the “th” sound. I say things like “vale” (OK) and “claro” and I always said “gracia” (gracias) and “taluego” (hasta luego). And I am constantly frustrated that I don’t know more colloquialisms, especially all the millions of uses of the verbs “llevar” and “hacer”. (WHY didn’t I bring 500 Spanish Verbs with me!??!)
I know I’ll never be malaguena, and I don’t need to be. I wish I didn’t stick out quite so easily when I open my mouth, but I’ll never quit singing my words. :)
On the other hand, I don’t really care. I spend my days here and I don’t think it could get better.