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Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday The 13th!

Friday the 13th was the last day of my Spanish course. While I am not superstitious, the date was discussed in our conversation class. The amusing tidbit that I learned was that in Uruguay rather than Friday the 13th being quote unquote "un lucky!" it's Tuesday the 13th that is supposedly bad luck! I don't watch "horror films"but a famous horror film series, "Friday the 13th", featuring the psychotic mask wearing killer "Jason" changed it's posters to advertise here as the series, "Martes 13th" (Tuesday) and not "Viernes 13th" (friday). Some posters said, Viernes (Friday) but most people here know the film series as "Martes 13". The fear factor of the supposedly dangerous day would have been lost on the masses here had the title remained a Friday, so the day was changed to reflect the Uruguayan culture.

Another thing discussed in my conversation class Friday was not so much a superstition but rather the custom or habit of eating "Tortas Fritas" (similar to a deep fried tortilla) only when it rains! "Quiero comer una torta frita cuando está lloviendo." ("I want to eat a torta frita when it is raining"). That seems to be a common saying here in Uruguay. This lead to a discussion of verbs related to food usage. The useful verb "to take/to have" or tomar in Spanish is used (among other ways, such as to take a seat/tomar asiento), when you are going to take something to drink. It seems that you can take a drink in Spanish but it's not used as much with food. The exception is that you can take a meal like breakfast (desayuno) but not the food in general. Instead, you eat food, not take it ! Tomar is the verb you use when inviting someone out for a cup of coffee or a cocktail. "Querés tomar café conmigo?" Or, you can use the verb "beber"( to drink). El Desayuno is the noun meaning breakfast. Whatever time your first meal of the day is, that meal is considered your breakfast. Whether it's 3 o'clock in the morning or 3 o'clock in the afternoon, if it's your first meal, it's breakfast (El Desayuno). Desayuno is also the first person, present form of the verb Desayunar. So desayuno is both a noun and a conjugated verb form. "I eat breakfast at 8 o'clock in the morning!" That sentence in Spanish is, "Desayuno a las ocho por la mañana!" Or, you could say"Tomo (I take/have) el desayuno a las ocho por la mañana."

 Note; I'll probably get a lot of corrections on this subject of tomar and as always I'll welcome and learn from them. So feel free to comment!

My first word I ever learned here in Uruguay was "Tranquilo" meaning "calm or quiet" it can also be used to mean, "don't worry". My second word that I learned here was "temprano" or "early", when I kept arriving at a local restaurant too early to be served dinner. Well, the opposite of early (temprano) is late (tarde). Here in my Spanish conversation class with my professor Juan, I learned that a Uruguayo is never late (unless dead)! Instead a Uruguayo "arrives late"(llegar tarde). Always, use the word "llegar" and it's conjugations, in order to say you have arrived late, no, never say that you are late!

My last day in class passed by without too much fanfare. The other students were all taking a full 4 week's worth of instruction, so they would be back to school on Monday of the next week. One student, only in his second week of the school course was doing quite well. My three "some" years of living here in Uruguay gave me only a slight advantage with vocabulary and verb endings because of my self study. I am at a beginner's intermediate level. I was given a written evaluation of my progress at the end of my last day.
I will miss going into Montevideo each day (not necessarily the bus ride there). The neighborhood and the street where the school was on was quite treed and lovely. On my way to school each day, I loved taking photos of the many interesting monuments and street scenes happening around me in the capital city, MVD. I will try and put into practice the things I learned at La Herradura, the Spanish school.

While I only attended school for a week what the school helped me to do the most, was force me to speak Spanish for lengths at a time. While attending school there, I tried to string more words together than I had been doing in the past. Rather than grunt 1 or 2 words, I really tried to speak in whole sentences. I was able to follow the flow of a conversation much better since I was forced to listen to the whole week's course in Spanish. The price of the weeks' course meant that I could try the school out. If I had more resources (meaning money) I would definitely sign up for a fuller study in Spanish.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Better late than dead - wasn't aware of that usage. Thanks for the tip!