On not being brave and speaking Spanish

I really will get around to finishing the story of my Brisbane trip one day soon, I just haven’t had time since I got back. For some reason, I’d thought that term started two weeks after I got back, which was crucial, because I knew the first week back at work would be flat out (as it always is when you go away for more than a few days – no matter how much you try to clear your desk before you leave, you always come back to find a huge amount of work has accumulated in your absence), so I was counting on having that extra week to get up to speed again with Spanish before classes started (and I especially need to get up to speed, because unlike most of my classmates, who took the first part of the course last semester, I’ve had a year’s break in between (for various complicated reasons), so I’ve totally forgotten everything). Anyway, it turned out I was wrong about the two weeks – it was only one week, so instead of having the luxury of using my spare moments at work to go over last year’s notes, there were no spare moments (I didn’t even manage to get a lunch-break for most of last week). Which left the evenings (when I was too tired to do much anyway, because I’d been so busy all day) and the weekend. So all plans of using the weekend to catch up on my diary were abandoned in favour of trying to cram the minimum of vocabularly and grammar into my head so that I wasn’t totally lost when I got to the first class on Monday. I was only partially successful, so I think this weekend will be again dedicated to study…

In the meantime, I had (and totally chickened out of!) the opportunity of actually using some Spanish last night at our TGFKAM. A new member who came along, sandrabejarano, is Mexican, so I *should* have been able to practice my Spanish conversation. I chickened out after “Hola”, though – I just couldn’t remember enough 🙁 But she said she’ll be back for the September TGFKAM (she’s going back to Mexico for a holiday next month), so I promised her I’d be brave enough (and have learnt enough!) to speak to her properly in Spanish next time 🙂

Otherwise, the usual crowd were there: Cathietay, daveytay, non-fiction, lytteltonwitch, natecull, awhina, and meerkitten.

I didn’t take many books along last night – I released most of my available books in Brisbane, so I need to get some more read (and unfortunately I’m struggling my way through some bookring books at the moment (in the very little time I’ve had for reading), so there’s not been a lot of opportunity to convert TBR books to “to be released”). I did return the convention journal (which had done the rounds of Fort Worth and Brisbane) to Cathietay, and brought along a couple of hardcovers that had been left languishing in the bottom of my to-be-released box because they were too heavy to pack: Sue’s Circus Horse by Judith M Berrisford and Great Cat Tales, plus Dragon Sun by Michael Ely, which mecka-antics had released on campus that morning, and I’d picked up to take to the meetup when I saw it still sitting there later in the day (I also picked up one he’d released for myself: Billy by Pamela Stephenson). I’d had good intentions of not bringing any books home with me (Mt. TBR does NOT need increasing!), but lytteltonwitch had finally remembered to bring along The Four Just Men by Edgar Wallace (not a book I particularly want to read for itself, but it’s one that boreal passed on to me in Dunedin, which is special because it came (sort of) from heather, one of the Bookcrossing founders), and then In Your Dreams by Charlie Ross was left lying on the table looking lonely at the end of the evening, so I took pity on it…

A couple of nice catches recently: Abba: The Lovers Whose Music Conquered the World by Harry Edgington and Peter Himmelstrand, which I released in Wellington two years ago, which was caught by someone who wasn’t very impressed by the book, but at least seems to appreciate the idea of Bookcrossing; and Baby and All by Candace Camp et al, which I released in Dunedin and from the sound of things seriously improved someone’s day (which is the best bit of Bookcrossing, really).

Currently reading: Seduced by Moonlight by Laurell K. Hamilton

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  1. Your Spanish story made me grin because I was in a similar circumstance back in college when I was working at a fast food restaurant. One day an old man and a young girl (his granddaughter, I think) came in. As he was ordering, he turned to her and said something in French. She replied back to him in the same language. So I said in French that I had taken some classes and could speak a little. The girl’s face completely lit up, and she started rattling off some sentences in French that completely lost me. I apologized and said I didn’t speak THAT much French and chickened out on speaking any more of it.

    The only problem was that after that, for about a week, they came in for lunch every day. It got to the point where I had a nightmare about it. I dreamed I saw them coming into the restaurant, and I started to run back toward the kitchen, but my supervisor tripped me. "You have to speak to the French people!" she said, as they came closer, and closer….


  2. I’m a huge coward about that sort of thing. The secret (for me, and with French) is alcohol 🙂 A glass or two of vin, and I no longer notice the pointing and laughing.

    No use when you’re trying to work, of course.

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