Saturday, April 22, 2006

Learn the Language

Jose commented to my blog about Customer Service and our the Cablevision company here in Mexico:

Que lastima que Uds. estan en Mexico pero no hablan la idioma, y continuan a ver television de gringolandia. Por que no lee un libro, o aprende espanol p'hablar con sus vecinos? O ellos son gringos tambien?

Basically he is saying that I should learn Spanish so I can watch the Spanish channels and I can speak to my neighbors. And then he asks if all my neighbors are Gringos too.

First of all I live in a Mexican neighborhood and my neighbors are Mexican with a few Gringos scattered around the Colonia. We didn't want to live in a totally Gringo community. Because we live in a Mexican neighborhood I have always seem to have something interesting to write about.....the differences in the culture are fascinating and you either are willing to go along with the Mexican way of doing things are you are unhappy living here. I love it and I hope I never lose my enthusiasm for seeing and living here in Mexico. Most of the time I have to laugh at my USA expectations of how things should be.

But the one thing that Jose is dead right on is, I should learn more Spanish. Ned's Spanish is pretty good. Mine is bad. I sound like an uneducated child speaking in the present tense and using lots of gestures. The kind Mexicans put up with it and figure out what I'm trying to say. If I listen to a conversation I can usually get the gist of the conversation but that loses so much of the meaning. But when they start to speak rapidly, I'm lost.

I'm living in Mexico and I should learn the language so that I can carry on a conversation where we can exchange ideas and opinions. With my old brain that is going to take time and a lot of effort but I'm feeling the need to do that more and more.

I've been told that watching the Mexican channels will help me learn Spanish. I'm sure this is true and I was surprised how much I understood when we were watching the World Series in Spanish. While we don't watch a lot of TV, I think that even if I become better with the Spanish, I'll still want to see some TV from the USA.

But Jose if you check in on the blog again and read this, doesn't that letter from the Manager of the Cable Company make you giggle when you compare the Mexican response to what would probably be the USA response? It is more honest, more down to earth, and not crafted by the legal department. I love it. Viva la diferencia!

And Jose, I promise, I'm going to start studying Spanish again.


Anonymous said...

Hola Senora Billie: It is hard to teach an old dog new tricks - now here I am referring to myself (not you). I try to learn Spanish - but I am slow at it and Anita speaks conversational Spanish so I rely on her (too much).

Personally I can't be pushed into the need based on being fair to my choice of living places. I keep reading about how important it is to speak the language as you live there and therefore must - not.

We don't have tv in either of our Mexico houses and frankly don't miss it - but we do have Sirius radio where we get plenty of English speaking noise in our house(s).

What if I were deaf or dumb or both - would I not really be welcome because I couldn't speak or understand language?

I think everyone should operate in whatever manner suits them - period IMHO

This is an issue in the states - if they want to live here they should speak the language. I have written in my Blog that there is a certain pleasant aspect to NOT speaking the language - it keeps friendships at a certain level of respect lacking the intimacy that often arouses problems between neighbors ;-)

I think if you want to learn a foreign language OK; if not ok too. To each his own and that is what freedon is all about.
Juan Calypso

jose said...

Muy bien billie. No tenga miedo, no es tan dificil aprender el espanol. If one crazy gringo can do it so can you.