>Hello, Poop lovers! Gringation here. I hope you enjoyed my teaser post on Friday. Today, I’m guest blogging! I’m kinda nervous because this is a first for me. I’m an American girl living the life in Cancun, Mexico. You can check out my blog here:
Right now, everything’s going great in my life. I’m engaged. I (kinda) fit right into the Mexican culture. I’m used to the heat. Life is good. It wasn’t always like this, though. I had to get used to a lot of things, some harder than others. The first hurdle I came across was the language.
When I first came to live in Cancun, I thought I had it all figured out. I spoke what I thought was fluent Spanish. (Seven years of Spanish in middle and high school is enough, right?) I had already been living as a missionary in Acapulco for 4 months. I was all set.
Obviously, I had no idea what I’d signed up for.
When I walked into my first day of college in Cancun, I had NO IDEA what was going on. The professors spoke so fast. If I ever got to the point where I understood what they were saying (generally), they would then ask me a question, and I’d have to ask them to repeat it. Multiple times. Talk about humiliation. I remember we had one teacher in particular who was hilarious. She would tell joke after joke after joke, and everyone would crack up laughing. Except me. Everyone looked forward to her class. Except me.
My Mexican classmates would always invite me to go out on weekends, and I’d go to bars, clubs, parties, etc. with them. This was torture. Everyone would be telling jokes, laughing, poking fun. I rarely understood what was being said. Speaking one-on-one in a second language is easy. The native-speaking person will slow down for you. They’ll eliminate most slang terms and speak more formally. My high school Spanish was enough when it was just one person. When Mexicans are in a group, this is not the case.
Thank God for my classmates. I asked them about every phrase, every reference. And they never lost patience. (Or at least they never let on.) Over the next few years, I learned every joke. Every nuance. Every double meaning. Every celebrity. Every cultural reference. Did I feel like a complete idiot? All the time. But the end result was worth it.
Five years later, I work as a translator for a large travel agency. I’m great at translating words. Say anything to me in Spanish, and I’ll find you the English equivalent… or at least the closest thing that exists. And vice versa. Many Mexicans can’t tell I’m American by the way I speak. (Sometimes my whiteness gives it away, but that’s another post.) Now, I’ve got it all figured out.