So then what did he actually say?
Today, a kid came into the teachers’ room asking for a ping-pong paddle. (There is a ping-pong table in the hallway that these children worship as a god) One of the teachers gave him a paddle, asking what I understood to be:
“what happened to the other one, did you eat it?”
I laughed, and judging by the looks that the teachers and the student gave me, that is not what he said.
Luckily for me, the teachers all kind of think I´m stupid, which at times can be annoying, but other times can be freeing. If I open my mouth and say something grammatically incorrect, or ask a stupid question, it´s generally excused by the fact that I´m a foreigner. Kind of the way you excuse a very young child for acting weird and chuckle at their linguistic mistakes. Oftentimes, I just start speaking without overthinking it, because I know it’s going to come out horribly, so why worry?
The teachers actually do a very hilarious thing when I talk, which is after I finish, they turn to one another and ask “did you understand that?” and usually none of them did, so they turn back to me and say “what?”. I don’t take offense, because they don’t mean it in an offensive way; I think it’s just a knee-jerk reaction to check to see if anyone else made sense of what I just said. And it’s so damn funny and so predictable that I can’t get mad.
And it’s not my problem, it’s theirs. The teachers I talk to all the time understand me very easily in Spanish. The ones who don’t understand me are the ones who normally don’t speak to me, or who are in too much of a hurry to actually listen to me and just ask “what” instead of thinking about it.
A lot of the reason they can’t understand me is because of my accent. I have a pretty heavy American accent when I speak Spanish which I can’t seem to lose. My biggest problem is my “r”s. In American English, we have really heavy r sounds (think about the r in the word American), and in Spanish they are very light, but I can’t lose my American r, so I sound ridiculous. Another problem is when a word ends in a vowel, I hit that vowel really hard. For instance “tengo” turns into “tengouw” when I say it.And I probably have other issues that I don’t even know about.
My friends here make fun of my accent a lot.
Sorry for the outrageously long posts. I don’t really talk to anyone all day.