So this one time in Costa Rica…
Yup, here we go otra vez. I made plenty of bloopers in the initial language learning phases, and some of these moments are simply tan buenos not to share again! (Here’s my first blog’s quick description of what transpired along with another funny student blooper.)
So here goes.
Learning a new language in an immersion experiencia required me to quickly master how to greet others in passing as I worked within a large school community. The “hellos” and “how are yous” became effortless after a while, but certainly not at first.
A usual greeting conversación on the way into school in the morning would go something like this:
“Hola, ¡buenos dias!”
“¡Buenos dias! ¿Cómo está?” (me answering in my then 10 word vocabulary)
“Muy bien, gracias a Dios.”
The thing is, I didn’t understand that culturally, many ticos thank God that they are doing well at the moment. In English, we don’t usually exchange a “glory to God” greeting, so my gringa brain didn’t even consider it as a possibility. (And this, mis amigos, is where cultural misunderstandings begin.)
I thought they were saying gracias and ADIOS.
I thought they were ending the conversation.
So I too would finish that conversation rápidamente by answering, “¡Adios!”
Let’s step back for just a moment and think about how that conversation would translate back into English.
“Hello, good morning!”
“Good morning! How are you?”
“I’m doing well, thanks to God.”
Talk about a sudden ending to the conversations! Yet this was exactly what I was doing. So. awkward. I did this for MONTHS before learning about my own awkwardness in these greeting situations.
Like I’ve mentioned before, this language learning process is so incredibly humbling, especially with repeated bloopers such as this one.