This story, now that I think about it, happened a long time ago. I say that because it was for my son’s 4th birthday party and he just turned 10 this past Tuesday. So, this story is six years old! You seem the type that likes old stories, though, so I’ll go on with it.
It starts with my attendance at a baby shower. Not being one to ever turn down cake anywhere, I had a slice of the baby shower cake. I can only describe it in two words: De and Licious. So, I asked the mom-to-be where she got the cake. She told me that the lady that helps her out around the house and with her other child bought it for her. The sweet lady told me where she got the cake. Much to my surprise, it was a tres leches cake. I had eaten those before, but never all decorated like a “regular” cake. Most of the time, I had seen it decorated with a few strawberries on top.
I had to get that cake for my son’s birthday party.
The party’s theme was to be golf. We were having his party at a little driving range with a putt-putt course in front of it. I was so excited to get his cake all decorated with golf stuff from the place that made the tres leches cake at that baby shower. Think about what everyone would say! “Ohhh, this CAKE! I just LOVE this CAKE!” “You should’ve been at that party Kelley threw for her son. The CAKE!” Celebrity status would be reached in no time. The nanny told me where I could find it. It was a little ways from my house, but I thought it was worth the drive.
So, I went.
Clangy-clangy-clangy went the bell on the top of the door as I stepped inside the bakery. It was a bakery full of wonderful-looking yummy things. There were cases lining the walls of pan de huevos, which I had eaten before. Egg bread, basically, but decorated with really good frosting. The bakery looked like it had been plucked right out of Mexico, which is to say that all of the stuff in there looked fresh and really, really good. This was the perfect place to get my cake.
Only, there was one problem.
No one spoke English. Not one person. Not the manager, not the people shopping around (I called out), not the guy behind the cash register. No one.
I had to call on my Spanish skills from way back. I took Spanish in high school and college, but my conjugation skills had taken a hike a long time ago. I could do this thing, though. I was convinced. The cake was worth it. Hey, if the golf ball was on the right of the cake instead of the left, BIG DEAL! It was for a 4-year-old’s party!
Somehow, the cashier and I made it through my order. They got it down that I wanted a cake and it was for a birthday party. I told them about the golf-theme I wanted as best as I could. I patted myself on the back and set off to go about my day. I would return a few days later to pick the beautiful thing up. Yay for my Spanish skills!
Clangy-clangy-clangy, I left.
Two days later- clangy-clangy-clangy– I returned.
The lady recognized me, smiled and went to the back to retrieve my cake. I stood all proud of myself and my Spanish education as I waited.
She returned with the white cake box.
Opened the lid.
I peered inside.
It was a farmer on a tractor.
I ordered a cake with a farmer on a tractor. I don’t know how I managed to describe golf in Spanish as a guy taking care of his farm. Well, dingdang it all to heck. A farmer didn’t quite jive with my theme. Thankfully, though, there was a person working that day that did speak English. We got my cake all sorted out and they made me a new one. I felt bad for the farmer, but, well, it was a farmer.
You see, I’m just a mess waiting to happen. I mean, for one thing, I can’t hear. My hearing loss has gotten me in situations more times than I can count. I have talked about it here in the Break Room several times. There was the embarrassing incident when I tested a little girl for a speech-language delay in front of her mother. Also, during a conversation with a guy on a plane, I was impressed that he sold submarines. “Oh, you sell submarines? Wow!” (He corrected me. He sold supplements.) Just the other day, I thought my mom told me she was taking a beached whale vitamin. (Turned out it was B12). I have a whole slew of examples here.
So, a hearing loss ON TOP of not speaking the best Spanish probably didn’t help me much in that situation. Both came together again the other day. If you read this blog somewhat regularly, you may remember that I wrote about what I needed in a new neighbor. I was pleasantly surprised when my new neighbors (vecinas!) moved in and didn’t meet all of those requirements, yet I still like them a lot! Crazy how that worked out.
My new neighbors are multilingual. The daughters speak Spanish, German and are beginning to speak English. The father speaks Spanish and English. The mother, my new friend, speaks Spanish and is beginning to speak a little English. She is wanting to learn more English, while I am wanting to learn more Spanish. We talk when we see each other and we do a lot of texting. Texting is easier for me, of course, because I can see what she has written and can take my time to understand what it said. I am trying to get better at understanding spoken Spanish, but my face sometimes winces up and I begin to sweat profusely when it starts barreling out of people’s mouths too fast.
So, the other day, my neighbor asked me if I wanted to come over for breakfast. I thought that was very nice. I agreed, because I had wanted to be able to talk with her more in person, as well. One evening, we saw each other outside. She was outside con su perro (with her dog) and I was beginning to drive away. She asked me a question that included “esposo” (husband) and I thought she was saying that her husband would be at the breakfast. I was smiling and nodding my head and agreeing that that would be great.
I knocked on the door.
She answered and asked, “Donde esta tu esposo?”
She wanted to know where my husband was, as just the other day, I had apparently said that my husband would also be attending the breakfast. Ha! Or should I say, Ja! Jajajajaja!!! Oh, I got that so wrong. I felt bad. She had a place set out for him and everything. Her husband was there, too, as well as some family friends. It was the nicest experience and I loved the breakfast. I just feel bad for missing that one and not having my husband there. He would not have been able to make it anyway, as it was a Friday morning and the boy’s got ta work!
I’ve got to learn some Spanish.
I’m on a kick right now to learn mas y mas y mas. I brought this whole topic up on the Kelley’s Break Room Facebook page. If you want to chime in there, well, please do. I had a lot of fun reading the messages in Spanish and then trying to decipher them without cheating.
Have you had any experiences like this one where there was a total “lost in translation” moment? You know I want to hear about it! Actually, I’d like to just hear that you were here. It makes me do split leaps and stuff to hear from you. We do all of our chatting on Facebook, though. The spammers were taking over my life. I had to do something before they started appearing for holiday dinners.