Diary & Writing

Language difficulties or ‘No hablo español’

Nadja Ebner

9 Oct 17 · 3 min read

After a memorable night of sober car sleeping, we drove to the nearest petrol station, where we ordered some coffee and donuts for kids. Nobody understood English. Uh-oh, I think we are in trouble.

I felt like a moron, standing in front that Spanish temperament that shined from dark woman’s eyes. She didn’t care a bit if I don’t understand her. She continued to talk with continuous Spanish wave of words. When she finished, she looked at me, and I was there like a deaf-mute, not able to respond. At that moment, I had the pleasure to experience toddlers world once more: I was communicating with pointing a finger and strange throaty sound.

Later on, I realized that not knowing Spanish it’s not an obstacle only when ordering coffee, but even more in trying to find a flat. And with a flat, I don’t talk about fancy villas for rich tourist. I want a simple flat. You know, with broken flushing system and leaking roof — that kind of a thing. Not because I have some weird wishes, but because of a tight budget.

“Can we go swimming, mommy?”

So, after the morning coffee, which was deliciously hot, we started our road trip around the island. I still pictured myself like: ‘I came, I saw, I conquered.’ I’ll see the right place, and we’ll find an apartment there. No problem, right. Well… There are touristic apartments everywhere. And where there are not, we only heard: “No hablo ingles!” or “I don’t know.”

Puerto de la Cruz

We manage to get from El Medano through Santa Cruz, to Puerto de la Cruz and all the way the winding road to Los Gigantes. There we finally throw ourselves into the sea. Kids were already fed up with my ‘just a bit longer’ while looking for a great place (to live, to swim, etc.) After talking to barman’s and boat offerers, after a phone call with some English speaking landlord, all without a positive outcome, I realized I wouldn’t find a great place. I won’t find it because I didn’t know what I am looking for. I needed to say: “This place right here is great because I decided it is!”

I needed to change my perspective. I needed to stop and appreciate the given. I had to stop searching and start doing. So we jumped into a natural pool in Puerto de Santiago, and it felt — yes, you guessed it: GREAT! When we dried up and put food in our bellies, we changed our tactics. I agreed to use Airbnb. There we found an astonishing apartment: cozy, clean, big, beautiful. I was exceedingly happy standing inside of it. I even forgot the price I otherwise wouldn’t accept. We’ll manage. We always do.

We’ll manage. We always do.
Edited: 4 years ago by Nadja Ebner

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