So I'm in Mexico City doing some research on my favorite chocolate candy, you must know what that is by now...
The research is going great, but what hasn't been is my Spanish. I started taking Spanish in Junior High, for goodness sakes. Took it all throughout high school, then even a pretty advanced class in college. To top it off, I spent an entire month in Barcelona, and I had gotten to the point where I could argue with folks on the phone in Spanish. That's when I knew I knew the language.
Just a mere 8 years later, my linguistic prowess has completely fallen apart. Granted, I haven't been confident in my ability, so I've been mumbling something incoherent, which causes the other person to freak out to get someone who can speak to the Gringo over there.
But even before that, I've been appalled at myself. This morning, after 8 hours in the country, most of it experienced while sleeping, I roamed around the hotel and kept saying, "Good Morning," and "Excuse me," everything in English. I was disappointed that I was so ethnocentric that it didn't even occur to me to pull out the "Buenos Dias" and "Pardon"s. I mean, when I see a whole bunch of Japanese tourists roaming around the States, they don't say, "Konnichiwa" to me, they say, "Hello" and smile.
So throughout the day, I've been getting my groove on. The guy at the front desk isn't nearly as scared of me as he was at the beginning of the day. He knows I'm trying, and I can see he appreciates it. Either that, or he's laughing at me. Either way, I figure that by the time I leave, I'll be able to tell someone that I don't agree on the phone, and that's good enough for me.