Friday, February 12, 2010


This afternoon, Ashley, Laura and I went to my favorite café, the one in the picture, to catch up on some reading and some writing. We sat at a table next to a table with an old man and two young men. We realized quickly that the old man was American and he was tutoring the two young guys in English. He was explaining the 70s to them, with a discussion of racial tensions and the different movements of the time. After a while, the old man turned to us. He asked if we were American and said he could tell because of our accents and because of the excitement in our voices. He then asked if we would please explain the word "funky" to his students. Haha! Well, we explained, funky can be good or bad. Good, for example, in "This song is so funky, it makes me want to dance!" Or bad in "You smell funky..." We then felt compelled to explain that funky is an out-dated word, but is not uncommon to hear. I never thought so much about funky. It made me think more. There are so many nuances to language, it is seemingly impossible to be completely fluent in a language you did not grow up hearing. Not to be discouraging to myself and my goal to know the Spanish language, but there are just SO many variations and idioms in speech. Like the English word "pretty." First it's an adjective for cute, lovely, etc. But then there's the whole other world of pretty. "Pretty good" seems worse than good, while "pretty awesome" seems better than awesome. Not only am I thinking of Spanish all the time, but I am thinking about English more than I ever have as well. How many times do we use "get" or "got" in everyday speech? So many times. It's not a word we write with, but we say it all the time. I got that. Can I get you one? Last night got crazy! I get excited thinking about it. Get got get got... how does anyone learn these things?! 

Anyway, the old man's name is Ken. He is from Decatur, Georgia, where about 40% of my friends at school are from. He moved to Valencia 20 years ago and has not looked back since. He is apparently one of the best tutors in town. He asked us to cut in many times in his lesson, and we were happy to do so. We are invited back any time to speak Spanish and to speak English to others. 

We went out for tapas this afternoon with the group. I ate mejillones, papas bravas, chorizo, pimientos, aceitunes rellenos, and several other interesting bites. There was some black rice, apparently made with sheep's blood that tasted like something a goblet would want to eat. It was refreshing and much appreciated to get out in the city to eat! 

We met a bunch of people last night from Liverpool, Sydney, and Belgium. The guy from Liverpool had his master's in American history, interestingly enough. He knew all the president's in order and couldn't stop talking about the most recent election and the current political situation. It was great to hear his positive perspective of the United States. 

I am about to get dressed and go out on the town. It's pretty cold tonight, so hopefully the group will want to stay close. Un abrazo fuerte!

1 comment:

  1. Bravo! Love your musings on idioms, slang, and the way words start seeming weird if examined too closely.

    Glad to see you are getting to graze on tapas! Take notes...