05 November 2009


I thought it was about time to share some of the embarrassing things I've said on accident in Spanish. We call those maldichos. They usually happen when the English word sounds really similar to a Spanish word that doesn't mean the same thing. For example, real in Spanish isn't real. Real means royal. So if i said, "Son estos pendientes plata real?" I would be saying are these earrings royal silver, not real silver. That would be a maldicho, although not a very humiliating one. So on with the embarrassing stories!

One night I was out with a group of people from all over the world, French, Spanish, Mexican, American, etc., and this guy named Pedro who lives with one of my friends came up and asked "Que tal?" Essentially that's like what's up in English. So I said, "Estoy buena," which directly translates as "I'm good." BUT this phrase means in Spanish "I'm good looking" or "I have a nice body." I meant to say, "Estoy bien." Needless to say, for the rest of the night anytime Pedro saw me he yelled "Estas buena" (You have a nice body) and laughed. I'm pretty sure my face was permanently red the entire night. 

Do you remember the lady I hitchhiked with Feli? Well Feli took us to the cathedral in her town and there was this statue, a pieta, which is a scene of Mary holding Jesus' dead body in her arms. I asked in Spanish if it was a pieta and she didn't understand me so I tried to explain what a pieta was in Spanish. I said it was where Mary was holding Jesus' body in her armas. Well unfortunately las armas means weapons not arms. Los brazos are arms!! I had asked if that was a statue of Mary holding Jesus in her weapons. Feli's face was priceless. She looked appalled as though I had insulted the Virgin Mary.  Then I emphatically insisted that I had meant brazos. She never really laughed, but I think she was less offended.

Finally earlier on the same trip, I was trying to explain what a scarecrow was. In Spanish, I said, you know it's a thing that looks like a human and stands in a field to prevent los aviones from landing in the farmer's fields. Well aviones are airplanes not birds. Once again the woman's face was utterly confused. Not offended, but certainly confounded. Then I had to flap my arms about and say los pajaros to clarify.

I always tell my roommates that every day in Spain is a little bit of shame, but I always learn from it. Well I'm heading to Lisbon, Portugal on Saturday so I'm sure I will have more to share soon!

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