Monday, April 02, 2007

Adriana (Ken and Helen)

Our neighbors back home in Frederick, Maryland, Julio and Maria Euginia, are from Argentina. Julio’s son died last year and his widow, Adriana, lives in Palermo Hollywood here in Capital Federal. Maria has been encouraging us to visit with Adriana. However, Adriana does not speak English and our Castillano, well, you know . . .

Anyway, after some phone tag, we made plans to have lunch at her home on Saturday. Remember, this was a telephone conversation, so we were pretty happy that we got the day, time, and address correct. Helen was very nervous about going because she was certain that she would either clam up totally, or babble in incoherant spanish all day.

We had to take two busses to get there, which was a small victory. Arriving at Adriana’s, we were happy to be expected. We were greeted by Adriana and her daughter, Guadalupe, and Monica, her housekeeper. We spent the next four hours speaking nothing but Spanish. Lupe knows some English, but she is shy and uncertain and would not attempt to use it. We understood totally.
We sat and talked and shared photographs. It was funny to see pictures of our Maryland neighborhood and Washington DC while sitting in a living room in Buenos Aires. Monica made us a wonderful meal and we settled in at the table. For the most part, the conversation was smooth and easy. Adriana spoke slowly and, we are pretty sure, simplified her vocabulary. We know that our verb tenses were not always correct, and we sometimes had to look up a word or two on Helen’s pocket translator, but we were right there in the conversation the whole time. It was very generous of Adriana to be so welcoming and patient with us. At one point Helen even asked her if she understood what we were saying, and she very kindly assured us that she did.
She didn't spend the day correcting us, or speaking beyond our ability, she just very aptly crafted a day of conversation that made us feel really good and gave us a lot of practice.
Adriana is very pretty, interesting, and pleasant to be around. She showed us some photos of her wedding party from about 25 yrs ago. They had slowly roasted an entire cow over wood coals on an iron cross for the party. It was facinating. She was very young and just as cute as can be.
We had just a wonderful afternoon. What we thought would be an awkward day of language humiliation turned out to be a lovely day with lovely people.

1 comment:

Chas said...

It's rare that people have the patience to hold an extended conversation with someone who struggles with their language. You should hang out with Adriana more! Maybe she needs to experience the K-Dawgg's famous Hamburger Pizza.