lo que hice en mis vacaciones de invierno

post_officeConsidering that my command of both French and Spanish is at a grade-school level, it seems appropriate to report on my vacations to French and Spanish-speaking countries with elementary school-style essays. Today I bring you the second installment: DF and Elsewhere edition.

Please note that I did not consult Google Translate or a living, breathing Spanish speaker for this. So what follows is not pretty, but it’s an accurate representation of where I’m at when I have only my brain and Spanish spell-check to rely upon:

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He llegado por la tarde en Cuidad de México (DF) y he ido a mi hotel en el barrio Condesa. La primera noche, he conocido a mi amiga de la universidad que vive ahora en DF. En el restaurante ella me dijo que puedo beber el agua además comer los vegetales frescos, si es un bueno restaurante, porque ellos anudan ‘iodine’ a su agua y limpian todo con este agua. Aunque el más importante reglo que he escuchado para México estaba de no beber el agua, decidí de crear en mi amiga y esperar por lo mejor. O sea que la primera cosa que he comido en México estaba la más prohibida: unos hojas de una verdura con agua no-de-la-botella (no-botellado?). Continue reading

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adios, amigos!

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It’s 1:57 a.m. and I have to leave for the airport at 5:05. Part of the reason I’m still awake is that tomorrow today is the last day of my Spanish class, during which there will be a final exam. Because I won’t be there, my teacher provided me with instructions for taking the exam online on some special site. So in addition to my usual last-minute million things to do, tonight before packing I took a 1 1/2 hour Spanish test.

Which I failed miserably. Not because I did badly per se, but because something went horribly wrong when the timer ran out on Part One while I was still typing, which somehow triggered the entire exam to submit itself without giving me a chance to move on to the more heavily weighted second essay. And apparently once the exam is submitted, there’s no way to reverse course and continue working on it.

The submission confirmation page showed me what the second essay question was,  so I typed something up in Word and emailed it to my teacher, along with a little note beseeching her to show me mercy.* Since I’ll barely have Internet access during my trip, I won’t actually know whether she did or not til I return from what will be the true test of my Spanish skills.

…In approximately twelve hours I’ll be in Mexico City, trying desperately to be understood. And wishing desperately for a nap.

Back in a couple of weeks. Hasta luego!

[Photo: Eneas De Troya]

*I care about my grade not because of pride or perfectionism but because if I don’t pass the test, I don’t pass Level 3 Spanish, and I can’t move on to Level 4 if I ever come back to work here after my current contract ends.

setbacks

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Setback one: After spending day after day checking airfare alerts for the best deals (and there were many: $525 to Seoul, $400 to Hong Kong, $330 to Paris, $275 to Martinique), I ended up buying two decidedly non-deal tickets to the two places I wanted to go to most: Mexico City and, erm, somewhere else nearby.

I leave next Thursday. Last Wednesday, I ran too far in my newish running shoes that just don’t fit very well, and I’ve been increasingly hobbled by my big toe since then. While the day after the run it merely ached, today it is so bad that I’m limping around wondering if I might have somehow broken my toe simply by running on it.

I had planned to spend the entirety of my vacation wandering aimlessly around the streets of the cities I’m visiting, as is my wont, but now I’ll be lucky if I can even step into and out of the taxis and buses I will be relying upon to haul me around. Panicked! Calling a doctor tomorrow…

Setback two: It’s time to register for my next semester of Spanish at work. In order to do that, I need to submit an updated letter from HR saying that I’m expected to be contracted through the end of the course. Problem is, in the pursuit of this letter I found out that my contract will almost certainly not be extended past December 31.

I’ve been at this job long enough to know that anything is possible, including that my contract will be miraculously renewed month by month until April 19, at which point I’ll have filled the post for the full year that it is allowed to be held by a temp. Even if that happens though, what’s fairly certain is that I won’t be able to take a free Spanish class next semester.

Nadie va a escribime la carta, y sin lo [la?? ella??], no puedo tomar el clase. I wrote that without the help of Google Translate! This class has taught me so much, it’s the highlight of my Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and I’m so, so sad that I won’t be able to continue with it in the new year.