Friday, October 2, 2009

Language "Barrier"

I drank the Berlitz Kool Aid.  I believed that if I applied myself for 2 and a half hours a day, twice a week, for 4 months this past Spring, that I would be passably fluent in Spanish by the time we moved here.  Chip figured he'd just absorb the language when we arrived.

We've been here almost 2 months and are just now becoming proficient at stating our address to cab drivers. (We do have a tough address.)  We hid in our apartment for a few weeks after realizing how dire the situation was, venturing out only with the help of our interpreter.  Unfortunately, she has a life and refuses to accompany us 24/7, so now we're out there on our own sometimes.

Bravely, Chip walks to the "la farmacia" in search of Advil.  No such thing, so he tries the generic name of Ibuprofin.  He even throws in a little spanish accent for good measure.  The lady behind the counter finally seems to understand and puts a small white box on the counter.  Chip looks down and tries to tell her that he wants the giant size bottle.  "Mas grande -- mas, mas grande!" Holding his hands wide apart, he indicates the huge economy size bottle he's looking for.  She's embarrassed for him and gives him a quizzical look.  She stares directly at his torso, before going behind the counter to retrieve another box of the same size.  Chip recognizes the "XL" on the new box, picks it up, and realizes for the first time that she's given him a box of condoms.

In this country, famous for its Latin lovers, does he admit, he really didn't need want the XL box of condoms and then try for the Advil, or does he take the XL's and go elsewhere in search of pain medication?

4 comments:

Tay said...

He didn't??

Nathalie said...

Ibuprofeno. It comes in fizzy, flavored packets for mixing with water! Tylenol is paracetamol...

Anonymous said...

Of course you go some place else to get the Advil!

(from one guy who swears he needs an XL)

Sissy said...

ADVIL! Don't they have all those codeine altered versions of painkiller in the FAMARCIA that you beg your traveling friends to bring home tucked in their socks? I have had some of my best luck with my Spanish navigating that counter, the gateway to the hangover remedies and stomach issues that the FDA keeps out of our reach. Experiment!