Lesson #1: Stupidity isn’t as bad as I thought it would be
There is a beautiful level of idiocy you feel walking around a city, trying to exist without being fluent in the language. It’s like your adulthood is stripped away and you are a little kid. People give you that smile – “you’re so cute trying to talk like that.” It’s probably good for the psyche, but it does tend to slow things down.
Lesson #2: Be on your best behavior because you stand out
The city is not as diverse as I expected. There are actually very few people who look like non-Mexicans. We went to Mercado Medellin last month trying to buy stuff for the first time. We stumbled terribly with this guy who sold cheese. We finally got the cheese, but our spanish was really embarrassing. Yesterday we went back, 5 weeks after our initial visit. The guy was like: “¡welcome back! ¡buen año!” He clearly remembered us. Thankfully, we could navigate the transaction a bit better. This type of thing has happened several times to us. Everybody is so nice, but we also realize our mistakes will follow us.
Lesson #3: Travelers are really cool people
We’ve finished our 1st week of intensive language lessons. It’s our only social outlet. Besides each other – we’re getting a lot of time together 🙂 There are about 8 folks in the class, all with great stories. One person runs three businesses and travels around in support of them. Another travels all winter because his apartment in Michigan has no heat. Another is a singer, traveling the world on tour and writing for magazines. A few rat race drop outs like us, college students on break. Really fun, and school is great because we’re all learning the language by sharing and making friends.