Lost in Translation

Online blog of life in Barcelona for a English guy making a life for himself out here and trying desperately to have a good time, become fluent in Spanish, and most of all - not be constantly mistaken for a tourist!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

First day nerves

Oh my God, how crazy is it being here! I love it but I’m absolutely exhausted! OK, my heads in bits but I want to get this down in writing soon in case I start to forget things, so here goes…First, the flat. I’ve totally landed on my feet with it as it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s in an old building in Eixample near to the Hospital. Actually, that’s one down side as we have the intermittent sound of ambulances (presumably rushing to casualty the constant stream of tourists who’ve made the mistake of trying to cross the streets of the never-ending grid system!). The interior is gorgeous though, and I have plenty of extras to help make it super-comfortable for me – aircon, balcony, humongous wardrobes, comfy bed, satellite TV etc). My flatmate is lovely, and is keen to improve his English even though it’s near word-perfect (some people make me sick! hehe) so we spent last night chatting in mainly English. Tonight we’ll split the language chores a bit more 50/50, as I desperately need the practice with someone patient.My first day in the office has left me worn out! I had a lovely welcome (I handed out posh chocolates that I’d brought from home for them, and they oooed and arrrr’d, which was nice). I wasn’t ready for how hard it is to deal in a foreign language full-time from a standing-start! Everyone kind of quickly realised that the “stand around the new guy and listen to how funny he speaks” approach, probably wasn’t going to tempt my brain into constructing the most impressive sentences possible, so we all kind of broke up and little conversations sprang up bit with individuals etc which was much better. When I returned from lunch, one of the girls was alone in the office, so I closed in on her like a velociraptor and we sat down together and had a really good chat about anything and everything, so I’d say that was my highlight of the day. Of course, my half of the conversation was made up of half-finished sentences and random verb constructions never before seen in the Spanish-speaking world, but she was really patient and we both got our points across more or less, which is all I could wish for at this stage. Hardest thing so far by a mile, is simply being outside of my language comfort zone, and therefore not being able to reply with quick answers. People would say something that I kind of understood, and I could potentially have given a perfect answer to, if only I could gather the Spanish words in my mind in time. But no, instead it was blank looks all round, a feeling of total inadequacy inside me, and lots of bueno…pues… etc etc. (Even more than what could be considered normal!). Nothing prepares you for the feeling of total uselessness when your mouth opens….. but nothing remotely suitable comes out! I don’t know if I’m the type of person who feels the pain more, but it’s absolute torture, so I guess I must be. hehe. Tonight has been declared a shopping night, so I’m off to the supermarket now to try to work my way through all the different product brands etc and actually come home with some ingredients that can actually make a meal of some kind. More shortly….


Post a Comment

<< Home