• Joanna

Too Early to Speak Spanish

As I wrote this, I was sitting in the Quito Airport, awaiting boarding information for my flight to Guayaquil.  I have to admit that I was more than a little bit nervous.

I kept zipping in to the bathroom to have one more look at my red nose, my bloated cheeks, my wrinkles and my dry, fluffy hair.  God... what an impression I will make.

The last time that these people saw me, I was 19... 

I’ve aged… I should have stopped smoking years ago. I should have started back at the gym in September, like I'd planned.  Why did I cancel my hair appointment before I left?  I'm at a loss. My insecurities are going in to over drive... Ok... tranquility...

Last night I was on the WhatsUp app with Mari (my host sister) and I asked the big question,

“Who’s coming to the airport to meet me?”


From what I recall, families here have a tendency to meet and greet in droves.  I had to mentally prepare myself.  I had to be ready for the flood gates to open.

Much to my delight though, she told me that it was just going to be herself, Mami and her daughter, Krystel. Bueno. I could cope with that. She also 'reminded' me that she has a 'brave' dog.

"Brave?"

Like... the building is on fire and the dog runs in to save the babies - brave? No.  Not really.  Perhaps 'brave' isn't exactly the word that we are looking for here.  In fact, I think that these words might be more suitable;

  • Aggressive

  • Hostile

  • Mean

  • Untrained

Apparently she rescued him from the streets after the earthquake hit Ecuador and he's very 'protective.'  She has assured me that he will be kept in the back room the entire time I am here, for fear that he'll attack me. If you ask me, nothing says "Welcome to my House" like the fear of an aggressive animal. Wouldn't be a holiday without it.

Anyway, I caught a taxi from the hostel at 8am.

While I was waiting, I tried to buy a bottled water.

No change for a $10…


The one thing about here that astounds me is that no one ever has change!  It’s a thing. A real thing.  It wasn’t like I was paying with a $50… it was a $10.


The taxi drive was slightly infuriating, although kind.  I shouldn't be so mean, I was just cranky...

He just kept talking & talking & talking.  

Now… seriously, my Spanish isn’t THAT bad.  I can get by.

But it was early, I had hardly slept and I was really not in the mood to discuss how many hills there are in Canada, if I like the cold weather, what kind of a car I drive… etc etc...


There are moments in life, where I firmly believe that silence is bliss.

Massages… dental hygienist visits… taxi rides in foreign countries when it’s too early to think...

Now on the flip side of this… I am confident that my Spanish is coming back, bit by bit.  If I am confused by something, I find out the word and it’s locked in!(maybe... hopefully... sometimes.). Or... slightly easier... if I don’t know a word, I often find myself saying it in English, but with a thick Spanish accent.


I have noticed that I do have my usual expressions that I use more often than not, that almost make me sound & feel fluent… "hip"... 

  • Que t’al?

  • Claro

  • Bueno

  • Si

  • Perdoname

They’re getting old though… I need to come up with some new ones.


OH God… I was getting more and more nervous by the moment.  All I was hearing over the loud speaker was:


"Attention Passengers- Flight A blah blah blah... is now boarding to Guayaquil and San Cristobal - please have your passport ready."


That is MY flight... exactly.  So confused.  I was pretty sure that the board said that my departure gate was A5... but everyone was lining up at A6.  Maybe they changed it last minute.  Who was I to complain or judge?


Got my ass up, got in line… off I go!

Standing in line- thinking 'this is it'… I’m on my way to see my family… and of course, if any of you know me, I started to swell up with tears.  It was going to be such an emotional moment... after all these years.  Standing in line to board my flight, tears have started to stream down my cheeks... thoughts of the reunion ahead of me, flooding my mind.  Where were the reality TV crews when I needed them?  This was going to be a BIG moment.

Big.


Huge.

But... almost immediately, I'm snapped out of sentimental delusion, as a very loud siren goes off, indicating that I’m attempting to board the wrong flight.  The attendant looked at my pass and pointed over to the A5 departure gate; 

"You board there."


Stop your blubbering, idiot. Wrong flight.

Back to my seat, tail between my legs. I KNEW it was A5... Errrr....

We boarded next.

When choosing my seat, I actually thought I was playing it smart and picking at the front of the plane… but the jokers tricked me by turning the seating map around.  So I am actually in the VERY back on the plane, shoved in the corner… which means I am the last off.


That can be a good or bad thing.


I look at it like this; If you are first off… more anxiety watching your bag never come down the carrousel.  Sends me in to panic most every single time.  My bag has never been first off…

But... if you're last off… you run more of a risk of someone stealing your bag.  "This one has been making the rounds a few times, grab it!"

If you really think about it though, if I was a luggage thief, I would probably opt for designer set… and not the dirty hippy backpack.  NOT… that I’m a hippy.  Just thinking realistically and stereotypically. Off to Guayaquil... :-)

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