Across Continents

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The bill, stupid

Left brain, right brain. I can never remember. Whichever it is, I do struggle with languages. Not that I don’t try of course. But it’s definitely enthusiasm over ability. And quite a bit of smiling. Logically, and that’s more my thing, I should be able to do better. After all, met lots of people who speak English as a second language. And do so very well. I’d watched Julie, my guide and mentor here in the village, chat away with the Bulgarians. She’d moved here a few years ago and just got on with it. And, fair to say, like me, languages probably weren’t her thing at school. She’d shown me the art of the possible.

Time helps, provided you use that to immerse yourself into everyday life, learning to deal with the day-to-day challenges. Unfortunately, I’ve rarely been in a country for more than a few weeks, a month at the most. Turkey should be a bit different. Couple of months, maybe a bit more. And I’ve a decent phrase book to get me started. Much better than my small Eastern European one. Which did each one not very well, and skipped Serbian.

But South and Central America’s another matter. Spanish. For months. Reckon even I’ll become fairly proficient by the end. Myles, with whom I’d cycled from Sofia eastwards across Bulgaria, had spent some time living in South America and suggested it would be worth a month’s crash course, living with a Spanish speaking family. I’d liked the idea, and the costs sounded very reasonable.

But, for now, I was in Bulgaria. Julie had been helping me improve my pronunciation. ’Dobra den’ not ’Dobra dan’ for ’Good day’. But I’d steer clear of asking for the bill in a cafe. ’Smetka’ – ’The bill’ – can be easily mistaken for ’Smatka’ – ’Stupid’ – unless you’re very careful. Best left alone. Unless you want to say ’The bill, stupid’.

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One response to “The bill, stupid”

  1. Myles says:

    Im sure you could get round the world using just a big smile. Be memorised and inspired by how many languages the sales people of Istanbul can speak.

    http://www.celasmaya.edu.gt/ website for the Spanish school I studied at in Northern Guatamala (probably on your route) – Thoroughly recommend the school.

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