Tuesday, March 2, 2010

A Day in the Life, Part Two - Spanish Lessons

One of our guys speaks fluent Spanish. He was born in Texas, but the rest of his family came to the United States from Mexico and they speak little English. We have a new weekend staff person who is a Spanish teacher at a local school, so the two of them have hit it off beautifully. However, now he wants to speak Spanish all the time and teach it to us.

This would be fine of course, if he didn't have a traumatic brain injury which puts some hindrances on the lessons.

The afternoon went a little something like this. We had a party to attend and were going to drop off Mr. I Have a New Hat and You Better Not Touch It at his workshop and then head to the party from there. The ten-minute trip from our house to the workshop was filled with conversation. Simultaneous conversation. New hat was asking to take me to dinner and asking for my phone number. He would then say "227" (he had to have had a 227 number at some point in his life because every phone number starts with 227 for him) "00444444499995. Got a pencil? Write this down, 227227227444444000, write it down, 227444002227227, write it down and call me, 227....." While this is going on, Mr. Bilingual is in the backseat saying, "I can count in Spanish, see, uno, dos, tres...." I am not lying or exaggerating to say that this went on the whole trip. I wanted to scream, "I don't need your phone number and you don't need mine. I live with you and therefore won't be calling. Plus you don't know how to use a phone." And then to turn around and say, "Yes, I know you know how to count in Spanish - it's your FIRST language." It's like me being proud that I can count in English, for pete's sake. But of course, I didn't. We just dropped "227" off at work and continued on to the party.

The whole way to the party (30 minutes), the Spanish continued. I was amazed at how much I remembered once he started talking. However, instead of just speaking back to me when I said something in Spanish, he would say, "That means blah blah blah in English." Like I didn't know what it meant and was just saying random words in Spanish and they just happened to make a sentence? Anyway, as we were driving I asked how to say "snow" in Spanish and he replied, "lluvia." Thinking that meant rain, I asked, well then what's the word for rain, and he relied, "lluvia." So I say, "well what's the difference between snow and rain?" And of course he responds with, "well rain is water that comes from the sky and snow is white and more frozen." And yes, I know I set myself up for that!

The party was a beach-themed party. Somebody asked how to say "beach" and he said "agua." I said, "isn't it playa?" And he says, "yeah, but there is a lot of agua at la playa." So thus far in my Spanish lesson I have learned the difference between rain and snow and that there is a lot of water at the beach. Woo hoo - goes to prove the old adage that we learn something new every day right?

This has nothing to do with the Spanish lesson, but just to give an idea of the other stuff going on. On the way to the party, we saw another van stopped in front of us and the driver was out looking around the road. I wondered aloud what he was doing and our client says, "He's probably looking for his contacts." Yep, that's it. I know my contacts fly out of my eyes and into the road ALL the time when I am driving.

Senor Spanish met a pretty lady at the party. He really can have a semi-intelligent conversation, but he gets flustered by pretty women. He introduced himself, says, "I do my laundry on Tuesday and Thursday. I take five showers a week. I go home to Kansas City with my brother on Sundays. I have two kids; they are 14 and 12." She was a little taken aback by the kids part. I just nodded and we walked on.

I got asked to be a judge for the hula contest at the beach party. Several of the clients we serve were excited to be in the contest. Imagine it now if you will. It was a group of women (and one man) in grass skirts doing the hula. It wasn't hard to judge. We just waited until there was only one left. Everybody else got distracted and wandered away. She was the hula winner, and didn't care at all that she kind of won by default.

I was so tired by the time we got home and looking forward to an evening off. Our weekend staff was coming early and I was going on a date with my husband. But that's another blog for another day. Check back tomorrow.

2 comments:

Lori at The Davidson Den said...

Does he really have two kids?????

Heather Terrell said...

Yes, he really does. Long story, but he essentially was leading a somewhat normal life and acquired an infectious disease that went to his neurological systems and caused brain damage (most closely related to a traumatic brain injury).