“Hola,” a guy greeted me as we strolled by his restaurant along the promenade.
After I acknowledged him, as we walked on my wife shook her head. “In these places [Italy, France, and now Spain], they don’t know what to make of you,” she smiled. “You look like you belong here and they talk to you like you do. But you definitely don’t.”
“That Mediterranean heritage of mine…” I joked.
“No one talks to me like that,” she came back. “I [freckled, red head] definitely don’t look like a local.”
The Good Friday Mass we attended yesterday, the first Mass I’d ever been to here in Spain, was almost completely in Spanish. The only exception was when the Priest – a young-middle-age Spaniard who could’ve been the handsome priest in some telenovela – noted in English as well as in Spanish that the day’s collections were entirely for the Holy Land.
Given this general area that’s full of English-speaking expats and tourists, his use of English momentarily was no shock. (My wife was convinced two older women in front of us were English.) However also knowing what is going on in Mass generally does help with following the language, of course. My Spanish is ancient (from many years ago in school, and a couple of years of university), and I’m finding I can read quite a bit, but I catch spoken words only in flashes. (Extended sentences really throw me.)
Afterward, as we meandered back to our friends’ holiday apartment, my wife teased me: “We have to get you a ‘European’ man bag, like that guy had near us [in church].”
“Not the guy in front of me?” I questioned her. [He was a bit, uh, “odd”-looking.] “The normal-looking guy next to you, I saw he had one.”
“Yeh, him,” she chuckled. “The one who couldn’t keep his hands off the woman he was with.”
In Good Friday Mass.
Viva españa 🙂