Friday, April 15, 2011

Day 2 - out on the town & the language overload

Originally written April 10, 2011

Finally, an adventure that had nothing to do with the family.  After wasting most of a beautiful day away inside the apartment, I stepped out into the Barcelona evening to meet up with a friend from Los Angeles who now lives in the El Born neighborhood of BCN.  
The transition here is a difficult one.  And Peter has extended the magnanimous offer of translating the whole backwards lifestyle into American for me. For instance, when I was trying to figure out what type of cell phone plan to go on to - he simply put it this way:  remember the phone plans of the 1990’s? right.  Stick to the pay-as-you-go cards.  
As we traced our path through the labyrinthine streets of the Barri Gothic - passing some old Roman walls that opened onto plazas with outdoor dining patios - I recognized areas I’d been to before.  This is all being done without a map, of course. In my brilliant planning, I’d left all the unnecessary baggage at home - including maps of the city… now I’m trying to negotiate everything by just figuring it all out.  
Speaking of figuring it out… how am I ever gonna master Spanish Castiliano?  When signage everywhere is written in Catalan - which i can decipher because I know French. So I’m understanding the language when written - but in conversation, I’m completely lost.  My family speaks French at home… I’m trying to practice Spanish, but always fall back into French… then when I realize that I’ve just switched languages (again) - I start cursing myself out in English.  Yet out on the street, I’m seeing a complete blend/hybrid of a language that I’ve never learned… I’m so lost I almost shut down!  At least if I was in Greece, I’d know it was all Greek, and have to focus on just one language, right?  Looking on the bright side, at least I can communicate, right?

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