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This Phoenix Speaks

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Who Knew?

Who Knew? OR Pizza, Spanish, and Me

Source: None via Shelly on Pinterest

The other day, I was picking up some pizza at the local Villa Pizza. No big deal, right? Well, the difference this day was I had just got out of my Spanish class right before arriving to get said pizzas. And I had coupons, but that is an entirely different conversation. So anyways, I get there and ask them if I can pay before the pizzas are finished (I had called the order in ahead of time). I know I was speaking English at that point in time because I do NOT have skills for just spouting off long requests, although what followed afterward is another story indeed.

Getting ready to pay, I gave the cashier my coupons. Then, he asked his co-worker, in Spanish, how to ring up the order with coupons and so forth. The cashier guy must have been in Spanish-mode after his tutorial because he told me the total in Spanish, but instead of me saying, huh?, I handed him my debit card and he gave me the receipt and I said Gracias. I said gracias!? and then thought to myself holy cow! girl, you just spoke Spanish in public to strangers!

This would not be any big deal really except for the fact that I have this debilitating fear of speaking Spanish. It's like I speak so much English (it pours out of me by the gallon) that there is no more brain activity left for courageous speaking in any other language --or something along those lines.

With that (gracias) said, the pizza guys gave me a double-take and proceeded to ONLY speak Spanish to me the rest of the time. The conversation only necessitated that I say por favor-s, gracias-es, and -s, but I can hardly believe what I was able to achieve with my limited proficiency. Just by knowing how to say please, thank you, and yes in another language, I received parmesan cheese, paper plates (fancy Villa Pizza logo ones at that), and the pizzas got sliced into 12 slices instead of 8. Oh yeah, I also had to say doce or twelve. 

Outside of my fear to speak, the speaking part was quite simple due to using one-word replies. But, the comprehension part was tricky. I am proud to announce that I never said no hablo español. Instead, I worked hard to understand and he only had to repeat himself 2 or 3 times for the number of slices to be sliced and concerning the plates. Amazing or what? I say-- amazing. I am proud of myself for being able to understand well enough and be brave enough to reply.

I must give thanks to my Spanish teachers: Paquita Elder and Ernesto Gonzalez for their undying patience with my fear and sometimes inability to speak in Spanish due to lack of working vocabulary. What comes out of my boca, typically, is one form or another of Spanglish, yet they are encouraging and helpful. I also give thanks to all the kind and patient girls forced to listen to and bear with my most excellent Spanglish skills. 

Because of these fine individuals' love and care, I might just figure this Spanish stuff out! Well, and by investing in more study and practice time. 

Who knew I could do so much with seemingly so little? I think my teachers and friends have always known or at least had that hope for me. 
Muchas gracias por todos mis amigas y maestros! I couldn't do it without you.


  1. Wow! Good job! That's quite an accomplishment! I took 2 years of Spanish, but sadly, I can hardly remember any of it. I still remember some of the basics, but that's about it.

  2. ¡Muy bien!It's strange how scary it can be to let a foreign language escape your lips and how embarrassing it can be when people clearly don't understand what you're saying, but it feels AWESOME when it goes right, doesn't it? The best part is, you're beginning to think in Spanish--it's why you answered with "gracias." Soon, all of the trepidation will leave you and you'll be talking in Spanish just as much as you do in English. Way to go!


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