10 October 2015

I Couldn’t Even Begin To Think About Knowing How To Answer That Question

Sometimes in Costa Rica things don’t go precisely as planned -- image that . . . and there’s simply no reasonable explanation. Sometimes it's merely a mildly puzzling phenomenon. For instance, who can say what prompted Rusty to prepare a delicious chicken Parmesan and then clean the kitchen, too? Now I know better than to say anything other than thank you, sweetie . . . as opposed to why tonight . . . what have you done to the cat, how many new tools have you purchased, or what have you done to destroy my laptop this time?

More puzzling, and most irritating to our workers, is what prompted Jill The Pill to walk on the just-poured cement? Especially since the dog has shown no prior interest in any wet concrete at the new chochera. And who can say why my Key lime pie turned out so well? No I’m not certain that the pie isn’t sweet-butter-topped instead of whipped-cream-topped; but regardless of topping, it’s delicious. We’ll discuss its recipe elsewhere. Anyway, some of these these little oddities can really get me goin'.

So back to the unexplainable. Rusty and I had Spanish class today. Little did I know that Rusty took Spanish in high school. I knew that the man attended a year of college in France . . . came home to sweep me off my feet with his French (though we’ll not mention the French-speaking girlfriends from that year abroad). So, darling, don’t tell me that you have no experience with a foreign language. I’m not buying it.

This was my second Spanish class here in Samara . . . Rusty’s first. I took several semesters of Spanish here and there during my college days. Whether I ever completed a course is a bit blurry. What's clear is that I retained little. But being a Latin-based language, Spanish isn’t too different from French (it’s really not); so I have a bit of a head start . . . and so should Rusty (remember his university year abroad). 
Yesterday Rusty deigned to review the Spanish homework and vocabulary pages that I brought home from my first class. I felt as if I was pulling teeth to get the man to review a page of vocabulary, two verbs (conjugated), and a list of helpful idioms. Rusty would say otherwise, but believe you me, he really didn’t want to study Spanish. Or perhaps, inexplicably, he simply didn’t want to study with me . . . and I won’t try to over-analyze that . . . any further . . . again. But if anyone out there can figure out that issue, bring it.

So we got to the Spanish terms describing weather, hace buena tiempo, for example; and Rusty begins to bluster about the crazy use of the verb to do/to make when it comes to weather . . . why isn’t it Esta uno bueno dia? he demanded. And why is it Usted tiene vergüenza and Yo tengo sed (literally, I have thirst)? Why isn’t it Estoy sed (I’m thirsty), Rusty asks? 

We’ll I don’t know, my precious pet  . . . why is it il fait du vent in French, j’ai faim, et tu n’a pas de raison (you’re so wrong that I'm stunned, so just get the #%@* over it. . . okay, that's a close translation. Consider ‘em idioms, dearest. And you try explaining to a non-native-English speaker the following:
  • Sweep you off your feet
  • I’m not buying that
  • It was like pulling teeth
  • Beat around the bush
  • Costs and arm and a leg
  • A far cry from
  • Feeling a bit under the weather
  • Heard in through the grapevine
We arrived at Spanish class and all of Rusty's horsey attitude vanished. Evidently you can lead a horse to water and teach the horse to accept an idiom. 

We found our pals Roy and Peter in town after class. Peter's an expert in Spanish; so we invited them home to show-off our new Spanish verbs. They weren't at all interested in Spanish (though very tolerant). They were curious about the butter-topped pie made from whipped-cream-turned-to-butter. And so I demonstrated my less-than-five-minutes-from-cream-to-butter production. Science in the kitchen. Why does it work? I couldn't even begin to think about knowing how to answer that question. Lo Que Hay.