Thursday, April 7, 2011

Soy una una

Okay, let me explain:
The morning after Flag Day I was told to report to the Spanish language department for a quick evaluation of my Spanish skills as my assignment requires a 2/2 proficiency. That means that on a scale of 0 (can't say "hola") to 5 (native well-educated speaker), I need to be speaking (first number) and reading (second number) at a 2/2 level. I had been estimating that I'd be about a 1+ or 2 on this scale. That was on Tuesday.

On Wednesday morning, after a quick conversation with a few  native speakers wherein the conversation stayed along the lines of "I come from Washington. I have have husband. Before, I work in police department in office. I have three cats. No, hahaha, they are not kittens; they are big cats," I was officially downgraded to a 1. We didn't even try the reading portion. Actually, the woman was kind and said that a 1 indicated that I was socially conversational, made grammar errors and could understand most (my emphasis added) of what was said. Okay - that is an accurate assessment.

So, I report back to my orientation class and during our break, I chat with some classmates who are excellent or native Spanish speakers and tell them my news: "Soy una una." Direct translation (in MY head) "I am a one." They looked at each other and tried not to laugh at me. No, no, we wouldn't say it that way. No - really, that doesn't make any sense at all; you should say it like this... and frankly in my embarassment, I've forgotten what else they said.

I am now signed up for 12 weeks of Spanish training aimed at bringing this una to a dos.

Flash forward a week and I'm in my apartment after work when there's a knock on the door. It's Delmi, the El Salvadorean housekeeper. She asked if she could come in (in English) and noticing her accent and her name, I invited her in and asked if she spoke Spanish, which of course she does. What a good chance to practice! I gave her my usual preface of "sorry, but I only speak a little Spanish" so as not to encourage her too far.  

The rest of the conversation - to my understanding - went like this:

Blah blah blah excuse me, too much work today blah blah towels? Blah blah blah you want me to clean the blah blah? Two or three bags? Blah blah blah pass the vacuum? Blah blah. Have a nice evening.

My mind went like this:

For God's sake woman - slow down, SOY UNA UNA!!

I'm not sure that 12 weeks is going to be bastante!

4 comments:

  1. HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    Yo soy una una. HAHAHA!!! That was cute.

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  2. PS: I actually read and write Spanish better than I speak it, so I'm surprised they didn't even have you try the reading part.

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  3. That was funny - hope you get a 2/2 after 12 weeks!

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